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Rays’ Jake Odorizzi keeps starting pitching streak going well

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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.

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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