Randy Arozarena had three hits and four RBIs to pace an 18-hit outburst Wednesday night as the Tampa Bay Rays surged to an 11-3 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Manuel Margot went 4-for-5 including a double, scored twice and walked, while Ji-Man Choi was 3-for-5 with a double, three runs and two RBIs.
Vidal Brujan (double, three RBIs) and Francisco Mejia (double) each had two hits as every starter logged at least one. Harold Ramirez added two RBIs and another of the team’s seven doubles.
The hits, runs and doubles were season highs for the Rays, who have won the first two games in the three-game series.
Corey Kluber (3-2) tossed five-plus innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He fanned five and walked one.
Tyler O’Neill was 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs for the Cardinals, and Paul Goldschmidt singled in the sixth to move his on-base streak to 44 games.
Opener Packy Naughton (0-2) was hit hard after recording just four outs. The Rays scored four runs on five hits in the first two innings.
In a three-run first inning, Choi bounced a one-out double off the wall in left-center to bring home Margot, who singled off Naughton’s bare hand.
Arozarena — once a coveted St. Louis prospect — doubled in the same spot but on a towering shot off the top of the wall, caroming straight up and plating Choi. Brujan then grounded an RBI double down the left-field line to make it 3-0.
In the second inning, Ramirez pushed it to 4-0 when he slashed the club’s fourth double to score Kevin Kiermaier. Brujan’s fielder’s choice in the third added another run.
O’Neill battle Kluber in an eight-pitch at-bat before popping out in the second inning, but in the fourth, he belted Kluber’s first pitch to him to the opposite field in right for a solo shot, his third homer of the season.
In the sixth, O’Neill lined a two-run single to shrink the gap to 5-3 and chase Kluber from the game. But reliever Jason Adam got a double-play grounder and a long flyout to leave it 5-3.
Ramirez, Arozarena and Brujan all drove in the runs in the bottom half to rebuild the lead back to five runs. The Rays scored three more in the seventh.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina mopped up with a scoreless eighth, yielding two hits and recording a strikeout in his second career mound appearance, both coming this season.
–Field Level Media