Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Miller hits two homers in Rays' rout of Padres

ST. PETERSBURG — The biggest question coming out of the Rays' 15-1 blasting of the Padres on Tuesday was which of the big numbers was the most impressive.

• The 15 runs were a season high, their most since April 2014, and the 14-run margin of victory was the third largest in franchise history.

• The five home runs they hit matched the team record for a home game, one shy of the overall mark. Brad Miller hit two more, one a monster shot off the batter's eye, giving him an eye-popping 24 for the season.

• The 35 runs the Rays have scored among Sunday's win over the Yankees and the two over the Padres are their most ever in a three-game stretch.

"What an offensive show we put on (Tuesday night). That was fun to sit there and be a part of," manager Kevin Cash said.

"We've had quality at-bats. For the most part the guys have gone up there, they've been aggressive with their approach. We've just got guys who are seeing the ball really well right now."

The 49-69 Rays, before a tiny gathering announced at 10,793, also got home runs from Nick Franklin, Corey Dickerson and Evan Longoria, his team-leading 27th. Also, they got four RBIs from rookie catcher Luke Maile as they rapped 16 hits overall, two shy of their season high.

"That was awesome," Miller said. "We hit a ton of balls hard. Even a lot of the outs, they made some really good plays on some balls. It was a lot of fun. I like how we kept it going. Nobody gave away at-bats."

Rookie left-hander Blake Snell did well enough to get the win, allowing just the one run over five innings, but he could have been better, walking four and having trouble with command even after getting ahead early in counts. Most blatant came during the 32-pitch slog of a fourth inning when he started Alexei Ramirez with a strike then walked him to force in a run with a 7-0 lead.

"I thought Blake did some good things, he did some things maybe not so good," Cash said. "We all know he is learning on the job a little bit right now. Pitching with a 7-0 lead is not always as easy as people make it out to be. I thought Blake, with the command, he's got to get the ball in a zone a little bit more."

Snell was coming off the worst of his 11 big-league starts, lasting only 12/3 innings last Wednesday in Toronto, allowing five runs and walking four, and was determined to do better.

"I don't feel all the way back, because there's a lot more to do and a lot more to work on," he said. "I just need to be more aggressive and trust my stuff more."

Miller, who had already doubled his career best in homers, continues to show the Rays that his bat is a key part of the lineup as he has been moved from shortstop to first base, though he was the DH Tuesday. His first home run was quite a blast, hitting high on the blue batter's eye wall beyond centerfield, estimated by MLB's Statcast at 446 feet.

"That might've been the most impressive home run we've seen at this ballpark this year," Cash said.

In his past 20 games, Miller has nine homers, 16 extra-base hits, 18 runs scored and 19 RBIs. "I'm just trying to have good at-bats," Miller said. "Just keep my head down and trying to hit as many as possible."

One more big number from Tuesday: The Rays were the first team since the Reds in April 2015 to scored as many as 15 while their pitchers struck out at least 15 hitters.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.

     
                     
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