Jeff Niemann pitched "meh" today in his season debut. He lasted only 5.0 innings with 102 pitches. He racked up six strikeouts and allowed 3 runs on four hits. Enter the bullpen.
J.P. Howell pitched a quiet sixth, and former starting pitcher Wade Davis got the nod in the seventh. Davis gave up two singles then put two men out and Joe Maddon made another call for Jake McGee. Detroit's second man in the line up, Brenna Boesch, then plated both runners before McGee got the final out of the inning.
Boesch had plated two runners earlier in the game off Niemann during a three run fifth frame. Up until this point, the Rays offense consisted of a Carlos Pena homerun (off a lefty!) and an RBI single from Evan Longoria in the seventh.
The Rays had a little action in the eighh with men on the corners (Elliot Johnson and Jose Molina on first and third) but Matt Joyce went down swinging and Desmond Jennings grounded out. From there Joel Peralta let the Tigers go wild with a Prince Fielder single, (a Delmon Young punch out), an Alex Avila triple, and then wild pitched Avila home. Detroit took a 7-2 lead and wouldn't let go.
All in all, outside of a crazy ninth inning against Justin Verlander, the Rays were not getting much done. They had only two runs of offense to back up starters Matt Moore and Jeff Niemann. The next stop is hitter friendly Fenway Park for a four game series in Boston.