ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Erasmo Ramirez made his season debut as a relief pitcher Wednesday and picked up the final six outs as the Rays rallied for a 5-3 victory against the Blue Jays.
Ramirez, who earned the victory thanks to a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning by RF Steven Souza Jr., came on in the top of the inning and faced the meat of the Jays lineup: RF José Bautista, DH Edwin Encarnacion and SS Troy Tulowitzki. Encarnacion flied out to center field and Ramirez struck out the other two.
“We anticipated that very much just given the type of pitcher Erasmo is. He pitches well in any situation, doesn’t seem to let the inning, the score affect him,” manager Kevin Cash said. “He just goes out there and attacks hitters.”
Ramirez, the Rays’ fifth starter, was the odd man out when the club decided to open the season with a four-man rotation. He could return to the rotation when RHP Brad Boxberger returns in mid-May from the disabled list. Or, if he pitches well in his new role, Ramirez could remain in the bullpen.
“I know we have good relievers, so I just try to be like one of them, just try to execute every time on the mound,” Ramirez said. “I don’t want to be the difference in the bullpen. I want to be one of the best, too”
Home run parade
Souza homered off the top of the center-field wall in the sixth inning for his first home run of the game. It also extended the Rays’ streak of home runs in consecutive games to a team-record 18, dating to Sept. 20 at Baltimore.
The previous record was 17, set from April 15-May 13, 2013.
This is the longest streak in the majors since the Mariners homered in 23 straight games in 2013.
He meant to say that
Jays manager John Gibbons didn’t back down from his comment that the Jays would wear dresses Wednesday in the wake of Tuesday’s game-ending replay review.
Bautista was ruled to have interfered with 2B Logan Forsythe, who was attempting to turn a game-ending double play. Gibbons thought the contact was a normal part of the game.
“The world needs more humor,” Gibbons said. “My mom, my wife, my daughter found it kind of funny. They know me. I do think the world needs to lighten up a little bit. So I’ve moved on from that.”
As for the overturned call, Gibbons still disagreed with it.
“A guy is trying to stay out of a double play,” he said. “You learn at a young age, you slide hard, it’s part of the game. Guys who play the middle infield are well aware of it. They chose to play those positions. They’re all trained how to get out of the way of certain things. I think they anticipated going in with this new rule that there would be some controversy along the way. Kind of similar to what happened what they did with the catchers. But that’s the rule. We’re going to have to live with it.”
Replay was used six times during the four-game series. The first five calls were overturned. ... C Curt Casali became only the fourth player to hit the Trop’s A-ring catwalk. His fly ball, which struck the highest ring 194 feet above the field, was caught by Tulowitzki. Bautista (2011), Minnesota’s Jason Kubel (2010) and Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena (2009) are the other hitters to reach the A-ring. ... LF Desmond Jennings was the DH on Wednesday to give his legs a break from the Trop’s turf. ... The Rays claimed OF Jake Goebbert off waivers from the Pirates. A member of the 40-man roster, he was assigned to Triple-A Durham. ... DH Corey Dickerson’s home run Tuesday was measured at 453 feet by ESPN Stats & Info.