Different night. Different place. Different result.
For the Tampa Bay Rays, everything changed Wednesday night. A night after their most embarrassing loss of the season, the Rays came back to shut down the Washington Nationals, 5-0, on a two-hit shutout. The previous night, Washington had scored 16 runs on 23 hits, and there were times when it never seemed as if the Rays would get the Nationals out.
This time, the difference in the teams was stark. The Rays pieced together a pitching gem out of its bullpen, with Steve Geltz throwing two perfect innings, followed by Mike Andriese’s four.
For the Rays, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was a star. The former Nationals’ player is still remembered in Washington for a catch that saved Jordan Zimmerman’s no-hitter last year. Wednesday night, Souza collected his 13th home run of the season off of Zimmerman to lead the Rays’ attack. Souza finished the game going three-for-four. Catcher Curt Casali hit his first major league homer for the Rays.
The Rays traded for Souza in the off-season, essentially replacing former Rookie of the Year Wil Myers.
If there was anything impressive about the Rays’ win, it was that five pitchers combined for the two-hitter. The previous night, the Rays had been forced to use two infielders to throw, which obviously helped to fortify the bullpen for Wednesday.
Tonight, the Rays’ Chris Archer goes for his eighth win (against four losses) against Washington’s Doug Fister at 7:05 p.m.