Joyce Hits Two Of Rays Five Homers In Victory
The Tampa Bay Rays dropped a season high seven runs and seven hits on the Baltimore Orioles in the top of the sixth inning to take a 10-4 lead over the O’s en route to a 12-4 victory.
The win improved the Rays record to 35-49 and drew them to within 10-games of AL East leaders the Toronto Blue Jays and 10-games behind the second wild card Seattle Mariners. It was the first time they were 14-games under .500 since after beating the Seattle Mariners on June 6th.
The victory went to Alex Cobb (3-6, 4.20 ERA) who labored through the first five innings allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits striking out three and walking none.
The Rays offense broke out with 18 hits including 12 extra-base hits five of which were home runs. The five home runs in a game matched a single season high set against the New York Yankees on April 19th.
The attack was led by Matt Joyce who went 5-for-6 (career high five hits) with two home runs, a double, and four runs driven in.
The power from Joyce’s bat is a positive sign for the Rays and something they’ve been waiting for.
After hitting 60 home runs in his previous 1555 plate appearances heading into last seasons All-Star break (More), a healthy Joyce has hit just seven in his 432 plate appearances since.
His home run in the third inning was his first home run since May 11th against the Cleveland Indians Josh Tomlin a span of 135 plate appearances. It was his third career multi-homer game and first since September 29, 2012 at the Chicago White Sox.
His 12 total bases tied a franchise record along with Jonny Gomes (07/30/2005), Evan Longoria (09/18/2008, and 10/03/2012), and B.J. Upton (09/19/2012). He is the first Rays player in franchise history to garner 12 total bases in a game on the road.
Ben Zobrist went 3 for 6 with two runs driven in on the day. All three hits were of the extra base hit variety including two doubles and his sixth homer of the season.
Evan Meek (0-3, 7.47 ERA) came in relief of Mauro Gonzalez with two out in the fifth inning. He allowed four runs (all earned) on three hits striking out one and walking one in an inning of work.
Kevin Kiermaier continues his unexpected power output hitting a solo shot for his sixth homer of the season off Meek in the sixth inning.
Brian Matusz came in relief of Forsythe and in 2.1 innings of work allowed five runs (all earned) on seven hits striking out two and walking one.
He allowed one of Matt Joyce’s two home runs marking the first time Joyce had homered versus a left-handed pitchers since June 11, 2013 against Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox. It was only Joyce’s 9th career homer against a southpaw.
Logan Forsythe continued to sting the baseball reaching base three times going 2 for 4 with a walk and connected off Matusz for his second homer in as many games.
Forsythe has hit .500 (14 for 28) over his last nine games to raise his batting average .058 points from .178 to .236 and raised his OPS .156 points from .461 to .617.
Jose Molina went 2 for 4 and has hit .333 (10 for 30) over his last 9 games to bolster his season average .050 points from .129 to .179.
Cesar Ramos came in to finish the game but ran into trouble in the ninth inning allowing a 3-run homer to Ryan Flaherty and put two more men on base before handing the ball over to Joel Peralta who came in to strike out Caleb Joseph to end the game.