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Brad Miller’s 3-run home run lifts Rays past Kansas City

Brad Miller found his new position Thursday afternoon. It’s called “crossing the plate.”

Miller, whose shortstop position will be lost to newly acquired Matt Duffy, nonetheless continued his hot hitting. His three-run homer in the eighth inning pulled out a 3-2 victory for the Tampa Bay Rays over Kansas City.

Miller now has four homers in his last six games, including a career-high 19 for the year. His home run came on a 1-1 pitch with Logan Forsythe (who had singled) and Kevin Kiermaier (who had walked). The Rays are now 3-48 when trailing after seven innings.

“He’s a pro,” said manager Kevin Cash. “We’re lucky to have him and it doesn’t matter where he plays, we know his bat plays, and he’s a huge part of our plans and our team going forward. …We do have a lot of confidence and we were very optimistic about his bat and his overall play, and we’ve seen that.”

The Rays had only one hit entering the eighth inning before saving the game.

“I don’t want to set limits on myself,” Miller said. “I know this game is about consistency. I think the last couple years I have been able to show spurts of stuff, but I want to be able to keep it going the whole year. That’s what Longo and Forsythe and guys that are big cogs in lineups do. They never let up. I’m just excited that I’m driving the ball and I’m going to continue to try to be consistent with it.”

Drew Smyly got the win for the Rays, throwing seven innings of two-run baseball and allowing only five hits.

“All my pitches were on,” Smyly said. “I was locating them well and mixing them in and out, throwing a lot of strikes. I mean, I probably threw more pitches over the plate than just that one that got hit. That’s baseball. I’m sure Ian Kennedy would say the same, but we didn’t take advantage when he was on the mound. It’s a tough sport. It’s hard. You’ve just got to continue to believe and trust your stuff.”

Said Kansas City manager Ned Yost: “I thought Smyly did a good job of keeping us off-balance. He was mixing curveballs, changeups and cutters. Pop a 93-mph fastball in there. He was hitting the throttle and taking it off. We could never get on him.”

The Rays play against Minnesota today. Blake Snell pitches against Ervin Santana.

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Tampa Bay’s Jake Odorizzi tames Royals in Rays’ big 12-0 victory

Maybe Jake Odorizzi will never give up another run.

Certainly, Odorizzi is pitching that way for the Tampa Bay Rays. His last three straights – 20 2/3 innings – have been scoreless. He’s given up a total of 13 hits.

Wednesday night, Odorizzi threw a two-hit shutout in six innings, and the Rays won a 12-0 game over a Kansas City team that had had its way with Tampa Bay this season. The Royals had won 12 of 13 games.

“I don’t really know if there’s one certain thing to put a finger on,” Odorizzi said. “Just getting ahead a little better, my fastball’s had some good life to it; my split has been tremendously better than it was at the beginning of the year. So I think the culmination of all of those couple things, like I said—I wouldn’t attribute it to one single thing. At the same time, I don’t really care—I just want it to keep going.”

Tampa Bay scored four in the first and five in the sixth in a rare easy victory. The Rays had 14 hits: three each by Steven Souza and Nick Franklin and two each by Logan Forsythe, Kevin Kiermaier and Brad Miller. Souza, Kiermaier and Miller all had home runs. The Rays also walked seven times.

Odorizzi has 12 no-decisions this season, but he has finally passed .500 at 6-5.

“Things just were rough early, and now things are starting to even out later on. I feel as good now as I did earlier on in the season. I’m just having better results. I just hope it stays this way and my body keeps feeling good. That’s the most important thing.”

For the Rays, Odorizzi has become the best pitcher on the staff.

“Probably the way he has made an effort to get earlier outs,” Cash said about Odorizzi’s success. “Other than Cuthbert today, he really managed his pitches well. He threw a lot of strikes, he attacked. And he did that to (Cheslor) Cuthbert — Cuthbert just had really good at-bats off him for whatever reason. I think he saw [25] pitches—that’s an inning and a half worth of pitches to one hitter. … Since the break, he’s gotten really efficient, and he’s getting some earlier outs.”

The Rays play the Royals today at 12:10 p.m. Drew Smyly is scheduled to pitch against Ian Kennedy.

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Tampa Bay Rays strand a ballgame on base in loss to Kansas City Royals

It isn’t hard to figure out why the Tampa Bay Rays aren’t winning.

It’s because of all those men stranded on base.

The Rays lost again on Tuesday night, falling 3-2 to Kansas City. Tampa Bay went only one for 14 with runners on base, an old habit. The Rays are 8-9 since the all-star break, and they’re hitting only .141 with nine hits in 64 at bats in the losses. In the wins, they’re hitting .403 with 25 hits in 62 at-bats.

Tampa Bay has been shut out in 19 of its last 20 at bats.

“Tough loss,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “I thought we did some good things and we did some things that we’d like to have some opportunities back that we didn’t capitalize on with getting guys in from on base. But that’s the way it goes, they pitched well against us. We just came up short with runners on base.”

The Rays led 2-1 in the seventh when Cash decided to let Xavier Cedeno pitch to Salvador Perez,who hit a two-run homer for the winning runs.

“I liked how Cedeno (had) the matchup with the cutter on Perez,” Cash said. “Perez is obviously a very good hitter. Looking for him to maybe to expand out of the zone and we left a pitch that was something he could handle. That’s probably a decision that I’ll lose a little sleep over tonight for sure.

The Rays try again tonight when Jake Odorizzi pitches against the Royals. Edinson Volquez pitches for Kansas City.

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Kansas City’s Danny Duffy throws a one-hitter at Rays, strikes out 16

Evidently, the Tampa Bay Rays traded away their offense Monday afternoon.

So what if it was only Steve Pearce and Brandon Guyer who were traded from the lineup. Against the Kansas City Royals, however, it was if the two took the bats with them.

The Rays managed only one eighth-inning double against Danny Duffy, who threw a one-hit shutout and struck out 16. He was six outs away from no-hitting the Rays for the sixth time.

“Duffy had everything going, obviously,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “Electric fastball and a wipeout change-up mixed in an occasional curveball. Obviously, he gave us a lot of trouble, and from the side you could definitely see why. A quiet night offensively.”

The Rays’ Chris Archer matched zeroes into the seventh inning but ended up giving up three runs. A solo homer by Kendrys Morales broke the tie. Archer’s record fell to 5-15, the most losses in the majors.

“(The Trade Deadline) didn’t carry over for me,” said Archer. “It was disappointing, a frustrating day, emotional day like you said. But I don’t know if that’s why we lost the game. I’d probably say that’s not the reason we lost the game. That dude (Duffy) was on.”

Archer summed up how he pitched quickly.

“Not good enough to win,” he said.

Tampa Bay was shut out for the eighth time on the season. Desmond Jennings hit a 1-1 pitch to left for the team’s only hit. Logan Forsythe walked on a full count in the fourth.

“My fastball was jumping out of my hand, my changeup felt really good, and my slider was there, so one of the few and far between times that somebody has all of their pitches working the way they want it, so it was good,” Duffy said. “I could feel it coming out of my hand really well [in the bullpen], but I don’t really put my foot on the gas in the bullpen until like the last three pitches; I’m trying to keep the reserves as long as I can for outings like this.”

The Rays have now lost 11 of their last 12 against the Royals.

Matt Andriese will pitch for the Rays tonight against Yordano Ventura.

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Rays trade Matt Moore to Giants for three players including Matt Duffy

The Tampa Bay Rays have an opening in their rotation.

The Rays moved starting pitcher Matt Moore and his large contract to San Francisco, getting three players in return.

Coming to Tampa Bay will be infielder Matt Duffy and minor league shortstop Lucius Fox.

The Rays get Duffy, a lifetime .281 hitter (hitting .253 this season). Except for that, they kept to their blueprint and tried to improve their farm system.

Also, the Rays sent outfielder/first baseman Steve Pierce back to Baltimore, where he played in previous seasons, for Class A catcher Steve HeimBrandon Guyer was sent to the Cleveland Indians for two minor leaguers.

Heim is hitting .216 in Class A. His defense has been praised.

Cleveland, trying to find a bat after Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy vetoed a trade, instead turned to Guyer, who is expected to be a situational player for the Tribe.

To get Guyer, the team gave up outfielder Nathan Lukes and pitcher Jhonleider Salinas. Lukes is hitting .299 with five home runs in high A ball. Salinas is 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA.

This year, Guyer hit .241. He was hit by a pitch 23 different times.

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Snug Harbor added to list of possible Rays stadium sites

It’s near enough to Tampa and new fans. It’s close to St. Petersburg and old ones.

It’s big enough for a modern facility. It’s fresh enough for a trendy one.

You can imagine the improvement in the roads. And, also, in the roster.

Yeah, Snug Harbor makes some sense for all of us, doesn’t it?

The Tampa Bay Rays, considering a new home, have added Snug Harbor, a 39-acre plot of land on Gandy Boulevard, to their options. And although it’s a little early to start comparison sights, there are some advantages you can think of already.

For instance, there is the waterfront, which would help in adding restaurants and other destinations. Remember when the Rays thought about a stadium at Al Lang? Every broadcast could open and close with an iconic view of the water. What better to say “Tampa Bay” to the nation?

There is the location. It wouldn’t be as far a trip for Tampa fans, or as dramatic change for St. Petersburg.

There is the chance to echo other stadiums such as San Francisco and Baltimore.

Water is cool. Even if it’s in a flood zone. Even if the price tag is $30 million. Think of home runs splashing down. Think of fans in boats.

Think, well, of fans.

Of course, most of us would rather see some sketches before making up our minds. A lot of us don’t care where the team is located, as long as it isn’t last place. And raising the money to build a first-class stadium is sure to come with sticker shock.

Here’s the question. The Rays have always struggled to draw fans to St. Petersburg. Would this be enough to convince Tampa fans to come? Reminder: The Rays are currently 30th (last) in attendance, and it isn’t close. The Rays are drawing 16,896. The next-to-last As draw 19,173. Four major league teams – the Dodgers, Cardinals, Giants and Blue Jays – draw more than 40,000 fans per game.

If the team is going to stay in Tampa Bay, it is going to have to maximize the area from which it draws.

At this point, no site should be eliminated.

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Rays equal their season-high winning streak at four games against Yankees

They have combined for victories before. Nothing new about that for Blake Snell and Luke Maile.

Of course, most of their wins have been in Durham.

This time, Snell and Maile led the Tampa Bay Rays to their fourth victory in a row and a rare sweep of an opponent. The Rays beat the New York Yankees, 5-3, to sweep the Yankees.

Snell struck out nine – including five in a row at one point. For the year, he has 49 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings pitched. Snell is now 3-4 on the season.

“Blake was good today,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “His velo might have been up a tick and that might have caused some of the overthrown fastballs or breaking balls. But you can tell the curveball was a huge pitch today for him. Had a lot of swing-and-miss. Really strong outing by him, just kind ran out of pitches there at the end. But the guys came in and filled in really nice.”

Snell’s win was possible because of Maile, who entered the game with only two hits in his previous 24 at bats. Maile hit the first pitch he saw with two men out in the sixth to drive in Steven Souza and Kevin Kiermaier.

“The whole game I felt good. I felt really good with Luke behind the plate. We got in a rhythm really quick. I was trying to do too much for a little while, but having him behind the plate…he’s something else. … The guys behind me were playing really well (defensively), so it was fun.”

“I love (working with Maile). I’ve known him a long time. Him and me get on the same page pretty quick. … Especially today, I was throwing a bunch of balls in the dirt. I’ll go in the dirt the whole game, I know he’s going to block it.”

Together, the rookies kept Tampa Bay’s winning streak going. The Rays are now 42-61 on the season.

“It feels good to get back on a winning run here,” Cash said. “Being at home, finish off a sweep, we played really good baseball this weekend and it shows with the amount of wins we got. Lot of good things. Played good defense. We’re starting to see a trend, when you pitch well and play good defense you give yourself a chance to win consecutive ballgames.”

Tampa Bay had only six hits – two each by Souza and Corey Dickerson – but turned three double plays. Closer Alex Colome had his 25th save of the season. Colome is 25-for-26 on the season.

The Rays now play against Kansas City. Chris Archer pitches for Tampa Bay against Danny Duffy.

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Rays keep their mini-winning streak alive as Drew Smyly beats Yankees

If you do not think of the Tampa Bay Rays‘ overall record, then the latest streak by the team is a little bit of fun.

On the other hand, perhaps that’s just how bad this season has gone.

The Rays won their third straight game Saturday night, and came within one win of equaling their season high, with a 6-3 victory over the New York Yankees. The Rays got their 10th straight quality start by a starting pitcher, tying for the second most in team history.

This time, Drew Smyly delivered the win. It snapped an 11-start winless streak by Smyly in which he was 0-7. Over their last 10 starts, the Rays’ rotation is 6-1 with a 1.50 ERA.

“Smyly was really good again,” said manager Kevin Cash. “It was good to see. Gives up one home run and that’s his outing. Six strong innings. Tonight I think was the best we’ve seen his curveball and the best he’s felt with his curveball in quite some time. That’s something to really take into these next couple outings for him. That’s a big pitch for him, big putaway, he compliments the fastball with that pitch and we saw it tonight.”

The Rays got a leaping catch from Kevin Kiermaier in the eighth inning to help preserve their lead.

“We get spoiled (by his defense),” said Cash “We get to see it all the time, but there aren’t many center fielders or players in the game that can get to that ball, jump that high. It was an impressive catch. Fortunately for us we get to see it quite a bit.”

Brad Miller, Curt Casali and Tim Beckham all had home runs for the Rays.

“I haven’t had the comeback that I’ve wanted so far, but that’s just the game of baseball,” Kiermaier said. “It can be a roller coaster at times and you try to be more on the upper end than the lower end riding that roller coaster. I felt great tonight. We’ll use tonight as a little stepping stone and move forward here and contribute to the offense on a daily basis from here on out.”

The Rays try to sweep the Yankees today when Blake Snell pitches against Michael Pineda.

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Rays’ Jake Odorizzi keeps starting pitching streak going well

It isn’t the hottest the Tampa Bay Rays have ever been.

On the other hand, it’s decent. And this season, that’s as good as Tampa Bay has been.

The Rays ran their second-half record to 6-7 on Friday night, winning the first game of a 10-game homestand. Tampa Bay won 5-1 over the New York Yankees with five of the team’s seven hits going for extra bases. Tampa Bay has won six of its last 11 after winning three of its previous 27.

“We’ve played that way since the break,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I know we don’t have the wins to support that, but we’re playing tighter ballgames, our pitching has been tremendous and the timely hits, hopefully they continue to come.”

Jake Odorizzi, who has spent most of the season getting no decisions, evened his record at 5-5. He now has a 14 2/3 inning scoreless streak. Odorizzi has already had 12 no-decisions, becoming only the third pitcher since 1913 to go so often without a decision in his team’s first 100 games.

“Odo was outstanding, really threw the ball well,” Cash said. “He’s been throwing the ball well since the break, but Odo’s last two starts were tremendous. It’s good to see him get a win against the Yankees — probably his toughest loss of the year was a [2-1] ballgame that he lost earlier (May 29) against these guys here at home. Offensively, Logan (Forsythe) gets the big home run in the first and we continued to add on.”

For the Rays, it continued a nice streak of starting pitching. It was the ninth straight quality start. The Rays are 6-7 since the all-star break with six of the losses coming by one run.

“We’d talked about it for a while during the first half and it never came. Basically since the second half started, we all kind of changed our tune, I guess,” Odorizzi said. “Everything is going well for all the starters, just consistent outings back-to-back-to-back. It really takes stress off the bullpen. I think another thing, our defense is playing phenomenal. They’re really backing us up, and it’s a lot easier to pitch when you have great plays being made behind you. It really shortens the game.”

Tampa Bay jumped to a quick lead, getting solo home runs by Forsythe and Corey Dickerson in the first inning. Brad Miller had a double and a triple.

Drew Smyly pitches for the Rays tonight against New York.

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Rays’ Matt Moore pitches well again in victory over Los Angeles Dodgers

Slowly, he is returning to his role as ace of the Tampa Bay Rays staff. Whether he stays here is another matter.

Matt Moore pitched well once again Wednesday, and the Rays won a 3-1 decision over the Los Angeles Dodgers. For Moore, it was the 10th straight game in which he has pitched at least six innings. He is 5-3 in his last eight decisions.

Against the Dodgers, Moore allowed only four hits. Even better, he got one himself, only the third of the year by a Rays’ pitcher.

“It’s fun to play baseball on both sides,” Moore said. “I had fun today.”

Tampa Bay is now 39-61 on the season.

So did Evan Longoria, who had three hits and his 23rd home run of the year. Brad Miller also had two hits.

The Rays are home Friday against the New York Yankees with Jake Odorizzi getting the start.

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