The way Randy Arozarena turned on the jets after a drive to centerfield caromed off the wall for an inside-the-park home run that was one of the team’s few highlights.
“It was a well-pitched ballgame through four innings,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “One solo (homer) by us, one solo by them. And then I think that the Twins offense took advantage of some pitches left in the zone and drove some balls. And it just kind of spun out of control pretty quick.”
But there also was blame for the Rays hitters, who managed only one run against Twins starter Devin Smeltzer through the first six innings — Cash noting, for example, they could have made earlier adjustments to the lefty’s changeup — and had only six hits for the night.
“Our offense, we’ve got to find a way to start putting some pressure on some pitchers a little early,” Cash said. “We’re letting guys settle in on us. And when we’re right and good, it feels like we’re putting pressure on pitchers a little earlier.”
Rasmussen, coming off a strong outing against the White Sox after a rough one at Texas, allowed only a run on Byron Buxton’s first-inning homer, working out of what trouble he had in the first four frames.
Buxton went deep again, his second straight multi-homer game. Over the next six pitches, Carlos Correa doubled, Max Kepler reached (and Correa scored) on an error by first baseman Harold Ramirez, and Jorge Polanco doubled (and Kepler scored).
“I thought (my) stuff started backing up a little bit,” Rasmussen said. “(I) started making mistakes, and then they took advantage of it. I thought the pitch that Buxton hit out in the fifth was a really good pitch. I mean, shoot, from the mound it looked like he hit it one-handed. So I don’t really know what to say about that. Sucks.”
“Stuff started missing over the middle, and they changed their approach a little bit,” Rasmussen said. “Every time I elevated the ball, they seemed to hit it pretty well.”
Arozarena drove a ball that eluded centerfielder Nick Gordon and caromed toward the infield. Arozarena turned second hard and was glad to see third base coach Rodney Linares waving him in for his first inside-the-park homer since he was a 9-year-old in Cuba playing on full-sized fields.
“It’s another on to add on the list,” Arozarena said, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “You’re always happy when you hit a home run like that. I was thinking home the whole time but seeing Rodney makes it a little bit better. We did lose but I was happy that I was at least able to do that.”
“The fans love me and I think it’s fun to have fun with them,” Arozarena said. “It helps me play a little better, it makes me happy and therefore I think that’s why I get the results I do.”
Rookie Vidal Brujan also had a highlight, hitting his first big-league homer, and swapping two signed balls to get back the keepsake. “I’ve been waiting for it,” he said, via Navarro. “It was very emotional.”
source: Tampa Bay Times