Sports

Rays try for quick sweep of Braves

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Rays are back on top in the American League East and look to remain there when they shoot for a quick sweep of the Atlanta Braves Wednesday at Turner Field.

The Rays moved into a first-place tie in the AL East with Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Braves in the opener of this two-game set, coupled by a New York Yankees loss to the Washington Nationals.

Asdrubal Cabrera homered and Steven Souza Jr. finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Erasmo Ramirez survived a shaky three-run second inning for the win. Ramirez lasted five innings, struck out five and walked two.

Brad Boxberger was the fifth relief pitcher used by the Rays and tossed a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.

"It was a big team effort tonight because you can't single out one player who carried the load," Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said. "We got a bunch of good things out of everyone."

Tampa Bay has won five of its last seven games and will return to Tropicana Field for the next seven games versus Oakland and Seattle.

Jake Odorizzi draws the start for the Rays Wednesday and is 1-3 with a 3.03 earned run average in his last six starts. He won his first two outings of the season and came up short the previous time out in a 3-2 loss at Minnesota last Friday, charged with three runs and eight hits in six innings.

Odorizzi had given up just one run in his previous two outings (1-0). The right-hander is 2-2 in four road starts and 3-3 with a 2.36 ERA in eight appearances overall. Odorizzi has never faced the Braves.

The Braves had won three in a row and four of their last six games until Tuesday's loss and blew a 3-1 lead early on. Nick Markakis scored on a bases- loaded walk, Cameron Maybin added an RBI single and Jace Peterson plated a runner when he grounded out in Atlanta's big second inning.

Longoria then stroked a run-scoring single in the third and Cabrera homered in the fourth. The Rays tacked on two more runs in the fifth to complete the scoring and Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz gave up all five runs in five innings for the loss.

"Obviously you want to keep winning, especially when you come home and play in front of your fans," Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. "But the good thing is that you come right back tomorrow and play."

Atlanta went 4-5 on its recent road trip and will host the Milwaukee Brewers next for four games. The Braves scored 16 runs over their previous three games prior to last night's defeat.

Williams Perez will make his first major league start for the Braves Wednesday and the rookie is 0-0 with a 15.43 earned run average in two relief appearances. Perez, a right-hander, posted a 2-0 mark and a 1.33 ERA in five starts with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Perez is taking the rotation spot of the struggling Eric Stults.

Atlanta is 17-8 all-time against Tampa Bay and will visit Tropicana Field for two games in mid-August.