The Tampa Bay Rays won their fourth straight overall & are one game over .500 for the first time since opening day after beating the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Tuesday night in Oakland. All four runs for the Rays scored because of solo home runs & three of those home runs came off the bats of C.J. Cron, Joey Wendle & Wilson Ramos, who were part of a feat the franchise hadn’t completed in nearly two seasons.
Although Tampa Bay put runners on in the first two innings, the Rays first, second & third run came across after three swings in three consecutive at bats in the third inning. With two outs, Cron hit a solo home run to deep left-centerfield, his team leading 12th homer of the season. Then Wendle, facing his former team, drove a pitch over the wall in rightfield, for the Rays first back to back home runs of the season. And Ramos capped the back to back to back home run barrage when he took a Daniel Gossett pitch the opposite way over the wall in rightfield making the score 3-0. The three home runs in three consecutive at bats was the first time the Rays have pulled off that feat since September 21, 2016 when Evan Longoria, Brad Miller & Corey Dickerson all went deep vs the Yankees. It was also the fourth time in franchise history the Rays hit back to back to back home runs.
Meanwhile Snell struggled with his command in the first two innings & needed 20 pitches in the first inning then 23 pitches in the second to retire the Athletics. But the Rays lefty threw just 30 pitches in the next two innings & was able to get through 5 2/3 innings, allowing just an unearned run while striking out seven to earn his seventh win of the season. And after Tuesday night, Snell in his last three starts is 3-0 0.98 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.
After Snell, Manager Kevin Cash used Reliever Jonny Venters to get the last out in the sixth inning then turned to three more relievers to get the final three innings. Rookie righty reliever Jamie Schultz, making his major league debut, needed only 14 pitches to strike out the side in the seventh. Then in the eighth, reliever Chaz Roe worked out of a second & third none out jam, by striking out two more batters & getting A’s outfielder Chad Pinder to groundout to end the threat. And in the ninth, Sergio Romo allowed the first batters to reach base. Oakland was able to get those runners to score on groundouts but after a scary, long foul ball off the bat of Marcus Simien that had home run distance, Romo got the A’s shortstop to groundout to second to end the game, with the Rays reliever picking up his first save in the American League.
Rays shortstop Daniel Robertson added the team’s fourth solo home run in the 9th inning, which proved to be the difference in the game. Robertson, like Wendle, was once property of the A’s.
Tampa Bay will look for its fifth straight win overall & third straight win in this series when the two teams meet again on Wednesday. The Rays will finally get a chance to give the ball to righty Nathan Eovaldi, who after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery will make his first start since August 10, 2016. The Athletics will counter with lefty Sean Manea (5-5 3.34). Coverage begins on 620 WDAE at 9PM with Steve Carney & The Inside Pitch, with first pitch scheduled for 10:05PM.