Rays Drop Three of Four To Revamped Oakland A’sFollow @Steve_Kinsella1
Tampa, FL – A defensive miscue was costly as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 to take three out of four games at Tropicana Field. Cole Irvin (1-0. 5.40 ERA) picks up the win for Oakland who improve to 4-3 on the year. Dany Jimenez worked the ninth to pick up his first big league save. Josh Fleming (1-1, 4.05 ERA) takes the loss for the Rays who see their record drop to 4-3.
Crazy Play Plates Three:
Oakland opened the scoring in the top the second scoring three times. With two-on and two-out, Christian Pache’s lined a sharp single to left center. Randy Arozarena had the ball ricochet off him and past centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier. The ball ricocheted past centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier who tracked the ball down near the warning track but was unable to handle it cleanly allowing the speedy Pache to round the bases and giving Oakland the 3-0 lead.
Rays Cut Lead:
Tampa Bay immediately cut into the lead with a leadoff double by Randy Arozarena who moved to third on Brandon Lowe‘s single and came in to score on a RBI single by Manuel Margot. The inning’s momentum was short circuited as Mike Zunino‘s deep fly to right allowed Brandon Lowe to tag to third but Margot was thrown out trying to advance to second.
Athletics Tack On:
Oakland extended their lead in the third inning. Chad Pinder led off and delivered an infield single to Wander Franco who did a Derek Jeter-esque jump throw to Yandy Diaz who was unable to secure the throw. Sean Murphy drove Pinder home with a double for Oakland’s fourth run.
Jeffrey Springs entered the game in relief of Josh Fleming with two men on and 1-out in the top of the fourth inning. He walked Tony Kemp to load the bases. Chad Pinder drove in the A’s fifth run with a groundout to second and struck out Sean Murphy to end the inning and close the book on Fleming.
Close the Book On Fleming:
Fleming worked 3.1-innings allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out six and walking one. He threw 67 pitches with 45 for strikes and delivered a first pitch strike to 11 of 18 batters.
Springs finished the fourth and made way for the big league debut of Phoenix Sanders who was selected from Triple-A Durham prior to the game. He becomes the third German-born player to appear in a game for the Rays joining Steve Kent (2002) and Edwin Jackson (2006-2008).
The first three batters reached base against Sanders before allowing a run on a double play ball off the bat of Kevin Smith that extended Oakland’s lead to 6-1. He struck out Austin Allen to end the inning allowing just the one run.
Lowe Blasts Another:
Tampa Bay cut the lead to 6-3 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh on Brandon Lowe’s third homer of the season. It was another blast by Lowe with an exit velocity of 103.4 miles per hour and travelled 402 feet.
Sanders worked three innings allowing one run on two hits while striking out two and walking one. He was replaced by Jalen Beeks in the eighth inning.
Beeks worked the final two innings for Tampa Bay holding the Athletics off the board retiring all six batters he faced including three strikeouts.
More Pitching Moves:
Prior to the first pitch, the Tampa Bay Rays designated Dusten Knight for assignment and selected right handed pitcher Phoenix Sanders from Triple-A Durham. The Rays pitching depth has been tested early with injuries to Ryan Yarbrough, Shane Baz, and J.T. Chargois and this was their fourth straight day with a pitching transaction.
Knight worked 2.1-innings in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss allowing one earned run while throwing 42 pitches. Sanders, a University of South Florida graduate was selected by the Rays in the 10th round in 2017. He had appeared in two games with the Bulls this season working 3.2-innings and allowing one earned run.
He spent the 2021 season with the Bulls appearing in 50 games (all in relief) and posting a 5-2 mark with a 3.38 ERA (24ER/64IP) while striking out 80 batters. “Talked to Brady (Williams, Durham Manager) yesterday, ironically.” Kevin Cash said. “Brady was expressing that this guys ready to get up here. He’s kind of checked a lot of boxes in AAA and he’s ready for his opportunity.”
Sanders called the opportunity a dream. “At the end of the day when you start playing little league and start playing catch in the backyard you fulfill this goal.” he said. “I think it all really hit me last night sitting at home, trying to fall asleep, unable to fall asleep. ‘Wow, I actually did it.’ Words still can’t put it into how I feel.”
Up Next For Rays:
The Rays finish their stretch of 13 straight games to open the season with a six game trip to Chicago. Starting Friday they’ll take on the White Sox for three and then head across town to take on the Cubs.
“It’ll be nice to get out of Florida. We’ve been here for a while now, so a little change of scenery is never a bad thing, so it’ll be great.” Rasmussen said. He’s also looking forward to spending the week in one city. “It will be nice because once again, similar to the homestand, you’ll get a chance to settle in even though we are on the road….sleep in the same bed for awhile, so that will be nice.”