Rays clobber O’s to move to four games over .500

by Gary Shelton on June 24, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Morrison had a homer and a triple in the Rays' big win./JEFFREY S. KING

Morrison had a homer and a triple in the Rays' big win./JEFFREY S. KING

Saturday, 4 a.m.

From up here, you can see possibilities.

From up here, you can see potential.

From up here, you can see the playoffs.

Yep, the Tampa Bay Rays, for the first time this season, moved to four games over .500 with a 15-5 drubbing of the last-place Baltimore Orioles Friday night. It was the 20th straight game in which the Orioles have given up at least five runs.

It also tied for the most runs the Rays have scored under Kevin Cash.

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Rays check out Derek Norris after he was hit by a pitch./JEFFREY S. KING

Rays check out Derek Norris after he was hit by a pitch./JEFFREY S. KING

“We feel good about where we are," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "We have a big couple of series coming up. We’ll finish this Saturday and Sunday. Getting into the break -- we don’t want to look too far ahead -- but the guys have come together really well and found ways to win series’. Some series’ we’ve won by slugging, some series we’ve won by getting really good starting pitching. Today obviously the hitting played a huge role. We’ve said for a while, we feel we are a good team.”

Archer won back to back starts for the first time in two years./JEFFREY S. KING

Archer won back to back starts for the first time in two years./JEFFREY S. KING

Tampa Bay has hit multiple home runs in five straight games, one shy of their longest streak of the season and two shy of the club record (2009).

The Rays established themselves early, scoring four runs in the first and third innings and five in the fifth. Evan Longoria and Shane Peterson each drove in four runs, and Logan Morrison drove in three to lead the Rays' attack.

"When you come up for someone who gets hurt, you know that your time is limited or could be limited," Peterson said. "If you go out there and try to do too much, the next thing you know you look up and you aren’t there anymore and you wish you would have done something differently. For me, just do what I can do. Do the best that I can do and whatever happens, happens.”

Derek Norris had three hits, while Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison each had two.

Morrison hit a home run (his 22nd) and a triple to lead Tampa Bay.

Longoria drove in four runs for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Longoria drove in four runs for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

"We’re going to go as far as we let ourselves go," Morrison said. "The thing is when you do score a lot of runs early, you don’t necessarily face the closers and the setup guys. You face the...I don’t want to call them mop-ups, but whatever you want to call them.

"Guys are throwing 98, but it doesn’t matter. They’re not the guys for a reason. I don’t know if they missed locations or whatever, but it’s easier to add on runs when you’re winning. We have a bunch of grinders who get through a lot: extra inning games and a tough schedule. We’ve come out pretty well. I think it just goes to show what we’ve done so far. We are going to grind it out and we’re going to be tough outs.”

Chris Archer wasn't as sharp as he has been, giving up eight hits and five earned

Pruitt pitched three shutout innings to help Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Pruitt pitched three shutout innings to help Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

runs. Still, he improved to 6-4 on the season. Austin Pruitt threw shutout ball for the final three innings. Archer has now won two straight starts for the first time  since June of 2015.

Peterson and Norris also homered in the game.

The Rays have now hit 118 homers on the year, second only to the Houston Astros.

The Rays (40-36) are currently in position for the second AL Wild Card berth, trailing the Yankees and Red Sox (who are in a virtual tie for first place in the AL East, as well as the first Wild Card position) by 2.5 games each. The last time they were in position for a post-season berth this late in the year (by date or games played) was end of play June 30, 2015 (42-37), when they were in a virtual tie with Minnesota as the Wild Card co-leaders.

The Rays play the O's again today when Jake Faria goes for a 4-0 start for Tampa Bay against Baltimore's Dylan Bundy.

Dickerson had two more hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Dickerson had two more hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

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