ST. PETERSBURG -- Jalen Beeks' profound turnaround led the Rays to a 4-2 win and a three-game sweep of the Angels on Thursday afternoon."Good for Jalen Beeks," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "First win. That's probably the story."Since June 11, the Rays are 20-4 at Tropicana Field, good for an
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jalen Beeks' profound turnaround led the Rays to a 4-2 win and a three-game sweep of the Angels on Thursday afternoon.
"Good for Jalen Beeks," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "First win. That's probably the story."
Since June 11, the Rays are 20-4 at Tropicana Field, good for an .833 winning percentage that is the best home winning percentage in the Major Leagues over that period.
Tampa Bay acquired Beeks from the Red Sox on July 25 for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. The left-hander made his Rays debut on Saturday in Baltimore and allowed eight runs on 10 hits and three walks while striking out one in 3 1/3 innings.
Thursday afternoon, Beeks started the third inning and did not allow a run or a hit through his first four innings. The Angels scored twice against him in the seventh, but he left with a much-improved line, having allowed two runs on two hits and one walk while striking out four to earn his first Major League win.
Beeks told reporters that the biggest difference between outings was throwing first-pitch strikes.
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"I don't know exactly what it was, but [pitching coach Kyle Snyder] said 13 or 18, or something like that," Beeks said, "but just attacking guys a lot better."
Cash was clearly pleased with Beeks' effort.
"It's amazing what throwing the ball over the plate and throwing strikes can do," Cash said. "Kyle is a magic man. Him and Stan [Boroski, bullpen coach] have Jalen buying in a little bit. It was nice to see. To get some confidence. He pitched really well."
Beeks became the 21st pitcher to record a win this season for the Rays. He said he thought that Thursday's outing represented more of what he could do on the mound than his debut for Tampa Bay.
"I'm going to try to keep this rolling and continue to adjust and try to get better," Beeks said.
C.J. Cron's two-run single fueled a four-run fourth inning that put the Rays up, 4-0.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Romo shuts door: With the Rays up 4-2 heading into the ninth, Sergio Romo was tasked with getting the final three outs. After falling behind, 3-0, to the leadoff batter, Kole Calhoun, Romo recovered to strike him out swinging. He then struck out Justin Upton for the second out before retiring Jose Pujols on a popout to third to end the game.
Hunter Wood served as the "opener" on Thursday, and the right-hander gave the Rays two scoreless innings in which he struck out five. In his last two outings, Wood has struck out nine in 3 2/3 innings.
"Fastball up has been [going] really well, and if they're not swinging at it, curveball has been working really well right now," Wood said.
HE SAID IT
"Got my first win out of the way. The beer shower is gone. Excited to get back out there and throw." -- Beeks, on getting his first Major League win
Ryne Stanek gets the nod on Friday night against the White Sox in a 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Since the beginning of June, Stanek is 0-2 with a 1.67 ERA in 26 appearances. His average fastball velocity this season is 98 mph according to Statcast™, and his max velocity is 100.5 mph. The right-hander has gone 0-2 with a 2.28 ERA in 16 starts. Right-hander Lucas Giolito will start for the White Sox.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.