The impact that the Tampa Bay Rays wanted when they brought Steven Souza Jr. to the franchise a year ago looked, well, something like what fans saw Wednesday afternoon.
Souza claimed the afternoon for his own, guiding the Rays to their second straight win of the season. Souza had four hits, including two home runs and a double, to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3. Souza also drove in four.
For the fourth game in a row, Toronto took a lead, this time 3-0 on Josh Donaldson’s home run. But the Rays charged back to take their second straight come-from-behind win.
Tampa Bay had four shutout innings thrown by three bullpen members, including the last two in a row from Erasmo Ramirez. Starter Matt Moore struck out six in five innings.
Evan Longoria had two hits and scored two runs.
But the star of the day was Souza, who admitted that he put too much pressure on himself in hitting only .225 last year. This year, Souza has said he feels more comfortable, and it shows. He is hitting .400 early in the season with three homers.
“He was locked in from the first at-bat,” Longoria said.
Said manager Kevin Cash: “This second year, he’s more comfortable. He’s a little bit of a different person. We knew he was a good player.”
The Rays are off Thursday, then open a three-game series in Baltimore. Chris Archer will be on the mound for Tampa Bay.