The Tampa Bay Rays won their sixth straight game & reached .500 for the first time since March 30th, after beating the Los Angeles Angels 5-3 on Saturday night in Anaheim. Shortstop Daniel Robertson hit his first career grand slam & homered for the second straight game, helping the visitors put five runs on the scoreboard for the fifth straight game.
The Rays gave the ball to reliever Sergio Romo to start the game, giving the 11 year veteran his first career start, after 588 appearances as a reliever. The Rays plan was to have Romo face the top of the Angels order, which is usually loaded with right-handed hitters. And with Romo striking out the three batters he faced, Third Baseman Zack Cozart, Centerfielder Mike Trout & Leftfielder Justin Upton, the Rays plan could not have worked any better.
Meanwhile the Rays took advantage of a miscue by the home team in the top of the second to get all the runs they needed in the game. After two were out, the Rays loaded the bases with a walk, a throwing error, followed by another walk. And Robertson, who grew up in nearby Upland, California, drove a pitch over the wall in deep left-centerfield, giving the Rays a 4-0 lead.
After Romo’s impressive first inning, Tampa Bay brought in the next part of the plan, left-hander Ryan Yarbrough. And the rookie threw 92 pitches allowed one run, four hits, struck out four & got the Rays into the eighth inning. The strong relief outing also led to Yarbrough picking up his fourth win of the season.
The Angels did put up two runs in the bottom of the ninth when Trout hit a two run home run off reliever Ryan Stanek, forcing Rays Manager Kevin Cash to use closer Alex Colume, who came in & retired the three batters he faced. And with Colume picking up his 10th save this season, the Rays have a chance on Sunday to complete back to back sweeps on the road.
After the game on Saturday, Cash announced that the team will again go the untraditional route again on Sunday & start Romo when the Rays will look to end the three city road trip with their seventh straight win. The Angels will look to salvage the final game of this four game series when they send Righty Shohei Ohtani (3-1 3.58) to the mound. Ohtani has struck out at least 11 batters in two of his three home starts. Coverage begins on 620 WDAE at 2PM with Steve Carney & The Inside Pitch, followed by This Week In Rays Baseball. And first pitch is scheduled for 4:05.