The Phillies won tonight, so the division lead is back to 3 ½ games, and the magic number stays at 27.
It was an ugly night for the Braves’ pitching staff, as Sean Newcomb allowed six runs over four innings, and Luke Jackson gave up a few runs of his own. Five of the first six hitters in the Rays order racked up multiple hits on the night.
This was a game of missed opportunities for the Braves, as several situations with multiple runners on base failed to score.
Newcomb missed the strike zone early and often, and did not manage a 1-2-3 inning over his short outing. This is his third start over his last four allowing at least five earned runs. He wasted no time in getting himself in deep trouble in the first, surrendering three straight hits after a two-out walk and falling into a 3-0 hole. His offense attempted to pick him up in the first, tying the game behind the strength of this three-run home run from Johan Camargo.
As noted above, the 99.7 mph fastball from Diego Castillo was the fastest pitch hit for a home run in 2018. This was Camargo’s first home run since August 3.
Even after being given new life, Newcomb was unable to retain it for long. Tampa took the lead back on a third inning solo homer from CJ Cron.
After Castillo gave way to Jalen Beeks in the third inning, the Braves loaded the bases with two out but failed to score when Ozzie Albies tapped back to the pitcher on the first pitch. This missed opportunity came back to bite the Braves, as Tommy Pham launched an opposite field home run to push the Rays’ lead to 6-3.
Luke Jackson came on in relief for the 5th inning, and the Rays dropped a quick two-spot on him to stretch the Rays’ lead to 5. After Jackson retired the final out in the top of the 6th, the game went into an hour-long rain delay which scattered the already sparse crowd.
Coming off the delay, Sam Freeman worked the 7th and 8th innings for the Braves. He had his best outing in months, striking out 5 of the 6 batters he faced.
Consecutive 8th inning RBI singles from Charlie Culberson and Ronald Acuña cut the Rays’ lead to 8-5, but the Braves’ comeback bid ended there.
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