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Game 146: Ben Zobrist Collects 1000th Hit But Rays Lose

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Ben Zobrist has achieved a lot in his career. Sometimes his achievements never show up in the box score, but tonight his achievement, despite the Rays loss, should be noted. Leading off the game, Zobrist collected the 1000th hit of his career, a distinction only one other Ray has done to this point, Carl Crawford. And that was just the beginning. The Rays jumped on New York Yankees starter Chris Capuano in the first inning and didn’t let up. After Brandon Guyer struck out, Evan Longoria walked, Wil Myers doubled and then James Loney walked to load the bases. Unlike most nights when the Rays load the base, they came through. Yunel Escobar and Logan Forsythe both singled and knocked starter Capuano from the game, after just 1/3 of an inning. When the first inning was all said and done, the Rays offense had staked Jake Odorizzi to a 4-0 lead. Seven consecutive batters reached safely.

On the whole, Odorizzi did not look that bad. Brian McCann touched him up for a solo home run in the first. Then, the train started to derail. All season long, the Rays defense has let them down at the worse possible opportunities. It will need to be tightened up going forward next year and could be pointed to as a cause for some of their problems this year. Two runs scored in the Yankees half of the 3rd and what looked to be a walk in the park suddenly became a close game. The Yankees would continue adding runs, one in the four, two in the fifth and another two in the eighth. In all, the Yankees would score eight unanswered runs and knock Odorizzi out after 4.2 innings. Odorizzi didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled and seemed to be more deflated by the Escobar misplay in the third than anything. With better defense and better luck, he could have delivered very different results.

Of note, the Rays pitchers are closing in most strikeouts by a pitching staff in a season. The 2013 Detroit Tigers set the record with 1428. With 16 games remaining, the Rays pitchers stand at 1308. They would have to average 7.5 K/9 to tie the mark. For the season, they are striking out 8.9 batters per 9 innings.

One more game remains in the Rays’ series against the Yankees. Tomorrow it is a 7:05 start as Alex Cobb will look for his 10th win as he squares off against Michael Pineda. Check back here for all your Rays news and a recap of the game.

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