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Tampa Bay Rays defeat Detroit Tigers, snap three-game losing streak

By
Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange
Tampa Bay Rays' Alex Colome (37) pitched a perfect ninth inning to help the Rays end its three-game losing streak. File photo by Mark Goldman/UPI
Tampa Bay Rays' Alex Colome (37) pitched a perfect ninth inning to help the Rays end its three-game losing streak. File photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Rays' Tim Beckham had only one RBI all season entering Tuesday night's game against Detroit, but he hit a go-ahead two-run homer, and singled and scored later to help Tampa Bay to a 5-1 victory over the Tigers at Tropicana Field.

The Rays (7-8) ended a three-game losing streak as well as a six-game slide against Detroit (8-5), getting a strong six-plus innings from starter Matt Andriese (1-0), who held the Tigers to one run on four hits.

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"I'm getting the opportunity to play, and it feels good to be out there every day," said Beckham, handling shortstop until Matt Duffy recovers from an Achilles injury. "It even feels good to struggle, to play a ballgame every day."

Beckham tripled his season RBI total with one swing, and scored in the seventh on the long-awaited first RBI of the season from Kevin Kiermaier, who came through with a run-scoring double in his 57th at-bat of the season.

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The Rays, leading 2-1 in the sixth, got a two-out RBI single from Derek Norris to extend the lead on Detroit starter Michael Fulmer (1-1).

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"We did hit some balls on the barrel that didn't find a place to land," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "(Andriese) has always pitched pretty well against us. He did a nice job, limited us to one run."

Tampa Bay added two runs off reliever Kyle Ryan in the seventh, with the RBI double by Kiermaier followed by Brad Miller's run-scoring single.

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Tampa Bay's bullpen, which struggled with a 6.85 ERA during the Rays' 1-6 road trip, stepped up in a big way Tuesday.

Andriese left with two runners on and no outs in the seventh, but Danny Farquhar got two outs and Tommy Hunter closed out the seventh with one pitch, with Jumbo Diaz working a 1-2-3 eighth.

Closer Alex Colome pitched a perfect ninth to keep his season ERA at 0.00.

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Beckham, who came into the game hitting .200 with one RBI in 40 at-bats, hit his second home run of the season in the third inning. Designated hitter Shane Peterson, making his home debut with the Rays, reached base on a single and scored on Beckham's blast to left field.

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"I'm not really thinking about the opportunity I get to play -- I don't want to put any pressure on myself," Beckham said. "I go out, take it game by game and at-bat by at-bat and try to help my team win the ballgame."

The Rays managed four hits in the first five innings against Fulmer, who had a 0.64 ERA in two dominating starts against the Rays last season.

Andriese gave up a first-inning solo home run to Miguel Cabrera but was otherwise untouched, holding Detroit to four hits. The home run, a 451-foot blast to center field, was Cabrera's third of the season.

Tigers outfielder Justin Upton left the game on a controversial play in the seventh inning as his outstretched hand hit Rays shortstop Tim Beckham as he tried to throw to first to complete a double play. The Rays challenge the call, arguing for a violation of the slide rule, but the call was upheld and the runner safe at first.

Upton left the game after the collision, but Ausmus said x-rays were negative and the injury was only a bruise to his right wrist, unlikely to be anything severe. Fulmer took a line drive off the calf but continued to play and Ausmus said it was unlikely to keep him from making his next scheduled start.

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"I felt like the calf wasn't going to get any better, and he had done his job," Ausmus said of pulling Fulmer after six innings.

NOTES: Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera's home run tied him with Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero for 38th on baseball's all-time career list. He needs three more to catch Carl Yastrzemski at 452 for 37th, and 10 more to catch Jose Canseco and Adam Dunn for 35th. ... The Rays are 6-4 when facing right-handed starters this season and 1-4 against lefties. ... Tampa Bay lost two one-run games in its series at Boston, dropping them to 3-18 in one-run games on the road since the start of the 2016 season.

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