ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- After a trio of wins keyed by strong pitching performances, the bats got into the action at Tropicana Field, as Brandon Lowe and Kevin Kiermaier each homered to help the Tampa Bay Rays defeat the Colorado Rockies 7-1.
Lowe's two-run homer in the fourth off Rockies starter Chad Bettis, which followed a Ji-Man Choi leadoff single, was his first hit of the 2019 season, and broke an 0 for 14 slump dating back to the end of the 2018 season
The Rays added on later in the inning, as Yandy Diaz drew a walk, took third on a ground-rule double by Kiermaier and scored on a groundout by Daniel Robertson.
Colorado got on the board in the sixth, as Ryan Yarbrough, who work the bulk of the game after Ryne Stanek opened with a scoreless first, hit Charlie Blackmon with a pitch and allowed a base hit to David Dahl. Manager Kevin Cash went to right-hander Wilmer Font to face Nolan Arenado, and the Rockies third baseman brought around their only run with a double. Font got Trevor Story to pop out, and Jalen Beeks struck out Ryan McMahon to stand two runners in scoring position.
Tampa Bay jumped right back against Bettis, who allowed singles to Lowe and Diaz before Kiermaier took an 0-1 pitch and sent it deep in to the seats in right for his first home run of the year.
Tampa Bay added one final run in the bottom of the seventh, as reliever DJ Johnson walked Tommy Pham to lead off the frame, then gave up a single to Choi. A free pass to Diaz two batters later loaded the bases, and Bud Black decided to go to former Rays reliever Jake McGee to match up against Kiermaier, who lifted a sacrifice fly to center that allowed Pham to score and push the lead to six runs.
Yarbrough earned his first win of 2019 with 4 1/3 inning of three hit baseball. After Beeks finished the sixth, he followed with a scoreless seventh, while Jose Alvarado allowed a hit but struck out a pair to put up a zero in the eighth, and Diego Castillo struck out the side in the ninth to finish the game.
The victory ensures that the Rays will finish their first homestand with a winning mark.
Tampa Bay Rays (4-1) vs. Colorado Rockies (2-3), 7:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.
Rays starter: LHP Bake Snell (0-1, 7.50 ERA)
Rockies starter: LHP Kyle Freeland (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
WENDESDAY: Rays vs Colorado Rockies, 1:10 pm first pitch
FRIDAY: Rays at San Francisco Giants, 4:35 pm first pitch
SATURDAY: Rays at San Francisco Giants, 4:05 pm first pitch
SUNDAY: Rays at San Francisco Giants, 4:05 pm first pitch