ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays starter Jake Odorizzi showed why the Rangers were interested in trading for him last month.Odorizzi won his fifth straight decision since the All-Star break by holding the Rangers to one run in six innings in the Rays' 8-2 victory at Tropicana Field on Saturday night. Odorizzi
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays starter Jake Odorizzi showed why the Rangers were interested in trading for him last month.
Odorizzi won his fifth straight decision since the All-Star break by holding the Rangers to one run in six innings in the Rays' 8-2 victory at Tropicana Field on Saturday night. Odorizzi allowed six hits, walked a batter and struck out four. He is now 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in seven starts since the break. He is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers.
"Guys played with a lot of energy. ...We ran the bases better today," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "It was a tight game for a while, and [Odorizzi] pitched really well to keep it right there. The offense really dialed it up later on when we separated. There were some good things."
Rangers starter A.J. Griffin continues to be hurt by the home run. He gave up one to Luke Maile in the second and another to Evan Longoria in the sixth, and has allowed at least one home run in the last 11 games. That's a Rangers record for longest single-season streak, and he has also allowed 17 home runs in his last 56 2/3 innings.
"I felt really good, physically and everything," Griffin said. "I felt I made some good pitches. The first home run was a decent pitch down at the bottom of the zone. The one Longoria hit, I didn't execute my pitch."
Griffin left the game trailing, 3-1, and the Rays broke it open with four runs in the seventh against reliever Keone Kela. The Rangers had a four-game winning streak snapped.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Clear the bases: With one swing, Brad Miller broke open a close game against the American League-best Rangers. Tampa Bay was leading, 4-1, in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two outs, and the hot-hitting Miller pulled a double down the line to clear the bases. It came after an RBI single from Steven Souza Jr. earlier in the inning.
Rangers' missed opportunity: The Rangers started the third inning with a double by Elvis Andrus and a single by Jurickson Profar, putting runners at the corners with no outs. But Odorizzi, holding a 2-0 lead, kept Texas from scoring. He struck out Ian Desmond, retired Carlos Beltrán on a shallow fly to center and got Adrián Beltré on a grounder to third. Profar's single was the Rangers' only hit with runners in scoring position.
"We had the guys at the plate we wanted, and he made the pitches he needed to make," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "That's why his numbers are what they are. He's a solid pitcher and he made some solid pitches."
Silent treatment: Maile crushed his first Major League home run in the second inning, over the bleachers beyond left field. It went a projected 428 feet, per Statcast™, and gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead. When he got back to the dugout, his teammates refused to acknowledge him for a moment, before celebrating his first blast. More >
"As soon as I get to about second base, I was kind of preparing," Maile said. "I remember what Richie [Shaffer] did last year with his. I don't think I had that in me. I thought it was awesome. It was just so cool to be a part of that. And finally get on the board in the Major Leagues with a home run. It's hard to describe."
Review helps Lucroy: Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy threw out two runners trying to steal, getting Matt Duffy in the fourth and Souza in the fifth. Souza was originally called safe, but the Rangers challenged and got the call overturned on review.
"I was fortunate to have some good pitches to throw on and the pitcher got me the ball quick," Lucroy said. "But it was nice to be able to throw out a couple of guys who got on leading off the inning."
"A little bit of everything, really. I can't pinpoint one thing that was working. I just had to battle, feel the situation out. They did a great job of fighting off some pitches, so I was just going with whatever we felt in the moment." -- Odorizzi, on what was working for him
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Tim Beckham's two triples tied a club record for a single game. It was the 14th time it's happened, but the first time a Rays player has done so at home since April 2008, when Carl Crawford had two.
"I've been trying to do too much lately and I just wanted to see strikes, swing at balls in the zone and put the barrel on the ball," Beckham said. "... When I hit the ball in the gap, if it hits the wall, I expect to be on third, until they stop me."
HOME RUN CHALLENGE
Nomar Mazara hit his 14th home run in the ninth off Rays reliever Kevin Jepsen. It appeared that a fan -- wearing a Rangers shirt -- in deep right-center may have reached over and caught the ball in front of the wall, but after a crew-chief review, it was ruled that the call stands.
PLAY AT THE PLATE
Trailing, 2-1, the Rangers had Beltre at first base and two outs in the sixth when Lucroy slashed a hit into the right-center-field gap. Right fielder Souza tried to make a diving catch and missed, but he did tip the ball in the direction of center fielder Mikie Mahtook. Beltre was running on the pitch and tried to score. He was ruled safe after a strong relay throw from second baseman Beckham, but the Rays challenged and the call was overturned.The replay clearly showed Maile getting the tag on Beltre well before he touched the plate. More >
"I think it was just a good play all around," Odorizzi said. "If Souza doesn't dive and tip it, it doesn't go to Mikie. Everybody did their job on that play and gave 100 percent. ... It was a nice way to end a tough outing like that."
Rangers:Martin Pérez (8-8, 4.09 ERA) pitches for the Rangers against the Rays at 12:10 p.m. CT on Sunday at Tropicana Field. Perez is 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA in his last five starts, but four of them were at home. He is 1-7 with a 6.00 ERA in 12 road starts.
Rays: The Rays have won each of Drew Smyly's (5-11, 4.85 ERA) last four starts. He had a stretch this season where he went 11 straight starts without collecting a win, but the lefty will look to continue his good pitching against the Rangers on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET.
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Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.