Rays Ride 7-Run Inning To Victory Over Angels

Rays hang ten runs on Los Angeles’ best starting pitcher

The Tampa Bay Rays scored in just about every way a team can score on Tuesday night.  They scored by way of the home run, a triple, doubles, singles, a walk, and a hit batsman.  The Rays defeated the Los Angeles Angels soundly on Tuesday night in a 10-6 victory led by a seven run fourth inning.

Tampa Bay got the scoring started in the second.  Jake Bauers did not wait around, and took the first pitch he saw all night deep to right field to give the Rays their first run of the game.

Kevin Kiermaier kept things going in the third with a triple to knock in Mallex Smith and put the Rays ahead 2-0.  Just two batters later, Daniel Robertson brought Kiermaier home with a grounder to short to pad the lead to 3-0.  This was no small feat against starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who came into Tuesday night’s game as the Angels’ best pitcher.  He’s the Angels’ leader in ERA, FIP, and strikeouts while being second on the team in WHIP.  The 27 year-old lefty has really come into his own in 2018, and he’s a big part of the reason the Angels remain above the .500 mark.

Of course, the biggest reason the Angels are any good is All-Universe center fielder Mike Trout.  Trout demonstrated his tremendous value on Tuesday night in the fourth inning, doubling to lead off the inning and scoring on a heads-up baserunning play.  Albert Pujols hit a sharp bouncing ball toward third base that Matt Duffy couldn’t handle.  When Trout sall the ball carom into left field, he was off to the races, thinking home plate the whole way.  The throw from Mallex Smith wasn’t particularly close, and the five tool Angel scored to narrow the gap to 3-1.

In the fourth, the Rays broke it open in a big way, hanging seven runs on Skaggs in the frame.  Carlos Gomez singled with one out, and came around to score on a Michael Perez double.  From there, the rout was on, as the Rays paraded around the basepaths much in the style of the Gas House Gorillas when they played against Bugs Bunny.  All ten of the runs the Rays had scored by the end of the fourth were charged to Skaggs, and all ten were scored as earned runs.  It was a complete victory for the Rays’ lineup.

Much to their credit, the Angels didn’t just pack it in down nine runs.  Los Angeles was able to narrow the gap a bit in the fifth and sixth innings to get the score to 10-5, Kole Calhoun proved especially tenacious, hitting a two-run homer in the fifth and singling home another run in the sixth to narrow the Rays’ lead.

Mike Trout then emerged again, this time to do things to a baseball that most people wouldn’t wish on their worst enemies.  He hit a home run that bounced off the C-Ring Catwalk at Tropicana Field, a mammoth blast that narrowed the score to 10-6 and sent Ryan Yarbrough to the showers.  The crowd reaction, despite it happening to the home team, can be best described as awe.

“It’s a big number you try to set,” said Trout after the game. “[Y]ou try to reach over 30 at the beginning of the season. For me, I can’t tell you I am going to hit 30. I just try to barrel up and if it goes out it goes out. You know me, if I try to hit a homer I am going to get out. I just prepare myself to get a pitch to hit.”

Stanek sharp in opener role

Tuesday’s trade of Chris Archer, combined with last week’s Nathan Eovaldi deal, solidified the opener concept as something that is definitely going to last the entire season in St. Petersburg.  In fact, until Blake Snell comes off the disabled list, the Tampa Bay Rays are without a true starting pitcher.

Such a zero-man rotation puts a lot of pressure on the openers to keep the game scoreless for the inning or two that they handle.  Ryne Stanek did exactly that on Tuesday night, getting through the first inning scoreless after a leadoff single to Kole Calhoun.  In his inning of work, Stanek was able to strike out Mike Trout looking, one of the rarer feats in all of baseball.

Ryan Yarbrough, however, had a night where he earned the statistical win, but did not put his best performance out there to do so.  Yarbrough pitched five innings, surrendering all six Los Angeles runs on the night, including Trout’s unreal blast.  Yarbrough gave way to Diego Castillo, who got through the seventh without further damage.  The ball then went to Jose Alvarado in the eighth.  Sergio Romo took the ninth, and the Rays held on for their victory.

What’s next for the Rays

The series against the Angels continues on Wednesday evening at 7:10.  The Rays will waste no time getting Tyler Glasnow acquainted with life in a Rays uniform.  The newly acquired 6’8” fireballer will get the start on Wednesday night, though it may be closer to an “opener” situation as his innings will be a question.  It will also likely be the first Rays fans see of Tommy Pham, who made it to Tropicana Field on Tuesday night to catch the end of the game in the dugout with his new teammates.

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Tim Williams has been covering sports since his days as a student at Northeastern University covering events such as the Beanpot. In the thirteen years since, he has covered college hockey, the NFL, Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour, and the National Hockey League. A native of the Tampa Bay area, Tim has returned home after living much of his life in the northeast, including sixteen years in the Boston area. These days the Managing Editor of Sports Talk Florida can be found on Florida's golf courses when he's not working.