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Rays 11, Angels 1: Bethancourt joins the Stable

What’s more impressive: Bethancourt’s night at the plate or on the mound?

Los Angeles Angels v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Winning on Monday night moved the Rays into sole position of the first wild card spot in the American League, which would give them home-field advantage in a best of three series against whoever finishes in the second wild card spot.

Corey Kluber got the start for the Rays, with José Suarez going for the Angels. Kluber’s ERA sat at 4.33 coming into Tuesday, which would be the highest for a full season of work in his career, but his best ability this year has been his availability, throwing 122.2 innings and staying off the injured list.

Shohei Ohtani returned to the Angels’ lineup for game two of this series. He entered Tuesday’s game with a 141 wRC+ and 27 home runs, while also throwing 121 innings with a 2.83 ERA on the mound. Luckily, Ohtani isn’t in line to start until this weekend in Toronto.

The Angels are also dealing with some off-the-field noise as the team announced in a statement on Tuesday afternoon their intentions to “evaluate strategic alternatives including a possible sale of the team.”

The Rays broke through in the third inning on a Manuel Margot RBI-single. Jose Siri doubled to lead off the frame, and moved on to third when Yandy Díaz flew out to right field. Margot then singled home Siri to make it 1-0 Rays.

Kluber, now working with the lead, got through the fourth inning on just six pitches, keeping his pitch count low enough to go deeper into the game.

Mike Trout, who was recently activated from the injured list, was the first Angels hitter to get to Kluber, blasting a hanging breaking ball into the C-ring out in left field. The home run travelled 429 feet, and was Trout’s 1,500th career hit.

Isaac Paredes got the run right back for the Rays in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer of his own. Paredes’ last home run came on July 26th, with the one before that way back on July 2nd. He now has 15 on the season.

Corey Kluber ended up working six innings, five hits, and just the one run on the Trout home run. His ERA is now down 4.20.

It appeared the Rays were going to have to squeeze out another close win when Suarez was lifted for journeyman Jesse Chavez in the bottom of the sixth, but an implosion from the Angels bullpen allowed for two different position players to end the game on the mound.

Christian Bethancourt homered off of Chavez to make it 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh.

A six-run seventh inning meant Kevin Cash felt comfortable enough to give the ball to newly-activated reliever JT Chargois. Chargois retired the three batters he faced in order, striking out Jo Adell to end the inning.

Taylor Walls singled in the seventh to add two runs, making it 7-1.

Christian Bethancourt came up again to drive in two more on a single to bring it to 9-1 (he would later go on to pitch the ninth inning).

Manuel Margot’s RBI-double made it 10-1, and he would be brought home by an Arozarena double for the Rays 11th and final run of the game.

Bethancourt made his case to join the Stable, with his fastball sitting 93-94 mph, and topping out at 95. 11 runs scored on Tuesday marked the first time since July 11th that the Rays scored in double digits. They have a chance to clinch a series victory on Wednesday with Shane McClanahan on the mound.