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Lowe Gives Rays Grand First Win Of 2024

Brandon Lowe watches his grand slam leave the field in the Rays win over Toronto (photo: Tampa Bay Rays)

Brandon Lowe‘s grand slam off Chris Bassitt turned around an early one-run deficit, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to their first win of the 2024 season, a 8-2 decision over the Toronto Blue Jays Friday.

Trailing 1-0 after George Springer homered off Aaron Civale in the top of the third, Tampa Bay loaded the bases on a base hit by Ben Rortvedt, a Jose Caballero hit by pitch, and a fielder’s choice by Yandy Diaz coupled with an error by Bo Bichette.  Lowe then jumped on a 1-1 pitch for his first home run of the year.

With the limited number of left-handed power bats in the lineup, the players and coaches certainly understand how important it is for Lowe to get off to a good start.

“He ​has ​a ​track ​record ​of ​having ​success ​and ​being ​a ​really ​good ​player ​in ​this ​league ​because ​we’re ​not ​going ​to ​deny ​the ​fact ​that ​we ​need ​him ​to ​be ​good ​right ​now,” manager Kevin Cash said after the game.  “​I ​mean, ​no ​Josh [Lowe], ​no ​Jonny [DeLuca], ​and ​I ​think ​he’s ​totally ​understanding ​and ​knows ​what ​he’s ​capable ​of.”

Lowe said an at-bat like that demonstrates all the work put in during Spring Training is paying off.

“To ​be ​able ​to ​take ​a ​swing, ​and square the ​ball ​up ​like ​that ​just ​solidifies ​everything,” the second baseman said. “​You’re ​making ​the ​right ​moves, ​you’re ​swinging ​the ​right ​pitches, ​and ​just ​keep ​doing ​what ​you’re ​doing.”

Civale allowed just two hits after getting the lead on the grand slam, needing just 86 pitches to get through six full innings.

Randy Arozarena made it 5-1 in the fifth with a RBI single off Bassitt, and Jose Caballero’s RBI fielder’s choice an inning later off reliever Wes Parson stretched the lead to 6-1.  Yandy Diaz, who had two more hits Friday, drove in a pair with a base hit in the eighth.

Chris Devenski worked two innings of scoreless relief, and Jason Adam gave up a sacrifice fly by Alejandro Kirk in the ninth, but struck out Kevin Kiermaier to end the game.

Zack Littell (3-6, 3.93 ERA with Rays in 2023) will look to make it two wins in a row for Tampa Bay Saturday when he takes on Yusei Kikuchi (11-6, 3.86 ERA in 2023).  First pitch is scheduled for 4:10.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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