Big First Inning, Bullpen Help Tampa Bay Even Series; Rays 4, Indians 2
A three-run first inning proved to be enough for the Tampa Bay Rays as they downed the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Tuesday evening at Tropicana Field to even the four game series at one game apiece.
With the loss, the Indians fall to 46-44 and four games behind the Central League leading Chicago White Sox, who topped the Red Sox 7-5 in Boston. The Indians remain in third place and just one half game behind Detroit, who got beat up 13-0 at home by the red-hot Los Angeles Angels. The Angels win pushes the Indians two games back in the American League Wild Card race.
Tampa didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard. After a leadoff single by B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena hit a two-run homer, his 14th of the year. Luke Scott capped off the inning with an RBI triple to give the Rays an early 3-0 advantage. Josh Tomin, making his first start since June 30th, threw 26 pitches in the first inning.
The Indians showed signs of life by loading the bases to start the fourth by way of an Asdrubal Cabrera single and back-to-back walks to Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley. Jose Lopez brought Cabrera around to score with a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 3-1. That’s the only run the Indians would get though, as Matt Moore was able to work his way out of the jam.
Cleveland loaded the bases again in the fifth, and just like the fourth, they’d settle for one run. Lou Marson reached base on a one-out walk. Shin-Soo Choo followed with a single to move Marson to second. Cabrera flied out, then Jason Kipnis stepped to the plate with two outs and poked a single up the middle to score Marson and make it a one run ballgame, 3-2.
Rays skipper Joe Madden made the call to the bullpen in the sixth, something he’d do four times over the course of the evening, after his starter Moore gave up a leadoff walk to Carlos Santana on his 90th pitch of the game. Wade Davis relieved Moore, who was charged with two runs on three hits while striking out three and walking five over five innings of work.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Rays extended their lead to 4-2 on the virtue of an RBI single from soft-hitting catcher Jose Lobaton, which scored Desmond Jennings, who singled to leadoff the inning and stole second on a bang-bang play at the bag that brought Manny Acta out of the dugout.
Libaton’s RBI single ended Tomlin’s night. Tomlin, who fell to 5-6 on the season, was charged with four runs on seven hits while striking out one and walking one over five and two-thirds innings, before giving way to Tony Sipp.
Sipp and Jeremy Accardo pitched the final two plus innings for Cleveland without giving up a run.
Indians fans got a scare in the ninth when Carlos Santana was hit by a 98 mph fastball from Rodney. Santana stayed in the game and appeared to be OK after receiving attention from Acta and the training staff.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Mike Carlson