Tampa Bay Rays Game 108: Not Even Chris Sale Can Stop Offense

By Robbie Knopf

Logan Forsythe drilled a two-run home run to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning before Tyler Saladino‘s blast narrowed their advantage to 2-1. However, this wasn’t a game where the Rays got a couple of early runs and let the opposing pitcher settle right in. This wasn’t a game where their offense scored in bunches only to see their pitchers let the opposition come right back. This was just as good of a Rays win as you’ll see from Chris Archer‘s latest dominant effort to Richie Shaffer‘s first career home run.

Archer finished with 7 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, striking out 7 while walking 1. Kevin Cash let Archer extend himself a little bit, getting up to 107 pitches and keeping him in even after he allowed a pair of baserunners in the seventh inning, and Archer kept it together to deliver another great outing. Chicago White Sox fans, who had seen many an overpowering start from Chris Sale, does not receive such a game tonight, but they did get to marvel at Archer’s electric arsenal and the way that he performed.

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Speaking of Sale, he rebounded from Forsythe’s homer to toss shutout ball for the next three innings, but Mikie Mahtook reminded us all that Sale was still human as he drilled a misplaced fastball into the left field seats for another home run. Then the Rays pulled away in the following frame, loading the bases with nobody out and actually coming through this time. Kevin Kiermaier forced Sale from the game by winning the left-on-left matchup with a two-run single (with the help of an error). Before the inning was through, Rene Rivera, Brandon Guyer, and Evan Longoria had all contributed RBI singles to make it 8-1 Rays.

To top it all off, Asdrubal Cabrera and Richie Shaffer drilled back-to-back homers off reliever Daniel Webb in the seventh inning. With Sale out of the game, it looked like Shaffer’s best chance for his first major league hit, and he didn’t disappoint, taking an outside fastball right where it was pitched and over the right field wall. Shaffer then pretended to give out high-fives, hugs, and points while his teammates gave him the silent treatment before everyone finally started congratulating him. It was a great moment for Shaffer, and the hope is that many more blasts like that are on the way.

Kiermaier added another RBI single in the ninth as the Tampa Bay Rays won the game 11-3. The Rays are now back to .500 at 54-54 and will hope to sweep Chicago tomorrow at 2:05 PM as Erasmo Ramirez takes on rookie Carlos Rodon.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Second Half Play Crucial for Next Season