Sean Rodriguez Connects On 455-foot 2-Run Homer
In order to crawl back to .500 and begin to even begin thinking of chasing a playoff spot the Rays are going to have to continue to win series. Not only do they have to consistently win series but they have to mix in a few sweeps along the way.
The Rays got their first of what they hope is many sweeps yesterday afternoon in defeating the New York Yankees 6-3 thanks in large part to a 455-foot 2-run homer off the bat of Sean Rodriguez in the sixth inning that gave the Rays a 5-3 lead.
The victory was the Rays fifth in a row and seventh in their last eight games and improves their record to just 11 games under .500 at 38-49. They are 14-7 over their last 21 games and in that time (June 11) they have cut their deficit in the AL East from 15 games back to just 9.5 game back.
Jake Odorizzi worked the first 5.2 innings to pick up the win and improve to 4-7 with a 4.18 ERA on the year. After allowing a lead off homer to Brett Gardner (8th of the year) and single runs in the 3rd and 4th innings he fought through and retired six of the last seven batters he faced.
The Rays pressured Yankees starter Vidal Nuno (2-5, 5.42 ERA) putting runners on base in nearly every inning but were unable to deliver the big blow but still put up single tallies in the 3rd (passed ball scored Kiermaier), 4th (RBI single by Sean Rodriguez), and 5th (Brandon Guyer RBI single).
Nuno came out to work the sixth inning but was lifted after Logan Forsythe led off the inning with a single. Right hander Shawn Kelley came in to face Sean Rodriguez whose struggles in his career against right handed pitching (.211 lifetime average).
Kelly threw his slider to Rodriguez three times in a row and the last one was deposited over the wall in center field a whopping 455 feet from home plate.
“It felt good, I hit it clean,” Rodriguez said. “… It feels good, not only to take advantage of it, but just being able to contribute. That’s essentially what you’re trying to do every game is just trying to find a way to contribute.” – mlb.com
Odorizzi came out to work the bottom of the sixth inning but was lifted after giving up a 2-out single to Brian Roberts and if the Rays were going to sweep it would be up to the bullpen to protect the 2-run lead.
The Rays added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a James Loney ground out to push the lead to 6-3.