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Rays ride 'opener' Stanek, Ramos past Tigers

Righty makes ninth straight scoreless start in 2-IP effort, while All-Star catcher slugs 14th homer
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay posted a five-run inning for the second consecutive night. However, this time the pitching backed it up, leading the Rays to a 5-2 win over the Tigers at Tropicana Field on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay won for the fourth consecutive time to move to 47-44 on the season, its high-water mark at three games over .500.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay posted a five-run inning for the second consecutive night. However, this time the pitching backed it up, leading the Rays to a 5-2 win over the Tigers at Tropicana Field on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay won for the fourth consecutive time to move to 47-44 on the season, its high-water mark at three games over .500.

View Full Game Coverage

Rays manager Kevin Cash said he told his relief corps before the game that it would be all hands on deck, and for everyone to be prepared to go in at any time. And the pitching staff responded. Ryne Stanek opened with two scoreless innings. Jose Alvarado, Jaime Schultz, Adam Kolarek and Sergio Romo then covered the final seven innings.

Video: DET@TB: Romo notches his 10th save, fans Rodriguez

"Good win," Cash said. "You know what, our pitching picked us up big time. Some guys that haven't maybe had the most opportunities, some young guys came in, we talked about it. We had the hiccup last night, but we hit the reset button in tonight's game.

"Really an outstanding performance from top to bottom with our pitching. Adam Kolarek picked us up in a big way. Schultzy, from the outing yesterday [when he allowed three runs without recording an out], to come back and bounce back like that was really good to see."

And then there was Stanek, who has embraced the role of "opener."

"I'll continue to say it, and I like saying it," Cash said. "He's taken to that role. I think he enjoys going out there knowing he's got the ball for an inning or two and he's making the most of it when he attacks and pounds the strike zone, then opens up.

"The sliders he threw today were really good ones. The two sliders he threw back to back to [John] Hicks are about as good as you can throw a baseball."

Video: DET@TB: Cash on pitching, offense in win over Tigers

Stanek's last nine starts have been scoreless, extending the longest such streak since play-by-play data is available. He has totaled 13 2/3 innings pitched over that span.

"It feels good that they might be a little more confident with me on the mound," Stanek said. "It feels good that people have confidence in you to do your job. And you go out there and just try to execute the best you can."

Wilson Ramos again played a key role in the scoring festivities, going deep for the second consecutive night. After the Rays took a 2-0 lead in the third against Detroit starter Matthew Boyd, the Tampa Bay catcher stepped to the plate with two aboard. "The Buffalo" connected with the first pitch he saw, driving the ball over the right-field wall for his 14th home run of the season.

"I'm thinking about hitting the ball to the middle," Ramos said. "I've connected really well yesterday and today."

Video: DET@TB: Ramos mashes a three-run shot to right

Ramos, who won the American League catcher fan vote to start the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, has five home runs and 15 RBIs in his last 12 games.

"He's wanting those numbers to look good for [the All-Star Game] when he gets there," Cash said. "He's doing it, man. Big hits. The home run yesterday, oppo after we'd already given back three. Then today, the separator. The power's impressive, but we're starting to see a really good hitter who's using the whole field and showing power to all parts of the ballpark."

The homer pulled Ramos into a tie for the Rays' franchise record for homers by a catcher in one season. John Flaherty hit 14 in 1999.

OPENER QUIRK
Stanek's start Tuesday was his 10th without allowing a run. According to Stats, Inc., those 10 starts without a run are the most ever before the All-Star break. He entered Tuesday night's action tied with Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals (2014) and Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers (1963).

DOME SWEET DOME
Since June 11, the Rays are 13-1 at home. They have outscored opponents 64-30 over that stretch and allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of their last 14 games at Tropicana Field.

HE SAID IT
"He might be." -- Cash, when asked if Stanek was the best "opener" in the game

UP NEXT
The Rays will again wield the bullpen-day strategy, with Hunter Wood starting Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers in a 12:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Wood has been impressive since being recalled on June 30, particularly on Monday night, when he inherited a two-on, one-out situation and stranded both runners on the way to 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will start for Detroit.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Wilson Ramos, Ryne Stanek