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Rays 6, Tigers 2: Rays Hustled Harder

Brandon Lowe and Randy Arozarena combined for 7 hits and 5 RBI to start road trip with a victory

Tampa Bay Rays v Detroit Tigers Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays have won back-to-back games for the first time since the All-Star break with a 6-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Yandy Diaz came into the game with the third best OBP (.411) when leading off an inning with a .411 OBP and Tigers starter Drew Hutchison came in with 13.5% BB% over the past two weeks. With that in mind, a Diaz leadoff walk was not a surprising start to the game. The Rays were unable to capitalize on the early baserunner as Hutchison would retired the next three Rays in order to get out of the inning clean.

Randy Arozarena got the first of his four hits with a leadoff single in the second inning. David Peralta followed and hit into a double play on a great play made by first baseman Harold Castro to field the ball and start the 3-6-3 double play. Jose Siri followed with a double that likely could have scored a run had the bases not been empty

Rays starter Jeffrey Springs had never faced the Tigers prior to tonight’s game. In the first two innings, he looked like he could be the Tiger King with two 1-2-3 innings. It helps when you are supported by great defense including an amazing play made by Taylor Walls in the bottom of the second ranging into left field to make an amazing catch.

If anyone questions how Brandon Lowe’s back feels they should have their answer after this game. In the top of the third inning Lowe followed a Diaz walk with a two-run home run ( 99.2 EV, 29 deg, 373 ft) off a Hutchison changeup to give the Rays a 2-0 lead. Lowe came into the game slugging .200 on changeups from right-handed pitchers this season but found a way to get this one over the wall.

Back-to-back fielding errors by Yandy Diaz in the bottom of the third inning allowed the Tigers to get back into the game for a moment. Daz Cameron hit a leadoff single and then Castro and Victor Reyes both reached base safely on the Diaz errors to load the bases. Riley Greene put Detroit on the board with a sacrifice fly and then Javier Baez hit a RBI-single to tie the game 2-2. Thankfully for the Rays the damage was limited to the two runs.

With two outs in the top of the fourth inning the Rays offense kept fighting. Christian Bethancourt hit a single to left and then Diaz reached safely on a fielding error from Baez. That brought Lowe back to the plate and he delivered with a RBI-single scoring Bethancourt. Add a wild pitch from Hutchison and Diaz scored to extend the Rays lead to 4-2. The game felt like it was the Rays to win but still plenty of game remained.

Jeffrey Springs was impressive in his start for the Rays tonight. It was his first start without allowing an earned run since June 12. He finished with 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K and 0 HR on 85 pitches. His fastball and changeup were working well for him and combined to help him get four of his six strikeouts from missed swings.

4 of 6 strikeouts on swinging strikes.

Lowe hit the home run but Randy Arozarena also came through in a big way for the Rays.

Alex Lange replaced Hutchison in the seventh inning and started off strong by striking out Lowe. Things started to go downhill from there with back-to-back walks to Isaac Paredes and Ji-Man Choi. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. An Arozarena line drive scored Paredes to extend the Rays lead to 5-2.

Arozarena was not finished as he added his fourth hit in the ninth inning with a RBI-double to score Choi and give us our final score of 6-2.

Yes, this is a team that the Rays are supposed to beat and a series they should win. However, given the injuries this team is persevering through and the second-half struggles thus far, these are the moments that have to be seized for the chance to secure a postseason berth.

Tomorrow the Rays look to keep the winning streak going as Corey Kluber takes the mound against the Tigers with first pitch at 7:10pm.