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Ramos, Snell lead Rays to 5th consecutive win

May 18, 2018

ANAHEIM -- Wilson Ramos slugged two home runs and Blake Snell pitched into the seventh inning as the Rays beat the Angels, 8-3, for their fifth straight win on Friday night.Ramos entered the game with four homers on the year, before he hit two in the game's first five innings."It

ANAHEIM -- Wilson Ramos slugged two home runs and Blake Snell pitched into the seventh inning as the Rays beat the Angels, 8-3, for their fifth straight win on Friday night.
Ramos entered the game with four homers on the year, before he hit two in the game's first five innings.
"It was a good day,'' Ramos said.
Despite putting together an 18-game hitting streak earlier in the season, Ramos had been struggling of late, entering the game 2-for-17 in his last four games. But he's spent time in the cages with the Rays' hitting coaches and Friday was the payoff.
"I never put my head down, that is one thing I can say. That I always kept fighting,'' Ramos said. "Today, I was a little more relaxed at the plate, and I was ready to hit.''

Snell (5-3) was shelled in his last start, only to rebound with a solid outing in winning for the first time since April 27. He surrendered two runs, four hits and three walks, to go along with eight strikeouts. His 114 pitches tied a season-high.
"I was in the zone and attacking,'' Snell said. "They have a tough a lineup, everyone is a tough out, so it was good to get a lot of first-pitch strikes.''
And a lot of offense, Snell added.
"We're scoring, and it's always more comfortable to pitch with a lead,'' he said. "Everyone is going good right now.''
Manager Kevin Cash felt Snell was going to be good from the get-go.
"His first pitch was 98 [mph] and I thought the gun might have been broken,'' he said. "Then he went 96, 97, 97.
"He made some big pitches when he had to, and when you're a left-hander and he can navigate through a lineup like that, he just had a pretty special night.''
There's something unique as well about the combination of Snell and Ramos. They were in sync and proved it by keeping the Angels off-kilter.
"I think it's funny because I am gripping the next pitch and he is already calling it. When you are in that kind of a rhythm with him, it is almost funny because we just know what we are going to do. I don't think I have shook him [off] in the last four or five starts.''
It was Snell's previous start that was a rough go. He allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings. What was the difference against the Angels?
"I felt like my last start, I wasn't using my legs,'' he said. "I was all arm and I was babying stuff. Today, I used my legs, and that's the only way I can succeed.''
The Rays easily deciphered Nick Tropeano (1-3) as they sent the Angels to their fourth consecutive loss. Tropeano was charged with four runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out four.
With the win, Tampa Bay moved into a third-place tie in the American League East with the Blue Jays (with the Blue Jays having played two more games).
"That's two nights in a row we have had a team win like this,'' Cash said.
Johnny Field's seventh-inning squeeze bunt, which catcher Martin Maldonado drew an error on, put the Rays up 7-2.

The Angels pulled to within 6-2 in the fifth, but Snell was able to tiptoe away from trouble by silencing the heart of Los Angeles' lineup.
Ramos produced the sixth multiple homer game of his career when his 100th career shot in the fifth gave the Rays a 5-0 cushion. Christian Arroyo added an RBI single for a 6-0 edge.

"Not too many catchers can do that, so that makes me feel so good,'' Ramos said of reaching the century mark. "Every player wants to do that and it makes me feel proud of my career.''
The Rays got to Tropeano in the third, pushing their advantage to 4-0, thanks to four straight hits -- one being Ramos' two-run blast -- and a walk. Tropeano was relieved by Noe Ramirez, and he fanned Field to leave the bases loaded.
Ramos' first homer in the third inning was nearly brought back by Michael Trout's leaping attempt at the center-field fence. The ball kissed off the webbing of Trout's glove above the wall only to carry over for Ramos' fifth homer on the year.
Daniel Robertson's home run put the Rays ahead 1-0 in the second. After reaching base a career-high five times the previous night, his streak stopped at eight straight plate appearances, one shy of the franchise record. Tropeano tried to sneak an 81 mph slider past Robertson and he clobbered it over the left-field fence for his fourth big fly of the season.

Snell slithers out of trouble: Snell was in trouble in the fifth, with two runs in and a pair of Angels sluggers coming up. Andrelton Simmons' two-run single pulled the Angels to within 6-2. Trout, a two-time MVP, and Jose Pujols, a recent entrant into the 3,000-hit club, awaited. But Snell got Trout on a well-struck fly ball to right and Pujols went down swinging on a 95-mph fastball at the top of the zone.
Some day, Rays reliever Chaz Roe will probably reminisce about pitching to Trout. But Roe might not bring up their matchup on Friday, when Trout deposited his 13th homer of the year to left field in the eighth to snap a career-long 0-for-21 skid.

It looked like the Angels were set to tie the game in the second when Chris Young sent a two-out, sinking liner to short right field. But Field sized the ball up and made a sprawling diving catch on the run. Field's snag not only retired Young, but it stranded Shohei Ohtani at third and kept the Rays ahead, where they remained for the rest of the game.

"He has a good swing. He hit a couple out -- I can't do that, so that was cool." -- Snell, on his friend, Odell Beckham Jr., the New York Giants wide receiver, wearing his jersey and going yard in batting practice

Sergio Romo makes his first start on Saturday after 11 years and 588 games as a right-handed reliever with Cash experimenting against the Angels' right-handed heavy lineup. Lefty Ryan Yarbrough will take the ball from Romo, and if the plan works, he'll avoid facing the Angels' sluggers three times. Southpaw Andrew Heaney goes for the Angels, with first pitch at 9:07 pm ET.

Jay Paris is a contributor to