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Rays ride Faria's career gem, late HRs to win

Righty fans 6 over 8 scoreless innings before Tampa Bay goes deep twice in 9th
Special to MLB.com

DETROIT -- The Rays spoiled the start of a brief homestand for Detroit, with Jake Faria giving Tampa Bay a sparkling start that was backed up by resounding home runs in the ninth inning. The Tigers threatened in the ninth with two runs and two bases-loaded situations, but the Rays held on long enough to take the series opener, 3-2.

"I never had a doubt that [the offense was] going to come through," Faria said. "Whether it was in that inning, or if it was in the 13th inning. I don't ever doubt these guys. We've been a really resilient ball club as of late, even in games that we were losing early, they were close ballgames."

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DETROIT -- The Rays spoiled the start of a brief homestand for Detroit, with Jake Faria giving Tampa Bay a sparkling start that was backed up by resounding home runs in the ninth inning. The Tigers threatened in the ninth with two runs and two bases-loaded situations, but the Rays held on long enough to take the series opener, 3-2.

"I never had a doubt that [the offense was] going to come through," Faria said. "Whether it was in that inning, or if it was in the 13th inning. I don't ever doubt these guys. We've been a really resilient ball club as of late, even in games that we were losing early, they were close ballgames."

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Video: TB@DET: Faria gets doused after strong outing

In a battle of the pitchers, Faria and his Tigers counterpart Jordan Zimmermann were lights out, scattering just five hits between them. Neither allowed a run, but Faria outlasted his competitor. Rays manager Kevin Cash noted that Faria seems to have a particular sense of comfort pitching in Comerica Park, and the results showed as he cruised through Detroit's offense.

With Zimmermann pitching sharp as well, the Rays' bats were silent until the ninth, when C.J. Cron and Brad Miller pounced on reliever Shane Greene for a pair of home runs. The offensive support topped a special evening for Faria, who put up the first eight-inning start for the Rays since Alex Cobb on July 21, 2017.

"He was pretty locked in," Cash said. "When Jake establishes the fastball early on, it gets the hitters chasing up, expanding up -- that's his bread and butter -- and then he can drop in his breaking ball or his split. He's got a chance to have special nights, like tonight."

Monday's start was refreshing, particularly because Faria has struggled to make it past the fifth and sixth innings this season. Faria had excellent control of his slider and fastball Monday night, which kept the Tigers off balance. His command of the strike zone faded in the eighth, but not before he secured a clean inning with some help from catcher Jesus Sucre, who altered Faria's pitch selection to focus on fastballs and finish strong.

Video: TB@DET: Cash talks Faria's outing, win over Tigers

"The [fastball and slider] play well off of each other," Faria said. "My slider at times gets a little big, but more recently it's been a little tighter like I'd like. Fastball and changeup play really well off of each other, so when I've got really good fastball command and with the other two, they're really good weapons to go to."

Interestingly, 11 of Faria's outs were groundouts, with only two flyouts mixed in with six strikeouts. It contrasts his typical fly-ball method for getting outs, but Faria was particularly pleased with the results given that ground-ball outs aren't his forte. The result was eight stellar innings of scoreless baseball, an achievement Faria has not had since Double-A during a 2015 playoff run. This time, though, he performed under brighter lights -- and in the best weather the Rays have seen in any series this season.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Faria allowed a one-out, ground-rule double to Jose Iglesias in the third inning, but it could've been worse had there not been fan interference. The Tigers gained the advantage when Victor Reyes grounded out to advance Iglesias to third, which threatened to change the game's fortunes in Detroit's favor. However, Faria managed to work around the looming run with a swinging strikeout of JaCoby Jones to keep the game scoreless.

Video: TB@DET: Iglesias' double interfered with by a fan

SUCRE OK AFTER ROUGH NINTH INNING
Sucre was hit twice with the baseball in the bottom of the ninth inning, just above his right wrist, and said after the game that he was worried at the time that the impacts had broken a bone. He was taken for X-rays after the game, with manager Kevin Cash saying that Sucre was "pretty banged up."

Sucre later reported the X-ray results were negative and there is just a lot of swelling in his arm. He was wearing a cold compress after the game, and is listed day to day.

Video: TB@DET: Sucre shaken up after blocking ball in dirt

HE SAID IT
"I kept asking everybody -- asked the bat boy, asked everybody -- is that freakin' dude in the dugout or not? Lurking around. I'm glad he didn't come out."
-- Rays manager Kevin Cash, about Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera standing near the top of the dugout with a bat in the bottom of the ninth inning

UP NEXT
Chris Archer hopes to get back on track in Detroit, after his last outing produced 11 hits and four runs in just 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander has struggled to contain the damage against him this season, with five of his six total outings resulting in at least four runs allowed. The Tigers will counter with Matthew Boyd (0-2, 2.74). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET at Comerica Park.

Catherine Slonksnis is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit.

Tampa Bay Rays