For the Tampa Bay Rays to have any chance of making the playoffs they have to keep winning. They have been the hottest team in the 2nd half of the season, but the team they are chasing, the Oakland Athletics, have been just as hot. The Rays hadn’t allowed a run in the 1st 2 games of a 3-game set with the Texas Rangers. That streak was broken on Wednesday, but the Rays winning streak was not. The Rays bats got toasty in the Texas heat and Tommy Pham’s 2 homer day led the way in a 9-3 victory over the Rangers. The win completed the sweep of Texas and ended the season series 5-1.
Diego Castillo got the call to open the game for Tampa Bay once again and didn’t allow much in just shy of 2 innings of work. He got some run support in the top of the 2nd inning thanks to Jake Bauers. The rookie 1st baseman got a 2-run double and then scored himself thanks to an infield single from Willy Adames. Ryan Yarbrough entered the game with 2 outs in the second and was given even more run support by the 1st batter of the 3rd.
That’s when Pham’s 1st homer of the day came off Mendez. Yarbrough couldn’t muster a shutdown inning in the bottom half of the 3rd, but the bats once again woke up in the 4th. Tampa Bay scored 4 times in the inning. Matt Duffy’s 2-RBI double chased Mendez and then CJ Cron got his 1st triple of the season off of the new pitcher to drive Duffy in.
The brightest spot for Texas in the entire series came in the bottom of the 4th when Adrien Beltre smashed his 475th career home run. The Rangers added one more run to get within 5, but then Pham sent one out to left center for his 2nd jack of the day and 19th of the season to bring the lead back to 6. Jake Faria was the final pitcher of the day for Tampa Bay and while he didn’t have his best stuff, it was certainly better than his extremely rough outing on Sunday.
With the victory the Rays drew within 5 games of the Oakland Athletics for the final wildcard in the American League ahead of their game on Wednesday night against the Angels. The Rays now will head to Toronto to start a 4-game set with the Blue Jays. The Rays have not announced the starter for the opening game of the series, but will likely go with another opener. 1st pitch is scheduled for 7:07 north of the border and coverage begins with Steve Carney and the inside pitch right here on WDAE.