Jake Odorizzi provides his best outing of 2017.
On Tuesday, the Rays moved up another game in the Wild Card race thanks to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Although just two games behind the Twins (and Angels) for the second WC birth, three teams remain ahead of them for the important spot.
Entering tonight’s game, the only starts this year that didn’t end with Odorizzi allowing a home run were those that were cut short due to injury. His 28 HR-allowed are tops on the team and that includes lost time due to two DL-stints.
With just one win under his belt, dating back to July 17, Jake Odorizzi entered tonight’s game win-less, with a 4.71 career-ERA against Minnesota.
“As long as we win, we’re not losing ground. That’s all that matters,” Odorizzi said when asked about the log-jam in the standings.
He did everything he could on his end.
The battle against the age-less Bartolo Colon started off as quite the pitchers duel. Odorizzi faced the minimum 12 batters and was perfect through four innings. His opponent, Colon held the Rays scoreless through four while allowing a leadoff single to Kevin Kiermaier and an infield single to Wilson Ramos.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 6, 2017
Odorizzi lost the perfect game in the fifth by walking Eddie Rosario. The no-hitter, however, remained intact. A double play eventually got the Rays out of any trouble – Odorizzi having still faced the minimum 15 batters.
It got even better.
Clinging to a one-run lead thanks to a solo home run by Lucas Duda in the fourth inning, Odorizzi started the sixth inning by striking out Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar. Jason Castro and Robbie Grossman would follow suit, allowing Odorizzi to strike out the side.
Earlier in the game Mauer and Odorizzi battled to the tune of a nine-pitch at-bat before ultimately, the Rays starter got the better of him.
This time, Mauer got his revenge.
“Just wasn’t meant to be,” Odorizzi said of the hard ground ball that hit the second base bag just before Adeiny Hechavarria had a chance to field it. “We had a guy there, hit a base. Just wasn’t in the cards.”
Odorizzi would collect one more strikeout before departing after 6.2 innings of one-hit ball.
Duda added another RBI in the sixth before Alex Colome entered in the ninth. While he surrendered two hits, one of which a solo home run to Grossman, Colome secured his MLB-best 42nd save.
Good news surrounding Chris Archer. After leaving Saturday’s game with right-forearm tightness, team doctor Koco Eaton examined the right-hander on Monday afternoon and found no structural damage. He played catch this afternoon and will seek further examination upon throwing today. He will not make his next start against Boston. Austin Pruitt, who replaced him on Saturday, will make the start on Friday.
Blake Snell (3-6; 4.02) looks for the sweep, and his fourth win of the season on Wednesday. A win tomorrow would set up a very interesting situation this weekend against the Yankees. It’s possible that come Sunday, the Rays have as many wins as their rivals from New York.