May 20, 2018 / 4:32 AM / 5 months ago

Rays' Romo plan works to perfection in win over Angels

Daniel Robertson’s grand slam and the first career start by Sergio Romo added up to a 5-3 win for the Tampa Bay Rays over the Los Angeles Angels, their sixth in a row, Saturday night at Angel Stadium.

Romo had made 588 appearances in his major league career before Saturday, all as a reliever. He spent a few years as a closer with the San Francisco Giants and had a career-best 38 saves in 2013.

But he was given the start Saturday because the Angels’ lineup was loaded with right-handed hitters, expecting to face lefty Ryan Yarbrough. Rays manager Kevin Cash moved Romo to the first inning because he thought such a move would ease Yarbrough into the game, as the first seven hitters in the Angels lineup were all right-handed.

The strategy worked, as Romo struck out the side in the first inning, getting Zack Cozart, Mike Trout and Justin Upton.

Yarbrough entered the game in the second inning and breezed through the Angels lineup, throwing six scoreless innings until the Angels got to him for a run in the eighth inning.

Ian Kinsler led off the inning with a double, stole third and scored on a groundout by Jefry Marte. Yarbrough (4-2) didn’t make it out of the inning, giving up one run on four hits and one walk in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out four and made 92 pitches.

The Rays got all the offense they needed in the second inning against Angels starter Andrew Heaney, who retired the first two batters before walking Johnny Field.

Marte’s error at first base allowed Rays center fielder Mallex Smith to reach base, and Heaney followed it up with a walk to No. 9 hitter Jesus Sucre, loading the bases for Robertson.

Heaney (2-3) left an 83 mph changeup out over the heart of the plate and Robertson hit it over the fence in center field for his first career grand slam and fifth homer of the season.

The Angels inched closer in the ninth on Mike Trout’s two-run homer, his 14th of the season, but Alex Colome closed things out for his 10th save.

—Field Level Media

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