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Tampa Bay Rays Game 19: Evan Longoria Refuses To Get Out

By Robbie Knopf

In a sport where hitters entered Sunday getting on base 31.2% of the time, Evan Longoria has now reached base in eight straight trips to the plate. There’s certainly some luck involved with that, but at least for a moment, let’s appreciate what he has done. Longoria went 3 for 3 with a walk and a run scored for the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday as they completed a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays and currently stand in first place in the American League East by themselves at 11-8.

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If the Rays are getting lucky, it certainly isn’t just Longoria. For the second time in the series, the Rays received an RBI bloop double in the first inning, this time from Logan Forsythe. Kevin Kiermaier also had his second flyball of the series dropped by a Toronto outfielder, with this one going for two bases. In this 5-1 victory, though, the Rays didn’t need fortune on their side. Longoria had his big game, Brandon Guyer drilled a leadoff homer and finished with 4 RBI, and Chris Archer was spectacular.

Kevin Cash said after the game was Archer was sick and throwing up between innings, but that certainly didn’t show. He went 7 shutout innings allowing just 2 hits, striking out 7 while walking 1. He set a Tampa Bay Rays record with his fourth straight start allowing an unearned run and also pulled off this incredible feat.

Archer had a rough Opening Day start, but he has gone 26.2 innings without allowing a single earned run since. Overall, he has a 0.84 ERA and a 37-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 32.1 innings pitched, looking everything like an ace. The danger remains that Archer will have bouts of wildness–another form of luck is when a starting pitcher has his great stuff for several games in a row. Even though Archer will not always be this effective, however, there is reason to believe that his overall body of work will be markedly better by the time the season concludes.

Other Rays to mention in the game include Tim Beckham, who went 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 runs scored, and Kevin Kiermaier, who went 2 for 4 with a run scored. Players like Beckham have stepped up for the Rays while James Loney and John Jaso have been injured and guys like Longoria have been struggling, and that was a major reason why this team stayed afloat. Now the hope is that they can keep their hot streaks going while the established hitters hit their strides to help this Tampa Bay Rays offense continue to score enough runs.

The Rays will take on the New York Yankees tomorrow at 7:05 PM with Nate Karns scheduled to be their starting pitcher.

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