Souza has birthday bash as Rays hit 5 homers in 8-1 win
Steven Souza Jr. had quite a birthday bash Sunday, hitting two home runs to lead the Rays to an 8-1 win over the Yankees.
Souza, who turned 27, went deep in the first inning, as the Rays scored five runs off Yankees starter Michael Pineda, then again in the fourth, marking his second two-homer game of the season.
Starter Drew Smyly worked an impressive seven innings for the Rays, allowing the one run on six hits for his first win.
The Rays hit five home runs overall, but showed the all-or-nothing nature of their offense as they struck out 16 times. In doing so, they became the first big-league since at least 1913 (as far back as record go) to hit at least five homers and strike out at least 15 times in a nine-inning game.
The first-inning explosion was uncharacteristic for the Rays, who haven't been scoring much and doing most of it late anyway, but they rapped six straight hits to score the five runs.
Even more unusual, the rally started with two outs and two strikes on No. 3 hitter Evan Longoria.
But Longoria doubled and Corey Dickerson launched a homer to rightfield to make it 2-0. Steve Pearce, making a fourth straight start, singled and Brad Miller doubled him home. Then Souza lashed the first of his two homers.
The six straight hits were two shy of the Rays team record.
Pearce homered to open the third and make it 6-0. After the Yankees got their run off Smyly, on a double by Alex Rodriguez, who later left the game with "left oblique stiffness,'' Souza homered again.
He is the first player to hit two home runs on his birthday since Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe, at Milwaukee on June 15, 2012.
Logan Forsythe homered in the eighth to make it 8-1.
The Rays avoided a three-game sweep with the win, finishing the trip to Boston and New York 3-3 and improving to 8-10 overall.
The Rays headed home after the game to open a three-game series on Monday with the Orioles. Ace Chris Archer will be on the mound, still seeking his first win.