Rays Extend Home Win Streak To 13, Improve To 19-3Follow @Steve_Kinsella1
St. Petersburg, FL – The Tampa Bay Rays completed the sweep over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday afternoon with a 4-1 victory in front of 22,702 at Tropicana Field.
Zach Eflin (3-0, 2.81 ERA) picked up the win with Pete Fairbanks closing the door in the ninth to earn his third save on the season.
It was a complete team win as Zach Eflin set the tone getting through the first five, then Yonny Chirinos delivered three crisp innings to get the ball to Pete Fairbanks who closed the door. The Rays belted a pair of homers in support of the pitching and manufactured a run as well.
The defense was impressive with several web gems by Isaac Paredes at third and Luke Raley made a diving catch in right. Not to mention the fantastic play at first base by Yandy Diaz. “He [Isaac Paredes], oh man…he put on a clinic at third base throughout the game.” Kevin Cash said.
With the win Tampa Bay improves to 19-3 on the year and extends their home win streak to a franchise record 13 straight games. Tampa Bay is one of only eight teams in MLB history to win 19 of its first 22 games and the first since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers.
Lucas Giolito (1-2, 4.50 ERA) took the loss for the White Sox who fall to 7-15 on the season. He worked 7 innings allowing four earned runs on five hits while striking out five and walking two.
Eflin Strong In Return:
Zach Eflin made his return from a stint on the injured list (lower back tightness) by delivering five solid innings. He allowed one earned run on three hits while striking out four and walking none. He threw 67 pitches with 45 for strikes.
Power Output Continues:
Luke Raley belted a two run homer in the second inning giving the Rays an early 2-0 lead. It was Raley’s fourth homer on the season. The homer also extended the Rays MLB record streak of hitting a home run in consecutive games to start a season to 22. The following inning Harold Ramirez hit his fifth homer of the season to extend the Rays lead to 4-0. The homer extended is hitting streak to nine straight games.
Raley entered the game mired in a 1-for-15 skid. After the game Manager Kevin Cash was pleased with the power display from Raley noting that he’s put some good work in with Chad [Mottola] of late. “I know he [Raley] had a little bit of a frustrating road trip but that doesn’t amount to too much. We just want to keep his confidence high and he put a charge in that ball today for sure.”
The homer was a confidence booster for Raley. According to Kevin Cash, more for himself than the team. “We have full belief in Luke and what he’s capable of and how much he’s helped us to this point. But there’s no doubt, when everyone around you is hitting an you’re the guy quiet for five or six days it can get in your head a little bit.”
The Tampa Bay Rays welcome in the Houston Astros for three games starting Monday night at 6:40 p.m. Taj Bradley (2-0, 2.61 ERA) will make his third start of the season. Houston will counter with Jose Urquidy (1-1, 3.66 ERA).
The White Sox will head north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in a three game series before returning home to meet up with the Rays in a four game series starting Thursday afternoon.