Associated Press Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier, right, a Fort Wayne native, slaps hands with on-deck batter Evan Longoria after hitting a home run in the seventh inning Thursday against Detroit.
Friday, April 21, 2017 1:00 am
Tampa Bay 8 Detroit 1
Rays finish off sweep of Tigers
MARK DIDTLER | Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Steven Souza Jr.'s simple approach at the plate is working.
Souza came within a single of hitting for the cycle, Erasmo Ramirez and two relievers combined on a five-hitter, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Detroit 8-1 Thursday for a three-game sweep of the Tigers.
“Just letting my ability play,” Souza said. “I can really overthink things, and put a lot of pressure on myself. Throughout the years, I think that's what I've done.”
Souza doubled in the first, hit a two-run triple in the second and added a solo homer in the eighth. He has reached base multiple times in 12 games this season.
“I think we're seeing him put it together,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Ramirez (2-0) gave up one run and two hits in five innings with five strikeouts and no walks. In the rotation because Jake Odorizzi strained his left hamstring, Ramirez had not started since April 16 last year.
Tampa Bay rookie Daniel Robertson hit his first career homer, an eighth-inning solo shot off Warwick Saupold.
The Tigers were outscored 21-9 in series and while making just two errors allowed several catchable balls to fall for hits.
“I'll be honest with you, this is the worst defensive series I've seen the Detroit Tigers play since I've been here,” manager Brad Ausmus said.
Daniel Norris (1-1) gave up five runs and eight hits over 42/3 innings.
Ian Kinsler hit his 41st leadoff homer, but Tampa Bay tied the score in the bottom half after Souza doubled on a fly ball that right fielder Tyler Collins appeared to lose. He scored when Dixon Machado, filling in for injured shortstop Jose Iglesias, made an errant throw after fielding Rickie Weeks' grounder.
Souza tripled on an opposite-field flare that bounced past Collins near the right-field line, then scored on Kevin Kiermaier's single for a 4-1 lead.
Kiermaier homered off Saupold in the seventh.