ST. PETERSBURG — As much as Rays manager Kevin Cash wants to stick with the struggling members of his lineup to build their confidence, he also has to find ways to get the hot hitters more playing time.
And Steve Pearce and Brandon Guyer are making his life both harder and easier.
Both continued their push for more opportunity by homering in a 8-5 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday.
Guyer went deep in the first inning, staking the Rays to a 1-0 lead. Then after the Dodgers tied it, the Rays went back ahead and the Dodgers pulled even, Pearce had the biggest blow, a three-run homer to left.
"They're really igniting us right now," Cash said. "They're making some decisions difficult, how we'll have to factor in just continuing to get them in the lineup because they're picking up the offense quite a bit."
Overall, the Rays (12-14) hit four homers on the night, with rightfielder Steven Souza Jr., who would leave the game due to a pectoral spasm, and catcher Curt Casali also going deep as they built an 8-2 lead.
But they still couldn't relax and enjoy it as relievers Enny Romero and Xavier Cedeno struggled through a rough eighth inning, allowing three runs and some considerable concern among the 13,226 at the Trop.
Romero, who started the season strong, went walk-single-walk-walk to give up one run. He left a mess for Cedeno, who got one out then allowed two more runs with a walk and a sac liner before striking out former Rays star Carl Crawford to keep the lead 8-5.
"I know that one inning kind of got ugly, but those guys are allowed to have some rough outings," Cash said. "It was time maybe for us to pick them up, and I'm glad we did."
Erasmo Ramirez got the win, his fifth, for two innings of work after starter Drew Smyly lasted five. Alex Colome worked the ninth for his sixth save.
Both Guyer and Pearce are part of the right-handed platoon that typically plays only against lefty starters.
But Cash had said several times over the past couple of weeks that they are going to play against some right-handers, thus more, and that time seems to be arriving.
Pearce, who can play first base (as well as second and third, which are covered), corner outfield and DH, homered in back-to-back games and three times in a 17 at-bat span.
"He seems to be pretty locked in, having good at-bats," Cash said. "His opportunities are coming more consistently, and he's definitely make the most of them."
Guyer, after a 2-for-4 Wednesday, is hitting .412 (14-for-34) with a 1.142 on-base plus slugging percentage over his past 11 games.
"I happen to be seeing the ball good, doing anything I can to get on base, try to score runs, help the team," he said. "I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, and if my name's called, just be ready and go out there and help the team."
As Cash decides how to get Pearce and Guyer in the lineup more, it would seem he has a number of options:
First baseman Logan Morrison is hitting .094 with 25 strikeouts and no RBIs. Desmond Jennings singled in the eighth to snap a career-worst-matching 0-for-26 and is hitting .179. DH Corey Dickerson went 0-for-4, extending his career-worst skid to 0-for-23 and dropping his average to .192.