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Two-out hit show becoming a pattern for Rays

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- A's starter Jesse Hahn had kept the Rays at bay for much of his afternoon, and with two outs and no one on in the fifth, he seemed poised to get through five clean innings.

Something clicked for Tampa Bay in Sunday's 5-4 win, though, and suddenly the Rays had tied the game with three runs on five consecutive two-out hits.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- A's starter Jesse Hahn had kept the Rays at bay for much of his afternoon, and with two outs and no one on in the fifth, he seemed poised to get through five clean innings.

Something clicked for Tampa Bay in Sunday's 5-4 win, though, and suddenly the Rays had tied the game with three runs on five consecutive two-out hits.

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Hahn might have even been lucky to leave the game tied at 3 after former Rays outfielder Matt Joyce anticipated where Logan Morrison's double into the right-field corner would bounce.

"We're [at] four runs if the ball doesn't ricochet right back to Joyce," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's got some history at this field, so he played it really well to prevent [Evan Longoria] from scoring."

After Hahn fanned his fourth and fifth batters of the day, Daniel Robertson started the Rays' rally with a line-drive double. Mallex Smith brought him home with a double past center fielder Rajai Davis.

Video: OAK@TB: Smith doubles to center to plate Robertson

Corey Dickerson kept the extra-base streak going with a slow two-strike swing, poking another double the opposite way.

"Honestly, I thought they just had a good approach at the plate," Hahn said, of the Rays' fifth-inning display. "I thought I threw some pretty good pitches, especially to Dickerson there. I threw a sinker that had been working for me all night to him, and I threw a ball four or five inches off the plate, and he was able to throw his bat out there and put it down the line."

The Rays had just two hits off Hahn through four innings, but Dickerson knew Tampa Bay's offense was bound to show eventually.

"I felt like I was seeing it well early on, and I felt like the guys were putting decent swings on it; we just weren't putting together back-to-back hits," Dickerson said. "That inning, I feel like whenever the back of the order got a hit, we just got something going. It got some energy in the dugout, and we just kept going with the consistent at-bats."

Longoria followed Dickerson by lofting an RBI single into center field, tying the contest. Dickerson would later provide the winning RBI with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.

Video: OAK@TB: Longoria ties it up with a single to center

Two-out hitting has been a strength of the Rays in 2017. Tampa Bay was third in the American League and seventh in the Majors with a .256 batting average with two outs, entering Sunday. A 6-for-13 day Sunday only improves that number.

The Rays are also atop the Majors in home runs hit with two outs (35), and third in both two-out runs (136) and RBIs (129).

Cash was impressed with how the Rays came back to tie the game twice after trailing, with the two-out hit parade earning much of the credit.

"It is a good feeling, because these guys in the dugout, if we keep it within striking distance, we know that we're capable of putting together a big inning," he said.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

Tampa Bay Rays