Rays 6, Tigers 2: the rays jostled harder

The Tampa Bay Rays won back-to-back games for the first time since the All-Star break with a 6-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Yandy Diaz entered the game with the third-best OBP (.411) starting an inning with an OBP of .411 and Tigers starter Drew Hutchison entered with 13.5% BB% over the past two weeks. With that in mind, an early walk from Diaz wasn’t a surprising start to the game. The Rays were unable to capitalize on the first base runner as Hutchison would retire the next three Rays in order to come out of the inning clean.

Randy Arozarena got the first of his four hits with a first single in the second inning. David Peralta called and hit in a double play on an excellent play made by first baseman Harold Castro to field the ball and start the 3-6-3 double play. Jose Siri followed with a brace that probably could have scored a point if the goals hadn’t been empty

Rays starter Jeffrey Springs had never faced the Tigers before tonight’s game. In the first two innings, he looked like he could be the Tiger King with two 1-2-3 innings. It helps when you’re backed by great defense, including an incredible play by Taylor Walls down the second going into left field to make an incredible catch.

If anyone is wondering how Brandon Lowe’s back feels, they should have their answer after this game. In the top of the third inning, Lowe followed a walk from Diaz with a two-run homer (99.2 EV, 29 degrees, 373 feet) on a Hutchison substitution to give the Rays a 2-0 lead. Lowe came into the game hitting .200 on right-handed pitching switches this season, but found a way to get this one over the wall.

Back-to-back field errors by Yandy Diaz late in the third inning kept the Tigers back in the game for a while. Daz Cameron hit an opening single, then Castro and Victor Reyes both reached base safely on Diaz’s errors to load the bases. Riley Greene put Detroit on the board with a sacrifice fly, then Javier Baez hit an RBI single to tie the game 2-2. Luckily for the Rays, the damage was limited in both sets.

With two outs in the top of the fourth inning, the Rays offense kept fighting. Christian Bethancourt hit a left single, then Diaz reached in safely on a field error by Baez. That brought Lowe back to the plate and he delivered with an RBI single scoring Bethancourt. Add a wild pitch from Hutchison and Diaz scored to extend the Rays’ lead to 4-2. The game felt like it was up to the Rays to win, but there was still plenty of play left.

Jeffrey Springs was impressive when he left for the Rays tonight. It was his first start without an earned run since June 12. He finished with 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K and 0 HR over 85 lengths. His fastball and changeover worked well for him and combined to help him get four of his six strikeouts on missed swings.

4 of 6 strikeouts on swing strikes.

Lowe hit the home run but Randy Arozarena also came out on top for the Rays.

Alex Lange replaced Hutchison in the seventh inning and started strong as he retired Lowe. Things started to go downhill from there with back-to-back walks to Isaac Paredes and Ji-Man Choi. Both runners advanced on a crazy throw. A line drive Arozarena tagged Paredes to extend the Rays’ lead to 5-2.

Arozarena wasn’t finished as he added his fourth hit in the ninth inning with an RBI double to score Choi and give us our final score of 6-2.

Yes, this is a team the Rays are supposed to beat and a series they should win. However, given the injuries this team is persevering with and the struggles of the second half so far, these are the moments that need to be seized for any chance of securing a playoff spot.

Tomorrow, the Rays look to continue the winning streak as Corey Kluber takes the mound against the Tigers with the first pitch at 7:10 p.m.

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