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Rays return to the Trop, win solid outing against the Detroit Tigers

Dome, sweet Dome.

The Tampa Bay Rays enjoyed their return to Tropicana Field Tuesday night, beating the Detroit Tigers 5-1 in a solid victory. The Rays had spent the previous seven games on the road, losing six of them, before the victory Tuesday.

How good was it? It was so good that shortstop Tim Beckham, one of the team’s punching bags by the fans, had a two-run homer and a single and played solid shortstop for the Rays. Catcher Derek Norris also had two hits and drove in a run.

Starting pitcher Matt Andriese gave up a first-inning home run to Miguel Cabrera, but he gave up only three more hits. Three members of the bullpen were perfect in relief.

The Rays did strike out 10 times, which marked the seventh time in the last eight games they’ve whiffed in double-digits. But they had nine hits against Michel Fulmer, the reigning AL rookie of the year.

“We needed a win today,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “We went up againstt a very good pitcher in Fulmer and we had some good at-bats. Matt Andriese set the tone. He gave up the early home run, but it didn’t faze him and didn’t rattle him.”

Tampa Bay and Detroit play again tonight at the Trop. Chris Archer pitches against Jordan Zimmerman.

Rays lose their sixth of the last seven games after big error

The Tampa Bay Rays can’t wait to get home.

The Rays limped through the final game of their homestand, losing six of the seven games to ruin a good start. The Rays lost to the Boston Red Sox 4-2 Saturday with a familiar pattern: A good start, loose defense, a lost chance at a comeback and too many strikeouts.

Tampa Bay started out the season 5-2, but in six of the seven games since, the Rays have had at least 11 strikeouts.

The Rays made a key error in the second inning when second baseman Brad Miller dropped a throw from shortstop Tim Beckham that would have ended the inning. The Red Sox followed with two single and two walks and scored three times.

“I didn’t catch the ball,” Miller said. “It cost us three runs and ended up being the difference in the game.”

The Rays loaded the bases in the seventh inning with one out, but a strikeout by Miller and a flyout by Logan Morrison ended the threat. Five of the last six Rays’ batters struck out.

“Frustrating loss,” said Kevin Cash. “For us to have our best chance to win, we have to play clean baseball. You can go back to a couple of plays on this road trip that it just didn’t go our way. It’s very tough for us to overcome.”

Boston’s Andrew Benintendi had three hits for the Red Sox. Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr. all had two hits for Tampa Bay.

The Rays are now in fourth place in AL East. They play the Tigers tonight with Matt Andriese pitching agianst Michael Fulmer.

Rays lose pitcher Jake Odorizzi to hamstring injury in loss to Red Sox

The Tampa Bay Rays managed to scrape together a pretty good pitching game Saturday.

The hitting? Not so much.

The Rays dropped a 2-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox, falling back to even on the season. The Rays were forced to piece together the efforts of five pitchers after starter Jake Odorizzi left in the second inning with a tight hamstring.

Boston’s Chris Sale, meanwhile, was dominant. He struck out 12 in seven innings and allowed only three hits in getting the win.

The Red Sox scored the winning run in the seventh when they loaded the bases with two singles and a walk off of Tommy Hunter. Xavier Cedeno came in and got a ground ball, but it was slow off the bat and rookie Daniel Robertson had to go to first.

“I loved the efficiency,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “When you lose your pitcher in the second inning, our bullpen had to be efficient and lengthen themselves out. I was impressed with their performances.”

Odorizzi will go on the 10-day disabled list. His roster spot will be taken by Chase Whitley.

Mitch Moreland hit a home in the second for Boston. Evan Longoria’s single tied it in the third.

The Rays play against the Red Sox today at 1:05 p.m. Alex Cobb pitches against Drew Pomeranz.

Tampa Bay Rays take out their frustrations on Boston’s Red Sox

After spending the week getting beaten up in New York, any place else would have felt fine for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Even Boston.

The Rays, fresh off being swept by the Yankees, took their frustrations out on the Boston Red Sox Friday night in a 10-5 victory. Four different Rays hit home runs, led by Logan Morrison’s first career grand slam. Also homering were Shane Peterson, just up from the minors, Brad Miller, who hit his first homer of the season, and Steven Souza Jr. Miller had three hits.

Chris Archer, who lost 19 times a year ago, ran his record to 2-0, going 5 2/3 and giving up one earned run.

The Rays jumped on reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, getting eight hits and eight earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. Porcello had gone at least five innings in 43 straight games.

The first big moment of the night was the two-run homer from Peterson, who was called up to replace the injured Mallex Smith.

“It was a pretty cool moment,” said manager Kevin Cash. “I’m really smart for putting him in the lineup. (laughs). No, I’m just happy for him.”

Archer had lost 11 in a row against the Red Sox.

The Rays play Boston again today as Jake Odorizzi faces Chris Sale.

Rays swept by New York Yankees; fall back to .500 for season

Suddenly, they look like the Rays you remember from last season.

The Tampa Bay Rays lost their third straight game Thursday night, getting swept by the New York Yankees and falling back to .500 on the season and dropping to fourth in the AL East.

This time, the Rays lost 3-2, striking out 15 times against the Yankees. Starting pitcher Luis Severino struck out 11.

Aaron Hicks hit two home runs and drove in all three runs for the Yankees. He had a two-run homer in the seventh off Xavier Cedeno for the winning runs.

Tampa Bay threatened to tie the game in the eighth, putting runners on first and third with no one out. But Dellin Betances got both Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria to strike out looking and Brad Miller grounded out to end the threat.

“He’s one of a handful of pitchers you can totally understand his success,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash.

The Rays had trouble making contact the entire night. Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza Jr., Brad Miller and Daniel Robertson all struck out three times.

Tampa Bay starting pitcher Matt Andriese threw well, allowing only one earned run on five hits through six innings.

The Rays now travel to Boston for tonight’s game, which features Chris Archer against Rick Porcello.

Rays fall to Yankees; lose back-to-back games for the first time this season

The Tampa Bay Rays are suffering their first losing streak of the season.

The Rays fell to 5-4 and to third place in the AL East, losing an 8-4 decision to the New York Yankees. In back-to-back games, the Rays have given up 16 runs.

The Rays were particularly sloppy Wednesday, blowing a 3-0 lead, committing two errors and having two runners thrown out trying to stretch singles into doubles. Rays’ starter Blake Snell went only 4 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits. Jumbo Diaz gave up three runs out of the bullpen and took the loss.

“Certainly, we have to play cleaner games,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash.

Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer to get the Rays off to a good start, but New York came back with two runs in the fifth, four in the sixth and two in the seventh.

The Rays conclude their series against New York tonight at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees’ Michael Pineda tames Rays back in their first road loss of year

This time, the Tampa Bay Rays ran into the good Michael Pineda.

In their first road game of the year, Pineda was a stop sign. He flirted with a perfect game, sitting down the Rays’ first 20 batters en route to a two-hitter in an 8-1 win by the New York Yankees. He struck out 11.

You can hardly blame the Rays if they failed to recognize Pineda as the inconsistent pitcher who lasted only eight batters against Tampa Bay earlier in the season in a 4-1 Rays’ win.

This time, the Rays’ managed only a two-out double by Evan Longoria in the seventh and a solo home run by Logan Morrison in the eighth.

For the Yankees, Aaron Judge, Chase Headley and Starlin Castro all homered in the win. The Yankees broke a 3-1 game open with a five-run eighth.

Pineda has always been hard to figure out. He was 6-12 last year with a 4.82 ERA, but he led the Yankees in strikeouts.

“He had really good fastball command,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “He could place his slider where he needed to, and he mixed in a change-up a lot more than we saw in his first meeting. We’ve always respected how he comes out and competes. He can make some really good hitters look bad.”

For the Rays, it was that way as they visited the Yankees, who won their 16th home opener in their last 20 games.

The teams are off today, then play again on Wednesday.

Lightning finish their season with a win, but must watch the playoffs

The Tampa Bay Lightning barely missed the playoffs. In some ways, that makes it more difficult.

The Lightning wrapped up their regular season Sunday evening, beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. That left the team with 94 points, one behind both Toronto and Boston.

Brayden Point scored two goals in the finale. Defensemen Victor Hedman and Braydon Coburn also scored for Tampa Bay.

“It’s hard to digest right now because it’s been less than 24 hours since we’ve known that we weren’t going to play after tonight,” Cooper said. “All I can say is there was a time in early February where we were not relevant at all. This team found a way to make themselves relevant through game 81.

“Just to watch the crowd support at a 5:00 game on a Sunday afternoon on a beautiful day while The Masters is going on. The place is jam packed and nobody left and everybody stayed till the very end.

“There’s a love affair between the team and our fans. I was just proud to be standing there behind the bench, The players, they made the team relevant during the last two and a half months of the season, but, in saying that, come five months from now everybody’s 0-0-0. But, there’s a lot of fight in that group and you’ve got to say a lot of that group will be back here next year and it’s great to be a part of that.”

 The Lightning finished their last 30 games at 20-6-4, but 94 points weren’t enough to get into the post-season. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was 6-1-1 over his last eight starts.

Cooper was pleased with the effort of Point, who finished with 18 goals.

“That kid’s a hockey player,” Cooper said. “It’s hard to define everything good that happens to players. It’s happening to him because of his commitment to be better. I thought it was unbelievably fitting the way the winning goal goes in because the kid that just worked the hardest got awarded with a fluky one because he deserved that. I’m just so impressed that somebody that young and a little bit undersized can come in and – a lot of guys put the team on their back these last few months. But his growth has been phenomenal.

“He’s just a committed kid. (There are) not enough guys like him. I’ll just tell you that.”

Tampa Bay Rays outlast Toronto to capture a 10-8 comeback victory

They won it. They lost it. Then they won it again.

The Tampa Bay Rays won a wild one against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night, winning 10-8 after losing a 6-2 lead.

For the third time in five games, the Rays jumped on the opposing starter. Toronto’s Francisco Liriano lasted only one-third of an inning, giving up five earned runs and leaving with an ERA of 135.00. But the Blue Jays pecked away at the lead, and went ahead 7-6. The Rays, however, had a comeback of their own to win.

“This is the first interesting one of the season,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “The back-and-forth. We have a lot of them here. Glad to get it out and have the win. It wasn’t by any means the prettiest game, but really impressed with some big hits, timely hitting, and (reliever) Danny Farquhar. He really stepped up for us, the way he came through. I asked a lot him and did everything he could to keep the lead for us.”

The Rays had 13 hits, including a home run by Evan Longoria (his second of the season). Ricky Weeks, Logan Morrison and Corey Dickerson all had two hits, with Morrison’s and Dickerson’s coming after they came off the bench.

Xavier Cedeno got the win for the Rays, although he got only one out and walked two. Alex Colome got his third save in as many tries.

Outfielder Steven Souza Jr., who had a two-run double, said he was glad to see his team’s offense.

“It’s good,” he said. “I think it’s good for our starting pitchers and it’s good for our bullpen to know that we can come back. These last two games have shown that we can fight back. We fell short yesterday, but being able to come through and be resilient, is pretty good.”

Among those with hits was rookie Daniel Robertson, who had his first career hit.

“It felt amazing, to say the least, and to just get it out of the way. Obviously, I feel like that first one is the toughest one to get and then you start trickling 0-for-8, 0-for-10 and then you start thinking about it. It just felt really good. I knew I was facing a tough pitcher, but I was trying to be aggressive early, especially with runners on. I got a pitch to my liking and put a good swing on it.”

The Rays and Blue Jays play again today at 6:10 p.m. Chris Archer goes for his second win for the Rays against Aaron Sanchez.




Lightning wins, waits, watches to see if playoffs are possible

The Tampa Bay Lightning has one game left, but the games they don’t control that will be the most nerve-wracking.

The Lightning has to watch as the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. A win in either game clinches the playoffs for the Leafs and eliminates the Lightning.

The Lightning closes out his season Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres. The team has to wait to see if that game matters.

The Bolts beat Montreal Friday night, 4-2, to come within one point of the Maple Leafs.

Yanni Gourde scored twice for the Bolts. Nikita Kucherov scored his 40th goal, and Alex Killorn added a goal. Andrie Vasilevskiy played for the third straight game and stopped 27 shots.

“What’s encouraging for us, these guys (rookies) that are new to this, they don’t seem to care,” Bolts’ coach Jon Cooper said. “It doesn’t matter what league they’re playing in. They’re not afraid of the moment.”

The Bolts have gone 7-1-1 in their last nine games. Gourde has scored in five of the last seven games.

“I think just hard work,” Lightning rookie Brayden Point said of his team’s late-season run. “You look at the last two minutes on that penalty kill, guys are selling out and blocking shots. I think that’s why we’re having success. we’re so excited, these are must wins for our team. We’ve got lots of energy. Obviously, it was a tight-checking game, but I think we worked really hard tonight.”

Point said his team would pay attention to Saturday’s game.

“I think we’ll all be watching them pretty close,” Point said. “But we’ve got to rest up and take care of business ourselves.”

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