The Tampa Bay Rays had been struggling with their starting pitching. Nathan Karns cured that.
They had been struggling with the bats, too. Karns cured that, as well.
Karns had one of those memorable do-it-all games Tuesday night, throwing five shutout innings of three-hit baseball and hitting a solo home run in the third inning to lead the Rays to a 1-0 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.
For the Rays, it was the first time this season a pitcher has gotten a hit after 14 failures.
Karns admitted after the game that he did not feel particularly well and was trying to avoid the heat between innings. But on the field, he was very good. As has been his custom of late, however, he has gotten to the bullpen as quickly as possible. Once again, Kevin Jepsen, Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger closed out the game with Boxberger getting his 24th save of the year.
Karns is now 5-5 for the team. Three teams in the AL East are now at .500.
Karns rebounded from his previous start, when he gave up seven runs in a loss. H
The Rays have now had four runs or less and eight hits or less in their last nine games (4-5).
They came in batting only .187 on this road trip. They had seven hits, but the middle of the order continued their slumps. Evan Longoria is now one for his last 23, and James Loney is three for his last 30.
The Rays now face Phillies’ lefthander Adam Morgan. Tampa Bay has won 11 straight games over a lefty. He faces Jake Odorizzi.