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Friday, Nov 17, 2017
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Tampa Bay Rays

Scott finally has reason to smile, leads Rays over Indians

CLEVELAND - Rays closer Fernando Rodney entered the visitor’s clubhouse at Progressive Field on Friday afternoon carrying bags of Latin food, pigeon peas and rice and some shrimp. "Whoever wants to throw 100 or hit home runs come eat this food," Rodney yelled. Guess who was first in line? Luke Scott. Guess who would hit a home run? Luke Scott.
"I ate some and it was a good night," Scott said. "A good night for the boys." Scott snapped his epic slump with a two-run homer in the fifth inning that broke open the game and help send the Rays to a 10-3 victory against the Indians at Progressive Field. The home run, which landed just past the wall in right-center field, snapped a team-record 0-for-41 streak for Scott, who said he has lost sleep, shed tears and found himself on his knees praying for his next hit. "What did it feel like? Take a 300 pound gorilla and take it off my back," Scott said. "There’s been a lot of weight and a lot of pressure. I hope this is a start of getting back on track." The Rays could say the same about the offense, which pounded Indians pitching for 13 hits and produced its most runs since an 11-0- victory against the Marlins on June 15. The Rays scored more runs in the fifth inning – six – than they scored in 10 of their previous 11 games. While Scott’s homer was the feel-good hit of the night, it was far from the biggest. Ben Zobrist started the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning and Jose Lobaton broke a 2-2 tie in the third with a two-run single to center field. In between, Rays starter Alex Cobb hit the video room and ironed out some mechanical problems that led to him allowing the Indians to tie the score in the bottom of the first inning. Cobb went six innings and allowed three runs to earn only his second victory in his last seven starts. It helped Cobb’s effort that the Rays gave him so much offensive support. For a team that hadn’t scored more than four runs in 10 of the previous 11 games, Friday night’s output was your basic laugher. The Rays teed off on Indians starter Justin Masterson, who has now lost his last seven decisions against the Rays. The mood in the Rays dugout, which normally runs on the side of relaxed, turned giddy with Scott’s home run. Scott had struck out in his first two at-bats, though he had hooked one hard-hit ball foul down the left field line. The homer came on a low fastball from Masterson, and Scott wasn’t sure it was going out until it cleared the wall and eluded the out-stretched glove of Indians center fielder Michael Brantley. B.J. Upton, who was on first, greeted Scott at the plate with a hug, and there was even longer embrace from Carlos Peña waiting for Scott once he reached the dugout. It was about that time when the dugout phone rang. Rays manager Joe Maddon told Scott it was the president calling. No, just all-star closer Fernando Rodney, as the guys in the bullpen offered their congratulations. "Luke’s such a great guy, man, he’s the first one there to pick you up after a bad lose or just talk to you and put things in perspective for you," Cobb said. "He’s getting some bad luck. He’s hitting some hard balls at people. He should have never been in that 0-for-whatever it was slump, and to see him get that hit you could kind of see the weight lifted off his shoulders." "They’ve been supportive through it all," Scott said of his teammates. "Through this difficult time I’ve been looking for a way to kind of laugh it off. If not it starts to really drive you crazy and really get you down. But they’ve been great through it all, been very supportive. I’m blessed to have them as my teammates."  

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