Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays break team home run record in win over Blue Jays

TORONTO — As promised, manager Kevin Cash didn't care much about the specifics as his Rays on Wednesday tied then broke the team record for homers in a season.

"Great," he said. "I'm glad we did it with a win."

That they did, as Kevin Kiermaier hit No. 199 and red-hot Corey Dickerson the 200th in the 8-1 win over the stumbling Blue Jays.

The game didn't start well for the Rays, with their first five hitters striking out against RHP Marco Estrada and nine making outs, while Rays RHP Alex Cobb allowed a run in what he called a "sketchy" first inning.

But they changed the story line and the story in beating the Jays for the 11th time in 18 games.

After DH-for-the-day Logan Forsythe got their first hit by singling to open the fourth, Kiermaier struck the first big blow, hitting a two-run homer to right that tied the team mark set in 2009.

Then they expanded their lead to 5-1 in the sixth when Dickerson delivered a two-run shot off LHP Matt Dermody that was his 20th of the season and the team's record-breaking 200th.

"It's something you can build off of," Dickerson said. "We know what we can do. So we always know in the back of our mind we're capable of hitting a deep ball, even if it's late in the game or we're behind by a little, that maybe we'll come back."

Evan Longoria, who leads the team with 32 homers, said, "I just think it gives us kind of a reference point. It really just tells us how good we can be offensively, and that situationally we just need to get a little bit better. But the power is there, and we have the ability to hit with the other teams in this division."

SEE COREY HIT: Dickerson's 3-for-5 day extended his sizzling run, raising his average an amazing 20 points in eight days, from .227 to .247, by going 15-for-27. "I'm really big on my rhythm right now," he said. "I'm feeling good when I go to the cage, everything feels in rhythm, and that's what I carry into the game." Overall, Dickerson has an eight-game hitting streak.

SNELL GAME: LHP Blake Snell said tonight's start in Baltimore is "huge" as he works to reverse a recent skid and put a good finish on his rookie season, targeting a lack of aggressiveness in the strike zone as his primary problem.

"I only have three starts left and they are all really important to me," he said. "The growth I can gain from three outings is huge, so it's definitely important. I think it's something I need to do, so then in the offseason it allows me to be that much more focused, have more of a positive offseason. I definitely need to finish strong."

MISCELLANY: The Rays (62-83) won 11 of 19 overall against the Jays, including six of nine at the Rogers Centre, and are the only AL East team with a winning record against them. … The series win was the Rays' first on the road since taking two of three from the Rockies July 18-20, and their first in an AL park since June 2-5 at Minnesota. … DH/1B Logan Morrison was set for a late Wednesday afternoon MRI exam on his injured left wrist and an exam by Dr. Doug Carlan in St. Petersburg.

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