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Rays 2, Athletics 0: Mike Zunino is good.

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If you were strictly going by the scoreboard the first four and a half innings of this game might have looked to be a classic pitcher’s duel, but it might be more accurate to say it was a case of LOBsters and some semi-decent defense from both teams. This isn’t to say that Rays starter Tyler Glasnow and A’s starter Cole Irvin weren’t putting up capable innings, because they definitely were, but it didn’t feel like the game was about them.

To lead off the first Canha reached on an infield single, successfully ending the no-hit bid in the first at-bat. Glasnow shut the rest of the batters down in order, collecting his first two strikeouts of the game and leaving Canha stranded. In the bottom of the inning Margot hit a deep double but then got tagged out TOOTBLAN style between second and third on the rundown. With the baserunner gone, the Rays went quietly into the end of the inning.

In the second Glasnow gave up a double to Kemp, and a walk to Machín. This resulted in a somewhat hilariously awkward conversation in which BA asked Dewayne if he’d ever seen the movie 8MM (a Nicholas Cage thriller), and when Dewayne said he hadn’t, BA explained the name Machín reminded him of the film, but could only say “it’s pretty dark” because folks, the plot of that movie cannot be discussed on a national sports broadcast.

Díaz led off the bottom of the second with a single, but the Rays couldn’t gain momentum from it and went down in order after the single.

Canha walked to start the third, then Olson grounded into a double play to erase the threat. Glasnow collected two more strikeouts to end the inning. The bottom of the third brought us a joyous Phillips double, but no runs scored for the Rays.

The top of the fourth was uneventful, and in the bottom Díaz reached again, on an infield single, but again, no runs were scored.

Glasnow did a great job in the top of the fifth with three back-to-back strikeouts, and in the bottom of the inning the Rays finally broke things open. With two outs, Mike Zunino hit a home run into the catwalks. Then Phillips walked, and Arozarena hit a deep single to advance Phillips to third. A Margot single scored Phillips, and the Rays were suddenly up 2-0.

Glasnow looked a bit rougher in the sixth. After collecting the first two outs, he gave up a double to Moreland, then a single to Chapman. A wild pitch from Glasnow advanced Chapman to second, putting two men in scoring position and it looked like things might get dicey for the Rays. A groundout for the third out of the inning let everyone breathe a little easier, but Glasnow’s pitches were definitely outside the zone a fair bit in the sixth. Not his best command.

The Rays struck out in order in the bottom of the sixth.

To my surprise Glasnow came back out for the seventh and genuinely proved me wrong with a nice clean inning, including an incredible catch in center by Kiermaier that caused quite the, uh, enthusiastic response from Glasnow in appreciation. (There were a LOT of swears we couldn’t hear but could definitely see.) Okay maybe we could also hear it.

Glasnow’s night ended after that reaction and his final line for the game was 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K on 97 pitches. A really nice outing for Glasnow, in spite of some inconsistency with his command.

In the bottom of the inning, Zunino got on board again and was able to advance to second on a wild pitch by reliever Guerra. Unfortunately, the Rays couldn’t capitalize and once again a runner was left on base.

Jeffrey Springs pitched in the top of the eighth for the Rays and collected two Ks to minimal drama, then OLD FRIEND ALERT, Sergio Romo came on for the A’s in the bottom of the inning, and I could have sworn he was still with the Twins, so shows what I know. The Rays also snuck Wendle into this game while I was getting a drink, and I naturally got confused and wondered if he’d been there the whole time.

A pinch-hitting Lowe walked, the made it to second on a Díaz groundout. The A’s decided on the intentional walk for Kiermaier to get to Adames. It ended up being the right move as Adames flied out to end the inning.

Springs returned for the top of the ninth and after getting one out, gave up an infield single to Chapman, so Cash decided not to risk the lead and went to the bullpen. Castillo would be the man for the final two outs. The first thing to happen was an infield single to Murphy that Adames swatted down but couldn’t convert for a double play or an out, leaving two men on with one out.

But it’s okay guys, deep breath, Castillo DID get the final two outs, after some moderate struggle, and the Rays won, pushing themselves back over the .500 mark!

Final: Rays 2, A’s 0

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