Souza Delivers First Career Walk Off Homer, Rays Avoid Sweep

Rays End 277 Game Drought Without Walk-Off Homer

May 22, 2014….a date that has been burned into Rays’ players and fans memories. On that date, Sean Rodriguez delivered a walk-off homer off Luke Gregerson of the Oakland Athletics to give the Rays a 5-2 win.

That was the last walk-off homer for the Rays until today. Steven Souza Jr. stepped to the plate to lead off the ninth in a 1-1 game and delivered a solo homer to left to propel the Rays  to a 2-1 victory. It was Souza’s first walk-off homer of his career. It also extended his career high homer total to 24, all against right handed pitching.

“I went up there and stepped out of ht box and said, ‘Lord…this is for your glory right here’ and whatever happens happens, and just try to keep it simple.” Souza said. “In those situations I really just try to stick with my approach, a nice line drive up the middle, and whatever happens happens.”

Tommy Hunter (1-2, 1.64 ERA) picks up the win and the Rays improve to 58-55. They also avoid being swept by the Brewers.

Jacob Barnes (3-3, 4.38 ERA) allowed Souza’s homer and takes the loss as the Brewers fall to 59-54.

About The Walk-Off:

Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers
AP Photo: Chris O’Meara

The Rays’ walk-off homerless drought was the longest by two years. The second longest drought in MLB was the Philadelphia Phillies (April 29, 2016) versus the Cleveland Indians. In the 277 game span between May 22, 2014 and today, the Rays had won 14 other games in walk-off fashion. They had also allowed 13 walk-off homers, third most in the majors behind Oakland (15 excluding Rodriguez).  There had been a total of 228  walk-off homers in the duration led by the Baltimore Orioles with 14.

Cash On Victory:

Archer’s Quality Start:

Archer delivered six strong innings allowing just one earned run on three hits while striking out seven and walking two. He made 102 pitches with 64 for strikes.

The only run he allowed came on a solo homer off the bat of Orlando Arcia in the sixth inning. Since the beginning of June, he has allowed 12 homers in 12 starts, compared to six homers in his first 12 starts.

In the three game series with the Brewers, Rays’ starters allowed three earned runs in 18 innings on 12 hits while striking out 22 and walking four, but will not receive a win.  

Rays’ ‘Pen:

Over their last six wins, the Rays’ ‘pen has totaled 20.2 scoreless innings on nine hits while striking out 15 and walking six.

Steve Cishek worked a scoreless seventh inning. He has yet to allow a run in his five appearances since being acquired on July 28th from the Seattle Mariners (5.2-innings).

Dan Jennings entered the game in the eighth inning to make his Tropicana Field debut. He walked the leadoff batter but then got a double play ball to erase his leadoff walk. It was Jennings’ 24th Ground Into Double Play ball since 2015. He ranks second among AL relievers in that span.

Tommy Hunter entered the game and allowed a leadoff single to Ryan Braun. The single ended a streak of retiring 16 straight batters dating back to a leadoff double allowed in Baltimore on July 26th. It was Hunter’s first win since June 2, 2016 versus the Kansas City Royals while he was a member of the Cleveland Indians.

Rays’ Offense:

The Rays ended their scoreless innings streak at 21 when Wilson Ramos hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the second inning.

The Rays were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and 0-for-18 for the series.

Lucas Duda singled and doubled. He has now reached base in all 10-games since being acquired by the Rays. It the longest such streak since Aki Iwamura (12) and Jorge Velandia (10) in 2007.

 

Up Next For Rays:

The Rays will have an off-day on Monday before welcoming the Boston Red Sox in town for a two-game set. The Rays will send Austin Pruitt (66-2, 5.65 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday night against Boston’s Chris Sale (13-4, 2.70 ERA).

Jake Odorizzi (6-4, 4.47 ERA) returns from a brief stint on the disabled list. The Red Sox counter with Rick Porcello (5-14, 4.70 ERA).

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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.