Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Smyly strong again as Rays beat Padres

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Drew Smyly continued his run of strong starts Monday when he allowed the Padres one hit over seven innings in the Rays' 8-2 victory.

It was the second time in three starts that Smyly pitched seven innings. He has pitched at least six and allowed two or fewer runs in each of his past five. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA during that streak.

The only hit he allowed Monday was DH Alexei Ramirez's first-inning home run.

"This game is full of streaks, hitting and pitching," Smyly said. "You just got to ride out the good streaks and limit the bad ones. I feel good right now, making quality pitches. I'm going to try and ride it out to the end of the season."

2B Logan Forsythe gave the Rays the lead with a two-run homer in the second inning, and CF Kevin Kiermaier capped a five-run eighth with a three-run homer.

Kiermaier extended his hitting streak to six games with a first-inning single. He also stole a pair of bases, giving him a team-high 12 with six of those since July 29.

In 12 games since moving to the No. 2 spot in the order, Kiermaier is batting .298 with a .389 on-base percentage, three doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs.

"I'm just trying to have as many quality at-bats as possible and get on base for our big boys to drive me in," Kiermaier said.

MORRISON RETURNS AS DH: Manager Kevin Cash said he will "mix and match" at first base, but Logan Morrison returned from the disabled list and found himself used as the DH while Brad Miller continued to start at first base, Morrison's old position.

Morrison started 72 games at first before going on the DL with a strained right forearm. Since then, the Rays traded for Matt Duffy and made him the shortstop while shifting Miller from short to first.

"I understand it," Morrison said. "It's part of the game, so they want to see what he can do over there. They want to see what Duff can do at short. I'm good with it. I understand it. I'm looking forward to filling the DH spot."

To make room for Morrison, the Rays optioned RHP Dylan Floro to Triple-A Durham.

INJURY UPDATES: LHP Enny Romero (back strain) threw a bullpen Monday and is expected to begin his minor-league rehab this week. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to make his sixth rehab start tonight with Durham, while RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John) is scheduled to make his sixth at Class A Charlotte.

GUEST OF HONOR: Corporal Ret. Michael Jernigan of St. Petersburg was a guest of the team and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. A third-generation Marine, Jernigan was serving in Iraq in 2004 when his Humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device. He lost sight in both eyes and suffered a crushed cranium and trauma to his right hand and left knee. Today, he serves as a motivational speaker and is a representative for Southeastern Guide Dogs' "Paws for Patriots" program.

NOTEWORTHY: 3B Evan Longoria should tie Carl Crawford's franchise record for games played at 1,234 tonight. … Forsythe homered in consecutive games for the second time in his past eight games. … The Rays (48-69) are 14-14 since the All-Star break despite outscoring their opponents by 38 runs.

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