Rays Ride Another Big Inning to 5-2 Victory

Rays score five runs in an inning for the second straight night

Wilson Ramos hit a three run home run and the Tampa Bay pitching staff got back on track after an uncharacteristic Monday night as the Rays rode another big inning to victory, 5-2 against the Detroit Tigers.

Aggressive baserunning got the ball rolling for the Rays in the third inning.  Carlos Gomez stole second following a walk.  Then, on an infield single from Willy Adames that was difficult for Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias to pick up, Gomez came in from second to score the first run of the game.  The aggressive play sparked a big inning, as Adames came around to score on a Kevin Kiermaier single, and eventually Ramos hit his 14th home run of the season.  The right field shot off Matthew Boyd made the score 5-0, the second night in a row that Tampa Bay scored five in a single frame.

From there, the game was in the hands of the Tampa Bay bullpen.  Like much of this season, the bullpen delivered in a big way.  The Rays got two scoreless innings each out of opener Ryne Stanek, Jose Alvarado, and Jamie Schultz before turning the ball over to Adam Kolarek.

“I think he might be (the best opener in the game)” said Rays manager Kevin Cash after the victory, in response to a question largely meant in jest.  It’s a small sample size, and Stanek insists that the first inning isn’t any more or less special than later inning appearances, but he has been stellar in the newly-termed role.

The Tigers didn’t put a run across until the ninth, rallying off Kolarek for two runs before Sergio Romo came in.  Romo got a statistical quirk of a save:  One out to hold a three run lead with the potential tying run on deck.

Big night for the all star

Tampa Bay’s lone all star for the moment ,Wilson Ramos, had a big night on Tuesday.  In addition to the opposite field homer, the catcher showed off his arm, throwing Jose Iglesias out during a stolen base attempt in the sixth inning to erase a leadoff walk.

Ramos will likely spend the bulk of July being packaged in trade rumors across the country.  He is a catcher that can hit the baseball, which is an extremely valuable commodity in the current league climate.  Contenders are likely to want to pay for Ramos’ services, and at the right price it’s going to be hard for the Tampa Bay Rays to say no.

Nevertheless, Ramos has been one of the Rays’ leaders by example.  Catchers always have a leadership role, given their responsibilities to the pitcher and to the team’s defense as well.  This is compounded with Ramos, because he has been the team’s most consistent force at the plate as well.  Tuesday night’s game showed why he won the fan voting to start for the American League at catcher.

Businessman’s special to finish the mini-homestand

The Rays’ three game homestand comes to an end Wednesday with a getaway day game at 12:10.  It will be another day for “Johnny Wholestaff” and the Rays’ ongoing opener experiment.  It’s likely, however, that this will be one of those versions of Bullpen Day that result in Ryan Yarbrough getting the chance to go as deep as he can in a relief appearance.

After the three game homestand is done, Tampa Bay heads north to face the Minnesota Twins for the weekend.  That will take the Rays into next week’s All Star Break.

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.