ST. PETERSBURG -- Steve Pearce's three-run homer paved the way for an 8-5 Rays win over the Dodgers Wednesday night at Tropicana Field. The win earned the Rays a split of the two-game series.With the score tied at two in the sixth, Pearce connected on a 1-0 Alex Wood fastball
ST. PETERSBURG -- Steve Pearce's three-run homer paved the way for an 8-5 Rays win over the Dodgers Wednesday night at Tropicana Field. The win earned the Rays a split of the two-game series.
With the score tied at two in the sixth, Pearce connected on a 1-0 Alex Wood fastball and deposited the baseball into the left-field stands, giving him his third home run of the season and second in as many nights, putting the Rays up 5-2. Tampa Bay connected for four home runs on the night.
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"Good win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Obviously, a needed win. [Tuesday's loss] was frustrating. Tonight, to come out and get on the board first was big. All the home runs helped a lot. It was nice to be able to separate the game."
Meanwhile, the Dodgers didn't sack the bats. Trailing 8-2, they got busy in the eighth against the Rays bullpen. First, Enny Romero allowed two walks and a single before walking in a run. Xavier Cedeno took over for Romero -- still with no outs in the inning, and struck out Yasmani Grandal. Corey Seager walked to bring home another run and Joc Pederson added a sacrifice fly to make it 8-5, before Carl Crawford struck out to end the inning.
"We got ourselves back in position to win, we don't quit," said manager Dave Roberts. "Even with this loss, there are still some good things, the way [Justin Turner] is swinging the bat and Howie [Kendrick]. The offensive tide has turned."
Alex Colome pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his sixth save of the season.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Unique offense: Of the Dodgers' five runs, two scored on bases-loaded walks, one on a wild pitch and one on a sacrifice fly. The only RBI on a hit was credited to Grandal, who singled home Kendrick in the fourth inning for the Dodgers' first run of the game.
Right-handed attack: With Wood starting for the Dodgers, Rays manager Kevin Cash wheeled out the right-handed hitting lineup and was rewarded accordingly. Brandon Guyer, who started in center field instead of left-handed hitting Kevin Kiermaier, homered in the first. Steven Souza Jr. added a solo homer in the fourth, before Pearce connected for a three-run homer in the sixth that put the Rays up 5-2. Curt Casali added a solo shot in the seventh.
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Puig on the basepaths: After singling leading off the sixth inning, Yasiel Puig made a perfect read of Adrian Gonzalez's sinking liner that Guyer was unable to catch with a diving attempt. Puig advanced to third base on the single, putting him in position to score on an 0-2 wild pitch from reliever Erasmo Ramirez to tie the game at two.
Buzzard's luck: Smyly once again had everything working Wednesday night, as five of his first six outs were strikeouts. But once again, he got bit by some hard luck. Protecting a 2-1 lead in the sixth, Smyly allowed the first two hitters to reach. Cash brought on Ramirez to take over for the left-hander with runners at the corners. The normally reliable right-hander uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score, giving Smyly another no-decision. He's allowed seven earned runs in his last five starts, but is just 1-2 in those games.
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"[Guyer] and Pearcy both, they're really igniting us right now. They're making some decisions difficult, how we'll have to factor in just continuing to get them into the lineup. Because they're picking up the offense quite a bit." -- Cash, on Guyer and Pearce
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Desmond Jennings' eighth-inning single snapped an 0-for-26 slump for the Rays outfielder.
Dodgers:Kenta Maeda makes his first-ever start in Canada, as he takes on the Blue Jays on Friday at 4:07 p.m. PT. Because of off-days and rotation shuffling, Maeda will be pitching on seven days rest, which he did often in Japan. Kendrick is expected to be the team's designated hitter.
Rays: The Rays head west to Anaheim to begin a three-game set against the Angels, beginning on Friday at 10:05 p.m. ET. Chris Archer gets the start, hoping to build on recent success that saw him record quality starts in his last two outings. He is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in three career starts at Angel Stadium.
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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.