Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Colome gets first save as a pro, Rays' first of season

ST. PETERSBURG — Sunday brought the Rays' first series win, taking two of three from the White Sox, but it also (finally) brought the team's first save situation, converted by RHP Alex Colome for his first career save as a pro.

"It's nice to get the first save of my career," said Colome, 27, pitching in his 200th career game as a pro. "It's important for me every time I go out … to be calm on the mound and make the out."

Colome earned the save by getting the game's final five outs, facing the top of the Chicago order and not allowing a hit, with a walk as his only blemish. He improved his ERA to 1.59 in four appearances this season, and the team's bullpen ERA dropped to 2.62.

"When the season was over last year, they told me they need me not only for three outs," Colome said of the longer usage. "They need me for six outs when I go to the mound."

Colome followed a scoreless inning by LHP Enny Romero, who came in with the tying run on base and got two quick outs to end the seventh, with former Rays C Dioner Navarro popping out to right and SS Tyler Saladino hitting a line drive to Evan Longoria at third.

"Enny (was) coming in and getting some big outs for us, in probably as high a leverage situation that he has been in for quite some time, so that was good to see," manager Kevin Cash said.

BIG CROWD: For the second day in a row, a Kevin Kiermaier promotion helped boost the home attendance. After 30,451 were on hand to get Kiermaier bobbleheads, Sunday drew 21,810 as fans 14 and under went home with blue Kiermaier gloves.

Kiermaier himself was back as well in centerfield, playing for the first time since he and 2B Logan Forsythe collided in the outfield in Friday's loss, resulting in a head contusion that kept him out of Saturday's game. Kiermaier had a double Sunday (ending a 0-for-19 slump), as did Forsythe, back after missing a game with a bruised hip and leg.

DOUBLE-DIGIT CLUB: With LHP Matt Moore striking out 10 Sunday, the Rays have had four different pitchers (Moore, RHPs Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi and LHP Drew Smyly) strike out 10 or more in one game in their first 12 games. The only other team to do so since 1913 is the 2015 Indians, according to the Rays.

The staff's 113 strikeouts in its first 12 games are easily the most in team history, trumping the mark of 97 set last season, and the 24 walks are the fewest in team history after 12 games, far less than the previous mark of 33.

THIS AND THAT: Logan Morrison, who played DH, went 0-for-3, dropping his season average to .063 (2-for-32). Morrison's ground ball that resulted in a White Sox error brought in the game's winning run, but even then he was picked off first base to end the inning. … Production at the bottom of the lineup remains a problem, as the bottom five hitters were a combined 1-for-15 in the game. Four of them are hitting .172 or worse.

 
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