Rays’ Johnson Blasts Pair Of 3-Run Homers

Kelly Johnson hit a pair of 3-run homers along with a single and double to lead the Rays to a 10-6 victory over the Miami Marlins.  The victory went to Jake McGee (2-2, 6.75 ERA) to improve the Rays record to 26-24. Jose Fernandez (3-4, 3.78 ERA) took the loss and the Miami Marlins fall to 13-38 on the season.

Kelly Johnson‘s 4 hits matched a career high as did his 6 RBI and became the first Rays player in franchise history to hit a pair of 3-run homers in the same game. He has been on a torrid pace in the month of May posting a slash line of (batting average/on-base%/slugging%) of .333/.388/.724 including 7 HR and 24 RBI covering 81 plate appearances.

On the season he has a slash line of .296/.358/.570 with 10 home runs and 32 runs driven in.  Johnson was not only stellar with the bat but he was aggressive on the bases stealing third on the 4th ball of an intentional walk.

Jake Odorizzi was handed a 6-0 lead after 2 innings and a 7-3 lead after 4  but was unable to work the required 5 innings to be eligible for his first major league win. In his 4 innings of work he was charged with 6R/ER on  8 hits striking out 2, walking 1, and hitting two batters.  He threw 99 pitches and 66 were for strikes but for the second start in a row he was unable to finish hitters off allowing 27 foul balls to drive his pitch count up and aid his early departure from the game.

After 2 scoreless innings of relief by Jake McGee and 1 by Joel Peralta and a 4-run lead thanks to Kelly Johnson 2nd 3-run homer the Rays went to Fernando Rodney.  After Rodney delivered a first pitch ball to Derek Dietrich Jose Molina went to the mound to talk to him. Rodney retired Dietrich on a fly ball to center but then walked Marcell Ozuna before striking out Rob Brantly and Justin Ruggiano to end the game.

Jose Fernandez return to the the Tampa Bay area was not a success as he lasted on 3.1 innings and allowed 7R/4ER on five hits striking out 6, walking 3, and hitting a batter.  He dug himself into a hole in the 2nd inning and the Rays bats took advantage with a 6-run outburst keyed by Kelly Johnson first 3-run home run of the game. He began the inning by walking both James Loney and Luke Scott and then hit Desmond Jennings with a pitch to load the bases.  Jose Molina delivered a sacrifice fly scoring Loney and Luke Scott came in on a Yunel Escobar single to put the Rays up 2-0.

With runners on the corners Ben Zobrist laid down a squeeze bunt that didn’t get far enough away from the plate for Jennings to score. Catcher Rob Brantly fielded the ball and threw to 2nd base but his throw was wide and shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria was unable to keep his foot on the bag and as he fell to the ground Jennings raced home with the Rays 3rd run. Fernandez had a chance to limit the damage after striking out Matt Joyce for the second out but Kelly Johnson tagged him for a 3-run homer.

The Marlins came back to cut the Rays lead in half at 6-3. The Marlins got their scoring started on former Rays OF Justin Ruggiano‘s solo homer. Greg Dobbs followed Ruggiano’s blast with a single and moved to third on a Adeiny Hechevarria ground rule double. Dobbs scored on a  fielders choice off the bat of  Jordan Brown and Hechevarria came in on a Chris Coghlan single.

The Rays extended their lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the 4th on an Evan Longoria sacrifice fly that scored Ben Zobrist.

The Marlins fought back with 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to cut the Rays lead to 6-3. The Marlins loaded the bases with nobody out on a Derek Dietrich single, a Marcell Ozuna walk, and a Rob Brantly single which ended Odorizzi’s night. Josh Leuke was summoned from the Rays bullpen and he struck out Justin Ruggiano before giving up a 2-RBI single to Gregg Dobbs.

After striking out Hechevarria for the second out Jordan Brown hit a bouncer up the middle that hit Josh Lueke in the leg and squirted into left field allowing Brantly to score from second and Dobbs to move up all the way to 3rd but  Chris Coghlan struck out looking to end the inning.

The Rays send Jeremy Hellickson (2-2. 5.37 ERA) up against Kevin Slowey (1-5, 3.30 ERA) tomorrow at 7:10 PM

I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.