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Lowe boosts Rays, odds of sticking around

Second baseman strokes important 2-run single vs. Royals
August 22, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG -- Brandon Lowe earned his Major League shot, and Tampa Bay has been patient with the prospect who blistered Minor League pitching en route to Tropicana Field.Wednesday night, the Rays' patience paid off when Lowe came through on offense, leading a 6-3 Rays win over the Royals. Tampa

ST. PETERSBURG -- Brandon Lowe earned his Major League shot, and Tampa Bay has been patient with the prospect who blistered Minor League pitching en route to Tropicana Field.
Wednesday night, the Rays' patience paid off when Lowe came through on offense, leading a 6-3 Rays win over the Royals. Tampa Bay has won four consecutive games to move to 51-46 on the season and 6-0 against the Royals in 2018.
Lowe hit .297 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs in 100 games between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham this season. The Rays selected him on Aug. 4 and he's struggled since, going 0-for-19 before getting his first Major League hit.
"You get up to the big leagues and you think you have to go out and prove yourself rather than just really taking it in," Lowe said. "You earned your way here, you have the skills to be here, [you should just] relax and let yourself play. And I've been really stressing, trying to really prove that I belong here."
Lowe entered Wednesday night's start hitting .091 and riding an 0-for-9 stretch, but his fortunes changed in the second when he came through with a two-run single to put Tampa Bay up 2-0. He finished 2-for-4 in the win.
"He came up and broke it open there with the two-out single to score two," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "And that's all we're looking for. Give him a little bit of confidence. Since he's been here it hasn't gone the way he's wanted it to, but he's put together a tremendous season between Double-A and Triple-A, and I want to see that continue here."
Lowe told reporters that the confidence the Rays have shown in him has been a "real help to let me settle down and not stress out that I haven't been tearing it up."
"They're giving me a shot to settle in and give me some experience," said Lowe, who is hitting .278 with four RBIs in his past four games.
Tampa Bay scored on a Carlos Gomez squeeze bunt in the sixth, and Mallex Smith added an RBI single to push the lead to 4-1. Smith and Matt Duffy added RBI singles in the eighth to give the Rays a little breathing room heading into the ninth.

Whit Merrifield had a solo home run in the fourth and Hunter Dozier added a two-run homer in the eighth to account for the Royals' runs.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
With the Rays clinging to a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Gomez singled with one out then stole his 10th base of the season. One out later, Smith came through with a single to drive home Gomez.

SOUND SMART
Kevin Kiermaier is heating up. He went 2-for-3 Wednesday night and is now hitting .357 in eight games since Aug. 15, including multiple hits in three of those games.
STANEK TOUGH
Ryne Stanek served as the Rays "opener" Wednesday night and retired each of the six batters he faced, giving him his sixth start this season without allowing a hit, the most for any pitcher within a single season since Baseball Reference data is available (1908).

HE SAID IT
"It looked like he was throwing a bowling ball up there for most of the outing." -- Cash on Yonny Chirinos, who allowed three runs on four hits in five innings to pick up his second win

UP NEXT
Tyler Glasnow will start Thursday night when the Rays wrap up a four-game series against the Royals with a 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. He is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in four starts since joining the Rays. Excluding openers, he is the first pitcher in franchise history to allow three or fewer hits during the first four starts of his Rays career. Danny Duffy (7-11, 4.90 ERA) will start for the Royals.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.