Ramirez delighted with dominant outing
Right-hander fans seven over seven shutout innings vs. Orioles
BALTIMORE -- Erasmo Ramirez was quite frank with reporters following the Rays' 3-0 victory on Saturday.
"I am really happy right now. I cannot stop smiling," he said with a big grin on his face.
Rightfully so, as the right-hander picked up the win that snapped the Rays' six-game losing streak. Ramirez (3-2, 5.53 ERA) posted the longest scoreless start of his career and registered a season-high seven strikeouts while giving up just three hits and walking one batter.
After allowing 15 earned runs in his first two appearances of the season (one start), Ramirez has only given up 11 earned runs in 37 innings pitched in his next 11 (five starts).
"You could argue after what he's done after his first two starts, he's been as good as anybody we've had starting," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He has just done a really solid job of making adjustments. The biggest adjustment for him was to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters. When he does that, his stuff is very good."
Ramirez said the biggest adjustment for him on Saturday was his release point and letting the ball go closer to the plate. He credited Rays catcher Rene Rivera for keeping him in check over the seven innings.
The righty was also aided by three early runs by Tampa Bay's offense that gave Ramirez a 3-0 lead after three innings.
"That gives you a big feeling that your team is fighting," Ramirez said. "When they start hitting, we just have to put the ball in play because we have a really good defense behind us. That showed me that the team was with me, so I had to show them that I was with them."
Ramirez's start now gives the Rays 25 1/3 consecutive innings where their starters have not allowed a single run. The mood was a little sweeter in the postgame handshake following Saturday's win, and Tampa Bay would like to keep that feeling going.
"Especially with the losses we've had, we haven't really got blown out. They've all been close games," said Steven Souza Jr., who had a solo home run in the second inning. "Winning this close game right here was not only huge for the offense, but the bullpen and the pitching staff to get a little morale going."