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Rays 6, A’s 1: Dominant win starts the series off right

Rays pitching tossed seven (!) 1-2-3 innings while the offense recorded 11 hits, starting the series off on the right note.

Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Rays are in Oakland to begin a three-game series in Silicon Valley. Drew Rasmussen gets the start against A’s righty Daulton Jefferies.

Yandy Diaz led this game off and started it the same way he did the 2019 AL Wild Card game, with a leadoff home run. This solo shot went into the left field seats, and it gave the Rays an early 1-0 lead.

Yandy’s solo shot was the only hit in the inning for the offense, so the inning turned over to the bottom-half, and Ras only needed 11 pitches to set the A’s down 1-2-3.

Manny Margot hit a two-out single in the top of the second, but was stranded at first to end the inning. In the bottom of the second, Oakland managed to tie this game after a two-out walk by Seth Brown, a stolen base, and an RBI single by Chad Pinder. Elvis Andrus flew out to end the inning, keeping this game tied.

This game wasn’t tied for long, however, as Yandy Diaz hit a one-out single in the top of the third and Wander Franco scored him with a single up the middle. Christian Pache misplayed the ball and it rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Wander to make it to third. Wander scored on an Arozarena single, making it 3-1 Rays. Harold Ramirez and Kevin Kiermaier both got out to end the inning.

Rasmussen worked another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third, including a strikeout of Sheldon Neuse.

In the fourth, the Rays added a few more. Manny Margot hit a leadoff double and was brought home after Mike Zunino hit a line drive to left. Zunino moved up to second on the throw home, and he scored two at-bats later when Wander Franco singled to make it 5-1.

Rasmussen pitched yet another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, striking out Sean Murphy in the process.

The Rays added on once again in the sixth inning, this time after Harold Ramirez hit a one-out single and Manny Ramirez scored him with a double. With a 6-1 lead, Rasmussen had plenty of run support in his favor. That lead allowed him to work a stress-free fifth inning, once again setting the A’s down 1-2-3. Jefferies was replaced in the sixth by Domingo Acevedo.

Rasmussen’s day was done after five fantastic innings of work. He threw 83 pitches and allowed one run on one hit, striking out three and walking one. Jason Adam relieved him and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, extending his streak out hitless outings.

The offense was quiet in the sixth and seventh innings. Phoenix Sanders took the mound in the seventh and was very close to having a 1-2-3 inning, but allowed an infield single on a borderline call at first. That allowed him to strike out the next three hitters and move this game onto the eighth. Sam Moll took the mound for Oakland to replace Acevedo, and set the Rays down in order.

Ryan Thompson was brought in, relieving Sanders and keeping the foot on the gas for dominant outings, as he also set down the Oakland hitters 1-2-3. Former friend Adam Kolarek was brought in by Oakland in the ninth, and he set down Rays hitters, making way for Andrew Kittredge to close this one out.

Kitt got a popup for the first out, and struck Sheldon Neuse out, swinging and missing on a slider for the second out. Kittredge struck out Jed Lowrie on three pitches to end this one and secure the win.

The Rays opened the series and the road trip exactly how they wanted to, and it was done by excellent performances from everyone. Tomorrow’s game is an opportunity to take the series against the A’s, with a Rays starter to be determined (Ryan Yarbrough is likely to pitch a bulk of the innings, but if he starts or throws behind an opener is to be seen) facing off against Paul Blackburn, with first pitch scheduled for 9:40 pm.