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Rays’ Jake Odorizzi dazzles against Rangers in big victory

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Suddenly, it’s a Jake Odorizzi world.

Suddenly, the Tampa Bay Rays have a chance when he’s on the mound.

In seven starts since the all-star game, Odorizzi has improved his record to 5-0 with an AL-leadng ERA of 1.64. He has improved his record to 8-5.

The Rays followed Odorizzi to their fifth win in their last six games Saturday night, an 8-2 blasting of the Texas Rangers. The Rays have outscored their opponents 47-14 during those six games.

“Odo was outstanding,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “It was a tight game for a while, and Odo pitched really well to keep it right there.”

Odorizzi said he had to reach deep for his latest win.

“A little bit of everything (was working),” Odorizzi said. “I can’t really pinpoint one thing that was working, I just had to battle, feel the situation out. They did a great job of fighting off some pitches, so I was just going with whatever we felt in the moment.”

On escaping the first-and-third situation in the 3rd inning: “I was just trying to get some soft contact on the infield and get a double play there and concede the one run. But we were able to work out of it after I got the strikeout of (Ian) Desmond, I was trying to get the ball in on (Carlos) Beltran and I got the weak pop-up … and find a way out of it.”

Tim Beckham had two triples for the Rays, and Luke Maile hit his first home run. Evan Longoria hit his 28th of the year.

“I’ve been trying to do too much lately and I just wanted to see strikes, swing at balls in the zone and put the barrel on the ball,” Beckham said. “Something I bring to the club is my speed when I hit the ball in the gap. If it hits the wall, I expect to be on (third) until they stop me.”

Said Cash: “He was pretty electric tonight. It looked like he hit two balls right in the same spot, and got triples for both of them. Good at-bats. He just missed another ball that he flew out really high. So his timing is coming around, it seems like.”

The Rays try to win the series today when Drew Smyly faces Martin Perez.

 

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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