CLEVELAND -- Home runs are a big part of the Rays' offense. Still, 10 in three games against the Indians?
On Monday night, Tampa Bay hit two home runs and lost. On Tuesday night, the club hit five and won. And in Wednesday afternoon's 7-4 win, it topped off the trip to "The Land" with three more to establish a team record for a three-game series.
"Home runs are fun," said Colby Rasmus, who went deep in Tuesday night's win. "Chicks dig the long ball. We're just trying to put good swings on it."
The Rays left Cleveland with two wins in three games, thanks largely to an offensive effort fueled by the long ball.
Nine home runs had been the team record, which Tampa Bay accomplished twice: on June 10-12, 2013, vs. Boston and April 16-18, 2013, at Baltimore.
Corey Dickerson started Wednesday's homer parade in the second inning with a 376-foot barreled ball that had a 106.9 exit velocity with a 39 degree launch angle, according to Statcast™. Logan Morrison added a 423-foot barreled ball in the third that had a 102.2 mph exit velocity with a 27 degree launch angle. Jesus Sucre's ninth-inning homer to left, also a barreled ball, established the new mark. Sucre's homer traveled 426 feet and had an exit velocity of 103 mph with a 31 degree launch angle. Most importantly, Sucre's blast pushed the Rays' lead to 7-3.
Tampa Bay has 59 home runs in 43 games this season.
Tuesday night marked the third time in Major League history when any team had at least five home runs and 16 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. The Rangers did it on May 2, 2017, at Houston, and the Rays did so on April 24, 2015, against the Yankees in New York.
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Tampa Bay also leads the Major Leagues in walks and strikeouts, creating a crazy dynamic. Entering Wednesday afternoon's action, 40.7 percent of the Rays' plate appearances had ended in a walk, strikeout or home run, the highest rate in the Major Leagues.
"I mean, there's going to be strikeouts in this game," Rasmus said. "Dudes are nasty. You sit back there and watch them. Some of the stuff they're throwing is ridiculous.
"It's all about grinding, so the next guy can get a good pitch to hit, and vice versa. ... I feel good about the way the lineup shakes out right now."
Morrison did not hit his first home run of the 2016 season until May 18. He has 11 through games of May 17 this season, which he can't explain. But he seemed to understand the odd storm defining the Rays' offense.
"I think that's just how they put the team together," Morrison said. "... Shoot, that's just how it's gone. That's what happens when you're looking for a pitch to drive. Pitchers are really good at not missing over the middle of the plate and putting it where you want to, so you're going to strike out some. And when they do that, you're going to walk some."
Late Wednesday afternoon, manager Kevin Cash wasn't complaining about how the strikeouts, walks and homers have been working lately.
"It is [crazy]," Cash said. "We're still hopefully the strikeouts will kind of come down here. The trade off so far has been pretty good with the walks, and obviously the balls that leave the ballpark."