Some surprises as second round of cuts made. PORT CHARLOTTE, FL – Thursday...
Rays Defeat Rangers in Game 2.
The Rays started out strong with a ground rule double by Corey Dickerson, then a single by Evan Longoria into left center got Dickerson home. 1-0 Rays in the first. It was a quick 1-2-3 2nd for Odorizzi. Luke Malie hit his first career home run on a 1-1 pitch in the 2nd making the score 2-0 Rays. Odorizzi got himself into a pickle in the 3rd; men on the corners and no outs, but managed to get the next 3 batters out and not damage the Rays 2-0 lead.
In the 4th the Rangers bats stopped being silent when Rougned Odor knocked a single home run to left. 2-1 Rays. In the 6th, Jonathan Lucroy slapped a ball to hard right and got a double and Beltre tried to make it form 1st home. Mikie Mahtook through a bullet the Tim Beckham and Beckham got the ball home. The call on the field was that Adrian Beltre was safe but Kevin Cash decided and to challenge. Cash was right to do so because the call was overturned; inning over, lead preserved. 2-1 Rays.
Bottom of the 6th Longoria hit his 28th home run of the season! Rays lead extended to 3-1! That home run and a single from Duffy signals the exit of the Rangers starter AJ Griffin. Xavier Cedeno replaces Odorizzi in the 7th. Cedeno got the Rays out of the 7th unscaithed. Beckham lead off the 7th with a triple to right center and Souza Jr. knocks a blooper to right and got Beckham home! Rays extend their lead on the Rangers 4-1. Brad MIller continues to impress and smacks a double to deep right that clears the loaded bases. Rays lead 7-1! The 8th is another strong inning for the Rays. Beckham got his 2nd triple of the game, tieing the club record. Souza Jr once again gets Beckham home and extends the lead on the Rangers a bit more to 8-1.
Eddie Romero got the first 2 batter in the 9th out, but then Kevin Jepsen entered in relief. With 2 outs Nomar Mazara hit a home run to right center cutting the Rays lead slightly to 8-2. Andrus was next up and hit a slow roller back to the mound. Jepsen got it to Miller on first and that was game. Rays win 8-2.
My main takeaway from this game is that pitching seems to be getting better. Odorizzi had a great game with only one earned run in 6 innings. The bullpen came in in the 7th and maybe stumbled a little, but still managed to hold the lead and win. It may be too late to salvage this season, but it’s looking like the Rays are working to build a good foundation for 2017.