The Tampa Bay Rays returned to Petco Park for the first time since clinching the American League pennant in 2020. However, this time they would face off against the star-laden, but struggling San Diego Padres, not the Houston Astros.
The Padres, who boast a lineup featuring Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts entered Friday night with a 33-35 record, and in fourth place in the NL West. The Rays, in stark contrast, opened in first place in the AL East, featuring the best record in baseball.
In what should have been marque pitching matchup between Shane McClanahan and You Darvish, turned out to be more of a one sided affair. McClanahan tossed 6.2 innings of scoreless baseball prior to allowing a solo shot to Nelson Cruz which ended his night just short of 100 pitches.
McClanahan would take the win moving his record to 11-1 while Darvish took the loss and ended the night with a 5-5 record.
Now, for the action:
In the top of the second inning, Isaac Paredes blasted his 12th homer of the year to left field to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
Then, in the top of the fourth, Randy singled home Luke Raley to give the Rays a 2-0 lead. In the top of the fifth Jose Siri singled home Taylor Walls. Later in the inning, Randy made himself right at home just as he did in the 2020 playoffs and hit a no-doubt, three run shot to left to extend the Rays lead to 6-0.
Nelson Cruz hit a seventh inning homer to cut the Rays lead to 6-1 and in the eighth inning, Xander Bogaerts doubled home Tatis Jr to make it a 6-2 game. And, despite a rocky 9th inning that began with Shawn Armstrong on the mound and ended with Pete Fairbanks escaping a bases loaded, one out jam, the Rays won their third straight game.
McClanahan’s line (11-1, 2.12 ERA): 6.2 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 5 K
The Rays will face off against former Cy Young winner and Tampa Bay Rays ace, Blake Snell as they send Zach Eflin to the mound in search of a bounce back performance after his last start in Oakland.