Tampa Bay Rays outfielder and Fort Wayne native Kevin Kiermaier jumps to catch a fly ball hit by Cleveland Indians' Jason Kipnis for the last out in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game in Cleveland. (Associated Press)
Thursday, May 18, 2017 1:00 am
Tampa Bay 7, Cleveland 4
Rays ruling on the road
Top Indians to finish best trip since last year
TOM WITHERS | Associated Press
CLEVELAND – For the first time in a year, the Rays didn't get run over on the road.
Corey Dickerson hit a three-run homer – his third homer in two days – and Alex Cobb controlled Cleveland over seven inning as Tampa Bay busted out the bats in a 7-4 win over the Indians on Wednesday to complete the Rays' most successful trip since last May.
Dickerson connected in the second inning off Josh Tomlin (2-5) and Logan Morrison hit a solo shot in the third for the free-swinging Rays, who hit a franchise-record 10 homers in the three-game series and went 4-2 on a swing through Boston and Cleveland – two of the AL's toughest stops.
“We're coming out of here on a huge high,” said Cobb, who threw 115 pitches – his most since Tommy John surgery in 2014 – on an unseasonably warm day. “We're pumped about the way we played on this road trip. We've done a good of putting things together.”
Cobb (4-3) allowed three runs and six hits and retired his last eight batters.
Jesus Sucre also homered for the Rays, who have 59 already this season.
“They might strike out quite a bit, but they're a pretty athletic bunch,” Tomlin said. “I know they swing a lot, but they can find the barrel pretty good, too.”
Indians rookie Bradley Zimmer hit his first homer in the ninth off Alex Colome, and Jason Kipnis almost got one, but Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, a Bishop Luers graduate, robbed him with a leaping catch for the final out.
Kiermaier ended the trip with a dazzling play, backing up to the wall and snagging Kipnis' shot.
“It felt really good to close out the game like that,” he said. “Colome's my guy so I'm happy I was able to save him a run.”
While the Rays found their swing on the road, Edwin Encarnacion remains in a hitting funk for Cleveland.
The slumping slugger struck out looking with the bases loaded in the third and again with one on in the fifth. Encarnacion, who signed a three-year, $60 million free agent contract – the richest in team history – is batting just .203 and in a 2 for 23 slide.
Encarnacion is also batting only .108 (4 for 37) with runners in scoring position.
“He's OK. He really is,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He knows what's going on and what he's supposed to do and all that. He's OK and he's going to be OK, it's just not been the best six weeks. He'll get it.”
After Dickerson homered twice in a five-homer barrage Tuesday, Tampa Bay came out swinging against Tomlin, who struck out five straight before giving up three straight two-out hits – the last an RBI double by Sucre.
Dickerson, who came in tied for the AL lead in hits, followed with his ninth homer to make it 4-0.