Jake Irvin Stymies Rays Bats, Nationals Bang Out 13 Hits And Defeat Rays 8-1

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Jake Irvin Stymies Rays As Natinals Defeat Tampa Bay 8-1
Washington Nationals starter Jake Irvin pitches against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 29, 2024, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

St. Petersburg, FL – Jake Irvin (6-6, 3.03 ERA) held the Rays to one run over six innings and the Nationals batters banged out 13 hits including seven in the seventh inning on the way to a 8-1 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Rays.

With the win the Nationals end a four game losing streak and improve to 39-43. It’s their first victory at Tropicana Field since June 9, 2021.

The loss drops the Rays back under .500 at 41-42. The two teams wrap up their three game series playing the rubber game Sunday afternoon. The Rays will attempt to win their fourth consecutive series, which would be their longest since winning six straight series Aug 11 through 30, 2023.

Aaron Civale (2-6, 5.07 ERA) takes the loss allowing two earned runs on six hits in 5.2-innings of work. He struck out a pair, walked four, and uncorked a wild pitch. It was a lot of dancing around baserunners for Civale who was assisted in his efforts by two groundball double plays. Manager Kevin Cash was encouraged by Civale’s outing. “He had to grind through that outing.” Cash said. “He didn’t have his best command, fell behind guys, they put pressure on us early on. Felt like a leadoff hitters were getting on base, but credit Civ [Civale] for hanging in there and making a lot of big pitches when he needed to.”

For the Rays, Yandy Diaz‘s (0-for-4) 20-game hit streak came to an end. Randy Arozarena (1-for-3, BB) extended his on-base streak to 13 games. Edwin Uceta (2.2IP, 0R, K) retired all eight batters he faced and has thrown 8.2 scoreless innings in four outings this season He is the fourth Rays pitcher to record four straight scoreless relief appearances of 2.0+ IP, joining Colin McHugh (5G, 2021), Yonny Chirinos (4G, 2022-2023), and Lance Carter (4G, 2002).

C.J. Abrams delivered a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first to give the Nationals a quick 1-0 lead. It was Abrams 3rd leadoff homer this season and fifth of his career. Aaron Civale has allowed at least one home run in 14 of his 17 starts this season and 19 of his last 23 dating back to last season. He entered his start tied for the sixth most homers allowed in MLB.

Brandon Lowe celebrated his return to the starting lineup by delivering a 405 foot homer in the bottom of the first inning to tie the game at 1-1. The homer came after he had sent a pop up behind home plate that would normally be an easy pop-out but the ball hit the catwalk and the plate appearance was extended.

Washington scored their second run on a pair of poor defensive plays on Tampa Bay’s end. The first was a groundball to third that Isaac Paredes skipped to second base eliminating the chance at an inning ending double play. With two outs and runners on the corner, Aaron Civale bounced one in that deflected off catcher Ben Rortvedt far enough enough away to allow Luis Garcia to scamper home.

The Nationals broke the game open in the top of the seventh inning scoring six times off Rays reliever Shawn Armstrong. Seven National hitters recorded base hits in the inning including a 2-RBI triple off the bat of former Rays outfielder Harold Ramirez.

After the game, Armstrong declined request to speak to the media, obviously bothered by the evenings results. He still has the backing of second baseman Brandon Lowe though. “One crappy outing, I’m not going to worry about it. I know that’s the big thing nowadays is, guy has a bad day, everybody is concerned and thinks its time to run away from the situation.” Lowe said. “I don’t think it’s in anybody’s mind in here. There’s not one guy in this clubhouse that’s worried about what Armie [Armstrong] is going to bring to the table next time he comes out.”

The Rays will send RHP Taj Bradley (2-4, 3.81 ERA) to the mound on Sunday afternoon. The Nationals will counter with LHP Patrick Corbin (1-7, 5.46 ERA).