The Rays returned home Friday night to face the White Sox (7-12) after going 3-3 on their first road trip of the year. The first place Rays returned home not only with the first blemishes on their record, but also down a starter as Jeffrey Springs is now out for the year.
As a result, the Rays planned to stretch out Calvin Faucher to four innings as he would make his first start since his junior college days.
Following a scoreless first inning from Faucher, the Rays jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in thanks to a two-run double off the bat of Josh Lowe and a two-run blast from Harold Ramirez. The homer marked the 20th consecutive game in which a Rays player has hit a homerun, ring the record to start a season.
If you've got 20 seconds, here's our record-tying 20 homers from our first 20 games pic.twitter.com/8hylwopbG5— Tampa Bay Devil Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 21, 2023
The attempt to stretch out Faucher did not go as planned as he only lasted two innings and surrendered five hits and three runs, cutting the Rays lead to just one run.
Jalen Beeks would take over in the third inning and also surrender three runs in just two thirds of an inning. He tied a Rays record in the process as his five walks earned him access to an exclusive Rays club:
5 walks for Beeks ties #Rays record for an inning, done previously by the eclectic group of Colin Poche (2019), Casey Fossum (2006), Dewon Brazelton (2005, twice), Rick White (1998)— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 21, 2023
The final two walks of the night for Beeks came with the bases loaded, forcing in the tying and go-ahead runs. With the Rays trailing 5-4, Cooper Criswell would take over and throw a wild pitch allowing the third run of the inning to score. After three innings, the Sox had a 6-4 lead.
To put the third inning into perspective:
- 3 runs scored
- 0 hits allowed
- 0 errors
In the fourth inning Eloy Jimenez launched a solo blast to extend the lead to 7-4. But, in the bottom half the Rays would answer with a run to cut the deficit to two runs. Yandy Diaz singled to right, scoring Harold Ramirez.
Both pitching staffs seemed to settle in following the fourth inning. Cleavinger, Poche, and Kelly combined to throw 3.2 scoreless innings, giving the Rays and Brandon Lowe a chance to earn their 17th win of the season.
It would take until the bottom of the ninth inning, but they would do just that. Trailing 7-5, Bethancourt started the inning with a solo blast that just cleared the fence in right field. The homer cut the Rays deficit to just a run with three outs to work with.
goes solo— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) April 22, 2023
After some debate from the umpires, Bethancourt's solo HR brings the Rays within 1!!!@RaysBaseball | #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/4ZIE4UbCsp
Yandy Diaz quickly followed with an opposite field single, setting the table for Brandon Lowe.
Brandon Lowe stepped to the plate and worked a full count before crushing a hanging slider to deep right field to give the Rays an 8-7 win! The blast was his sixth of the year and the first walk-off homer of his career. In the lat 12 games, he is rocking a 1.238 OPS.
EVERYONE SAY THANK YOU BRANDON pic.twitter.com/hbVkrGfK6N— Tampa Bay Devil Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 22, 2023
With their third straight win, the Rays have officially embarked on another winning streak and have a stellar 17-3 record, good for the best in the league.