How many more in a row can the Tampa Bay Rays roll?
By Kasey Kuhrts
Last night the Tampa Bay Rays completed a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a comeback 8-3 victory. For the Rays, it was their second sweep of the season and their first on the road.
With the sweep, the Tampa Bay Rays pushed their win streak up to five, as they salvaged the final game of a three-game set against the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field last weekend.
Although for most of the game Thursday night, it looked like the Tampa Bay Rays win streak would come to a close. Through the first 6.2 innings, Angels starter Andrew Heaney had the Rays hitters absolutely lost.
Heaney tossed a season-high 110 pitches last night for the Angels and racked up 10 punch-outs. Something he has done only once before this season.
However, taking Heany out was the beginning of the end for Joe Madden’s club.
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After getting the first two outs in the seventh, Madden called upon Mike Mayers to try and get the final out of the inning against Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino. Let’s just say, that didn’t work.
The Tampa Bay Rays picked up where Zunino left off in the top of the eighth.
Brett Phillips started the inning with a leadoff single and was followed by a Randy Arozarena RBI double, to cut the lead to one.
The very next batter, Manuel Margot, who usually only sees at-bats off left-handed pitching, laced an RBI single to right, scoring Arozarena from second, and tying the game.
From there, things got out of hand. Aaron Slegers came in to replace Mayers and had about the same luck.
Margot immediately stole second off Slegers, who then issued a walk to Austin Meadows. Then this happened, somehow.
What followed was an RBI single from Yandy Diaz, and the Angles going to their third pitcher of the inning, Felix Pena.
However, Pena didn’t fare much better. After allowing back-to-back base hit’s to Wendle and Zunino, which scored Diaz, Brett Phillips made his way back to the plate, for his second at-bat of the eighth inning.
Phillips would go on to clear the bases with an RBI double, raising the score to 8-3 Tampa.
After a lockdown eighth and ninth from Hunter Strickland and Cody Reed, the sweep was complete.
The win moved the Tampa Bay Rays season record to 18-15
However, there will be no rest for the weary.
Tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays will make it 15 games in 15 days as they travel to Oakland, to finish the season series with the A’s.
The Rays split a four-game series with the Athletics back at Tropicana Field in late April, and the two clubs will meet again tonight, just eight days later.
Game one will feature a good pitching matchup as Athletics ace Sean Manaea will get the ball. Manaea started game one of the series at Tropicana Field as well and collected the win.
In that start Manaea went five innings, allowing only one run on four hits.
He will be opposed by Tampa Bay Rays starter Rich Hill.
Much like Manaea, Hill pitched in game one of the series at Tropicana Field, however, fared worse.
Hill allowed two runs on two hits over six innings in that start but was charged with the loss. Hill did strike out ten in that start, but it wasn’t enough to overcome his former team.
First pitch tonight from O.co Coliseum is scheduled for 9:40 PM EST, so get ready for a couple more days of “Late Night with the Rays.”