ST. PETERSBURG -- Pitching set the tone for the Rays on Monday night. And with a solid performance by starter Drew Smyly in the books, the Rays' offense never slowed down, breaking open a close game late in an 8-2 win over the Padres at Tropicana Field.
Drew Smyly allowed one run on one hit in seven innings to cover the pitching, while Logan Forsythe handled the early offense with his 15th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the second off Padres starter Luis Perdomo. The Rays put the game away with a five-run eighth that was highlighted by Kevin Kiermaier's three-run homer.
"They were swinging pretty early. They were really aggressive," Smyly said. "I got quite a few first-pitch outs that helped my pitch count, obviously. Just trying to stay out of the heart of the plate, because I knew they were going to be up there aggressive, and try and nibble on the corners and get some weak contact, which I did."
The Padres scratched out only three hits, two of which were solo homers.
"I think matchup-wise, we're a team that handles the ball down in the zone very well," Padres manager Andy Green said. "They're a team that pitches up in the zone. We have to be really disciplined to get it to where we want to hit it. Didn't do that very well tonight."
Once Rays manager Kevin Cash removed Smyly, the Rays' bullpen salted away the game, as Brad Boxberger pitched a scoreless eighth in advance of Kevin Jepsen getting the final three outs, despite surrendering a solo home run to Yangervis Solarte.
Alexei Ramirez put the Padres up in the first with a one-out homer, the 24th surrendered by Smyly this season. The Rays answered in the bottom half, though, with some help from Perdomo, who hit Logan Morrison with a pitch when the bases were loaded to bring a run home.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Solo shot: Ramirez gave the Padres a quick boost with a home run as the second batter of the game. It took 22 outs for San Diego to get a hit on Sunday, but Ramirez got the first one out of the way quickly. More >
Energy injection: Talk about getting the energy going, Kiermaier did just that on Monday. He singled off Perdomo with one out in the first, and with Evan Longoria batting, he then stole second base. The Rays ended up loading the bases, with Kiermaier scoring from third when Perdomo hit Morrison, tying the score at 1. In the center fielder's next at-bat, he legged out an infield hit and again stole second. Kiermaier put the finishing touches on his evening with a three-run homer in the eighth that put the Rays up 8-1.
"He does exactly what we need, and that's steal bases, create some havoc," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Put pressure on the pitcher, and that puts pressure on the defense."
Smyly keeps rolling: Smyly allowed one run on one hit in seven innings, giving him five consecutive starts of six innings or more and in which he allowed two runs or fewer after doing so only once in his previous 13 starts since the beginning of May. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA during the stretch, following a stretch of 10 starts in which he went 0-7 with a 7.60 ERA. By notching his fifth consecutive quality start, Smyly tied the longest streak of his career. More >
Perdy good: Luis Perdomo looked like he'd be on the verge of another lackluster start -- similar to the five-inning, five-run outing his last time out. He loaded the bases in the first inning and allowed a run on a hit by pitch. In the second, Forsythe crushed a two-run homer to make it 3-1. But that was all the Rays would get against the Rule 5 Draft pick Perdomo, who allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings.
"As far as the dip that I had in those first two innings, I think I was trying to be perfect with my pitches," Perdomo said through a translator. "Trying to be too perfect. That was the biggest issue that I had."
"I thought he mixed his pitches well. That's a standard answer for a guy who throws well. I don't know. We just didn't play that well." -- Wil Myers, on the Padres' offensive struggles vs. Smyly
"I don't know if it's luck. Everything always evens out over the course of the season. We play a lot of games. So you just have to continue to put one foot in front of the other, and every time I take the ball, I'm going to do the best I can." -- Smyly, when asked if his luck was starting to even out
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Kiermaier became the first Rays player to record at least three hits, a home run and two stolen bases since Melvin Upton Jr., on May 15, 2009 against the Indians.
The Rays challenged a safe call at second when Myers singled to center field and the ball got past Kiermaier, who threw to second base. Shortstop Matt Duffy kept the tag on Myers after he slid, and when the Padres' slugger came up, he appeared to slide off the base momentarily. After a minute delay, the call on the field was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres:Edwin Jackson will return to Tropicana Field, his home ballpark for the first three years of his career. It's also the ballpark where he threw a 149-pitch no-hitter in 2010, while with the D-backs. He'll try to have the same luck with the Padres when the two teams face off at 4:10 p.m. PT on Tuesday. Jackson is 3-2 this season over 13 appearances, five starts, with a 4.19 ERA.
Rays:Blake Snell (3-5, 3.18 ERA) makes his 12th Major League start after experiencing a dismal outing against the Blue Jays when he allowed five runs in just 1 2/3 innings. The left-hander also walked four in the outing. On the plus side, he has 58 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings, which equates to a 9.21 strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio.