Tampa Bay Rays fans, rejoice, as the losing streak is OVER! Friday night, the Rays began a home series with the Seattle Mariners and shut out an offense that came off of a quick two-game sweep over the Atlanta Braves. It was Tampa’s first win in nearly two weeks, as they would take game one by a 4-0 final.
The scoring started in the bottom of the fourth, when Jose Molina flew out to left field, which brought home Kevin Kiermaier. The Rays would tack on two more in the next frame off a Desmond Jennings bunt single and a Yunel Escobar line drive, and capped off the offensive night on a Tom Wilhelmsen wild pitch, which scored Escobar in the 7th.
And, while yes the offense finally coming around was nice, the real story was the pitching of Erik Bedard, and really the whole staff in general. Bedard picked up his third win of the season by going six innings, allowing just four hits and striking out eight while throwing 66 of his 103 pitches for strikes. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, and Grant Balfour each pitched an inning each of relief and combined to allow just one hit. Tonight’s pitching staff also set a new club record, as this was the sixth game in a row in which the Rays have struck out 10 or more batters (they had 14 tonight).
Even though the Rays were able to muster their four runs, they also left 15 men on base and were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, including loading the bases four times tonight. It’s baby steps towards full progress, but those numbers have to get better if we want to be talking about consistent wins. But, the guys were able to rough up Mariners’ starter Chris Young pretty well, as he only went five innings, giving up seven hits and three runs. The way the offense has been at times this season, the Rays won’t be complaining about this performance.