ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Cooper Criswell earned his first big league win, Yandy Díaz homered and drove in two runs, and the major league-best Tampa Bay Rays beat the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers 9-3 on Friday night.
It was the first meeting between the teams since the Dodgers beat Tampa Bay in six games in the 2020 World Series.
Criswell (1-1) replaced opener Jalen Beeks with two outs in the second and allowed one run, four hits and three walks in four innings. The 26-year-old right-hander worked out of jams in all three of his full innings, inducing two double plays.
“It feels good,” Criswell said. “Credit to teammates. All around good game for us.”
In all, eight Rays pitchers gave up nine hits and six walks and limited Los Angeles to 3-for-14 hitting with runners in scoring position.
“They did a nice job … They needed to,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “They kept putting guys on base. It felt like when we needed a big pitch made, it seemed to happen for us pretty frequently.”
Díaz, who had been out the lineup for a couple days tending to a family matter, gave the Rays a 6-2 lead on 100.1 mph solo homer in the fourth inning off Noah Syndergaard (1-4). He had a 109.8 mph double leading off the first.
“He always has a good at-bat,” Cash said. “It’s always a productive at-bat. He has a knack for hitting the ball hard.”
Díaz is hitting .333 with 12 homers, 29 RBIs, 37 runs scored and .435 on-base percentage.
Syndergaard gave up six runs and eight hits in six innings.
“There’s not a lot of positive emotion right now when I think about pitching in particular,” Syndergaard said. “Just hard going out there with the weapons you used to have kind of being taken away from you. Just continue to work in between starts to snap out of this.”
Jose Siri added a two-run homer in the eighth for the Rays (38-15), who lead the majors with 99 home runs. Tampa Bay is 25-5 at home.
Dodgers slugger Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 15 games after going 2 for 4 with a walk. He is hitting .433 (26 for 60) over the stretch. He was struck out by Jason Adam to end the eighth with two on and Los Angeles down 7-3.
The Rays went up 5-2 in the third when Taylor Walls singled with two outs, stole second and third on consecutive pitches, and scored on Christian Bethancourt’s single.
Tampa Bay stole four bases, one day after getting seven in a 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles’ J.D. Martinez picked up his 16th RBI over his last 13 games, and ran his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the third inning.
Chris Taylor, who pinch-hit for the Dodgers in the sixth, made a leaping catch into the left field wall to take a likely extra-base hit away from Luke Raley in the bottom of the inning. He also made a nice running catch on pinch-hitter Harold Ramírez to start an inning-ending double play in the seventh, and hit an RBI double in the eighth.
Retired reliever Jake McGee spiked a ceremonial first pitch about halfway to the plate. He appeared in a Tampa Bay-record 297 games from 2010-15.
Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (6-4) and Tampa Bay RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-0) are Saturday’s starters. Kershaw beat Glasnow twice in the 2020 World Series. Glasnow (strained left oblique) is making his season debut.