The Tampa Bay Rays welcomed the Dodgers to Tropicana Field Friday night for a three game set. The matchup marked the first time the two teams had played each other since the memorable 2020 World Series. Fast forward three seasons and the Rays and Dodgers both sit atop their respective divisions and look poised to yet again make deep postseason runs.
The story yet again for the Rays was the offense which got started early and didn't let up until after the fourth inning having built a 6-2 lead. Cooper Criswell bounced back with a strong outing after a rough outing against the Blue Jays, and the Rays pen held their own.
Jalen Beeks opened for Criswell and went 1.2 innings, surrendering a first inning run and three hits overall. Criswell followed, making his fourth appearance of the year. The righty tossed four innings of one run baseball, maintaining the Rays lead prior to exiting in the sixth. He struck out four, walked three, and allowed hits.
Diekman, Kelly, Poche, Fauche, and Adam followed in that order. They all there less than an inning but combined to throw 2.1 innings and allow just one run. The group struck out three.
At the plate, the Rays got going early facing a 1-0 deficit in their first at bat. In the first, Brandon Lowe tied the game with a ground out, driving home Yandy Diaz. Then, Josh Lowe singled home Wander Franco to give the Rays a 2-1 lead.
Today's 1st inning runs are brought to you by Lowe & Lowe Bat Co. pic.twitter.com/loWjBZCfI3— Tampa Bay Devil Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 26, 2023
In the second, Yandy got Christian Bethancourt home on a ground out to give the Rays a 3-1 lead. Then, Franco drove in Luke Raley on a sacrifice fly.
In the top of the third, the Dodgers got a run back to cut the Rays lead to just 4-2. But, the Rays had an answer in the bottom half. With two outs, Walls singled and then stole second and third base. Soon after, Bethancourt roped an RBI single to left to make the lead 5-2.
In the fourth inning, Yandy hit his 12th bomb of the year and gave the Rays a 6-2 lead. The Rays placed constant pressure on Dodgers starter Noah Syndergaard all night and after six innings, his night was over having surrendered six runs on eight hits.
The Yandy man strikes again pic.twitter.com/2xLpfcaX93— Tampa Bay Devil Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 26, 2023
The Rays took a break from scoring, but got back to their regularly scheduled programming in the seventh inning sowing another run on a Brandon Lowe RBI single.
The Dodgers scratched a run across in the 8th, but Jose Siri answered this time with a two run bomb, stretching the Rays lead to 9-3. The blast was his 9th of the year.
With the middle of the order due and not many options left in the pen, Kevin Cash went to Fairbanks to shut it down in the 9th. He did just that on eight pitches. The win moved the Rays record to 38-15 and a season high 23 games over .500.