More home runs lead Rays past Rangers

by Gary Shelton on June 1, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Kiermaier's ninth inning homer set up the win../JEFFREY S. KING

Kiermaier's ninth inning homer set up the win./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 2 a.m.

Back them up. Play the opposing outfielders on the other side of the fence. Have fans shout “incoming” several times a game.

They are the Tampa Bay Rays, and they hit the ball a long way.

No, they don't always hit it at all. And they don't always win (they're two games over .500). But every now and then, more than any other team in baseball, the Rays hit the ball a long way.

Once again, home runs led the way for the Rays Wednesday night. The Rays – who lead the majors with 83 home runs — hit four more, including three in a 21-pitch, seven batter stretch in the

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Morrison drove in the go-ahead run with a 10th-inning homer./JEFFREY S. KING

Morrison drove in the go-ahead run with a 10th-inning homer./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

ninth and 10th innings to lead to a 7-5 victory over the Texas Rangers. It was the fifth straight series the Rays have won on the road.

One out from a 4-3 defeat, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier sent the game into extra innings with a home run to center. In the 10th, Logan Morrison led off with a home run. Catcher Derek Norris had a two-run homer to cinch it later in the inning.

It was the 15th comeback win for the Rays this season.

Derek Norris finished the Rays' scoring with a two-run homer./JEFFREY S. KING

Norris' two-run homer clinched the win for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

“This team is awesome,” Morrison said. “It's a bunch of grinders. To come after a 15-inning game and to take the series tonight, it's impressive.”

Kiermaier continued his hot hitting streak with his home run off Rangers' closer Matt Bush, who entered the game with a 0.96 ERA. He swung at Bush's first pitch to tie the game. It was only the third time in 17 games the Rays have won when trailing after eight innings.

“ I know he throws 97 or 100 mph,” Kiermaier said. “Thankfully, I put a good swing on a good pitch to hit.

Archer set a record for the month with 58 strikeouts./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Archer set a record for the month with 58 strikeouts./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

“It just shows the resilience of these guys. We're never giving up no matter how many runs down we are. That's something we've struggled doing in years past. This year, that hasn't been the case. We've shown we can come back. Winning teams are good at that.”

Said Morrison: “When he hit it, I knew it was gone. The dugout was flat, kind of down. It picked us right up. It was a big, big hit for him.”

The Rays came into the game with a depleted bullpen, but Chris Archer went seven innings. The Rays needed only Austin Pruitt (just called up) and closer Alex Colome (who got his 15th save). Archer set a new Rays' record with 58 strikeouts in May.

“The way these guys have been responding to adversity and finding ways to win games is impressive,” said Rays' manager Kevin Cash.

Archer was impressed with the Rays' offense, too. Over the team's last 15 games, it has 32 home runs, including 15 in the last six games.

Cash has seen his team move two games above .500/JEFFREY S. KING

Cash has seen his team move two games above .500/JEFFREY S. KING

“It's not a lineup I'd want to face right now,” Archer said of his teammates.

The Rays got off to a 2-1 lead on Steven Souza's two-run homer. However, the Rangers took the lead in the seventh. Tampa Bay had 10 hits, including two each by Longoria and Morrison.

Besides Archer, both Corey Dickerson, Morrison and Colome had good months of May. Dickerson had a team-record for hits. Morrison tied the team's home run record, and Colome tied a team record with his 10th save.

Tampa Bay is off today, then opens a three-game series in Seattle Friday night. The Rays' Jake Odorizzi pitches against Christian Bergman.

Longoria had two hits in the Rays' wn../TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Longoria had two hits in the Rays' win./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

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