The Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday (May 17) avoided being swept for the second time this season when they crushed the Minnesota Twins 11-3 behind an all-out team effort which produced a season high 19 hits along with rock-solid pitching.
James Loney led the hit attack going 4-for-5 along with three RBIs as well six players added two hits apiece (Kevin Kiermaier, Logan Forsythe, Evan Longoria, David DeJesus, Nick Franklin, in his first game off the DL and Bobby Wilson) in the Rays largest outburst of the 2015 campaign. Longoria also added three RBIs on the day to tie Logan Forsythe for the team lead with 17.
Despite getting off to somewhat of a rocky start, Rays starter Chris Archer worked six strong innings after giving up a run in the bottom of the first to earn his first win since April 26. Archer’s line for the day was one-run on four hits, with a walk and four strikeouts.
Archer had been given little run support (1.63 runs per start) from his teammates in his previous eight starts, despite picking up three wins.
“It felt good to see,” Archer said. I’m glad our bats got hot, but whether it’s 10-0 or 0-0, I’m trying to get every single hitter out with every pitch.” The win also moved Archer to 4-0 in his career against the Twins.
Jake McGee made his season debut following off-season elbow surgery and a stint on the disabled list working a 1-2-3 seventh that included two strikeouts in which he threw 14 pitches (nine for strikes), reaching 97 mph several times.
“It was great to have him back healthy,” Evan Longoria said of Archer’s return. “He threw the ball really well. He looked like we’re used to seeing.”
Xavier Cedeno and Ernesto Frieri followed McGee respectively pitching the eighth and ninth innings. Cedeno added a strikeout, in his 1-2-3 inning while Frieri was touched up for two runs on two hits though he struck out two with one walk.
Also making his season debut was infielder Nick Franklin, who had been on the disabled list since March with an oblique strain. Franklin started at second base, going 2-for-3 on the day.
Franklin, a switch-hitter will serve as backup to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and at second for Logan Forsythe and as well giving manager Kevin Cash another left-handed bat off the bench.
Following the game, the Rays flew into Atlanta where they’ll have Monday off before beginning a two-game set against the Braves on Tuesday (May 19) night.
Kevin Cash decided to shuffle the rotation for the Ray’s series in Atlanta announcing that Erasmo Ramirez will start Tuesday night in place of Nathan Karns and Jake Odorizzi will get the nod Wednesday.
Karns would have originally started on Tuesday is fine and is now on track to start Saturday (May 23) against the Oakland A’s at home. “It worked out, especially well given his workload, the pitch count from 60 to 115. We try to factor in getting some extended rest for all of our starters, and it worked out especially well given his workload,” Cash said.
After the Braves series, the Rays return to Tropicana Field for a seven-game homestand where they’ll open up a four-game set against the Oakland A’s beginning on Thursday (May 21-24) and conclude with a three-game set against the Seattle Mariners (May25-27) before heading back on the road to close out the month against the Baltimore Orioles.