Tampa Bay Rays slug way by Cleveland Indians

Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange
Alex Colome and the Tampa Bay Rays shut down the Cleveland Indians on Thursday. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI
Alex Colome and the Tampa Bay Rays shut down the Cleveland Indians on Thursday. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rays outfielder Corey Dickerson broke out of an 0-for-21 slump with a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, propelling Tampa Bay to a 4-1 win over the Cleveland Indians to open a four-game series at Tropicana Field.

The Rays (59-57) had mustered four runs in their previous five games, including three shutout losses, and were mired in a 1-1 tie with two runners on base. With one swing, Dickerson got himself and his team out of respective slumps with his 22nd home run of the season.


Alex Colome pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 34th save.

Cleveland (60-52) has had its own struggles at the plate, losing four of the last five and scoring a combined five runs in those four losses.

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Nick Goody (1-2) took the loss after serving up Dickerson's homer, while Tampa Bay's Tommy Hunter (2-2) got a well-deserved win after recording five outs in a tie game.

The Rays ended a team-wide 0-for-31 slump with runners in scoring position when Logan Morrison got an RBI single to level the score in the fifth inning.


The Rays had a runner at third with one out in the eighth after Adeiny Hechavarria singled, stole second and took third on an errant throw by catcher Yan Gomes. Twice, the Rays tried a squeeze bunt with Mallex Smith. He popped the bunt up the first time, avoiding a double play only when the ball just fell out of a diving Giovanny Urshela's glove. The second time, a pop was again dropped, but Smith was out for a foul-ball bunt with two strikes.

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Jesus Sucre was hit by a pitch, setting up Dickerson's huge home run.

The Indians had a chance to go ahead in the seventh when Dickerson misplayed a would-be single by Austin Jackson into a triple, putting the go-ahead run at third with one out. Hunter came in for Snell, got newly acquired pinch hitter Jay Bruce to pop out on the first pitch of his first Indians at-bat, then struck out Yan Gomes to end the inning and preserve the tie.

Hunter came back for a 1-2-3 eighth, with two more strikeouts.

Both starting pitchers had to settle for dominant no-decisions. Cleveland's Danny Salazar struck out eight batters while holding the Rays to one run in 5 1/3 innings, while Tampa Bay's Blake Snell lasted 6 1/3, holding the Indians to four hits and one run.


Snell held Cleveland to three hits in the first five innings -- two of them among the first three batters as Francisco Lindor led off with a double and scored on Jose Ramirez's single for a 1-0 lead.

In the fifth, Tampa Bay's Lucas Duda walked and Evan Longoria singled to put two on for Logan Morrison, who hit an RBI single to tie the game. The Rays still had two on and no outs, but Salazar struck out Steven Souza and got Brad Miller to hit into an inning-ending double play.

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis left the game in the sixth inning due to right hamstring tightness. He was replaced by third baseman Giovanny Urshela, with Jose Ramirez moving to second.

NOTES: Indians OF Jay Bruce, acquired from the Mets on Wednesday, made his debut as a seventh-inning pinch hitter, popping out on the first pitch he faced. He arrived too late to get in the starting lineup. ... The Rays allowed eight runs in their Wednesday loss to the Red Sox on just three RBIs -- two runs scored on errors, two on wild pitches and one on a passed ball. It was the first time in Rays history an opponent's runs exceeded its RBIs by five or more runs, and the first time that happened in any American League game since an Athletics-Twins game in September 2013. ... Rays DH Lucas Duda was back in the lineup he was a late scratch Wednesday, having taken a ground ball off his thumb before the game. He went 0-for-3 with two walks and three strikeouts Thursday.


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