The Rays met up with the Atlanta Braves this afternoon at the brand new Cool Today Park. The Braves wrote up a major league starter heavy lineup today including the 6-time all-star Felix Hernandez who was traded to Atlanta from Seattle in the off-season. Hernandez has had his way with Tampa Bay throughout his career as he tossed a perfect game against the Rays in 2012. King Felix wasn’t able to copy that performance this afternoon though as the Rays’ bats got going early on. 3 singles to load the bases in the 1st inning led to a Nate Lowe sacrifice fly scoring his name twin, Brandon Lowe, and giving the Rays a 1-0 lead. The offense exploded in the 8th inning as Rene Pinto started it off with an RBI single off of Jacob Webb which tied the game up at 2 runs a piece. Tristan Gray followed with another RBI single to right field scoring Miles Mastrobuoni. Tampa would put up 2 more runs in the inning extending the lead to 5-2. The minor league Rays supplied the clutch offense in today’s contest.
The 23 year old lefty, Josh Fleming, started on the bump for the Rays. Fleming is not known to be a big strikeout guy, but he was awarded the AA MVP in the minor leagues last year, so he knows how to get good hitters out. He showed that skill today as he threw 2 scoreless frames striking out 2 Atlanta hitters and giving up just 2 hits. The former Brave, Chaz Roe, replaced Fleming and started the 3rd inning on the mound. Roe threw one shutout inning and struck out 2 including Braves’ phenom, Ronald Acuna Jr. Jose Alvarado had another fantastic outing as he threw a 1-2-3 inning with 2 punch-outs. That marks his 2nd straight scoreless outing which I’m sure puts a smile on Kevin Cash’s face. Anthony Banda also pitched very well as he struck out 2 and gave up only 2 hits in 1 2/3 innings of work. Aaron Slegers gave up some offense in the bottom of the 6th when Austin Riley crushed a 2-run homerun off the scoreboard. As a whole it was a solid day for the Rays’ pitching staff as they gave up just 2 runs on 6 hits. After getting blown out by the Braves a couple days ago, they would get some much needed revenge over Atlanta winning this game 5-2.