Faria backed by 5 homers as Rays slam Tigers
DETROIT — Jake Faria may be making it look easy but his manager says it isn’t.
Faria joined a couple of small lists in the history books Sunday when he took advantage of five Tampa Bay home runs, led by Steven Souza Jr.’s first career grand slam, to become 3-0 after his first three starts in the majors.
Logan Morrison tagged two home runs as the Rays defeated the Detroit Tigers, 9-1. After the game, the Tigers optioned starting pitcher Buck Farmer (2-1) to the minors.
Faria became just the fifth pitcher since at least 1913 to win his first three starts in the majors with one or less runs in at least six innings.
He joined Jeremy Hellickson as the only Tampa Bay pitcher to win his first three starts with a seven-inning outing in which he allowed six hits, walked one and struck out nine with his low-90s fastball and sharp-breaking slider.
Faria joined Andy Rincon (St. Louis, 1990), Wayne Simpson (Cincinnati, 1970), Stu Miller (St. Louis, 1952) and Alex Main (Detroit, 1914) as the only pitchers to win their first three major league starts allowing one or fewer runs while pitching at least six innings.
“Jake Faria just continues to get it done,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I don’t think it was very easy for him. There was a lot of ‘fell behind.’ He didn’t get ahead of a ton of hitters like maybe we saw in his previous two starts.
“But he found a way to get back into the count and make pitches. That’s pretty telling and shows a lot about a young pitcher, being able to do that.
“It’s not the easiest thing in the world to pitch with a big lead. Because everybody’s sitting there saying. ‘Just throw strikes, throw it over the plate.’
“When you start doing that and not focusing on the pitch that you’re trying to attack with, that’s when the lead goes from 7-1 to 7-4. Especially with this lineup. They get a couple of guys on base anybody can hit it out of the park.”
Detroit now departs for a series at Seattle and then San Diego following a homestand that ended 2-4 and frustrated Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.
“It was a crappy homestand quite frankly,” he said. “We gotta play better than this. I gotta manage better, we gotta coach better, we gotta play better, we gotta hit better, we gotta pitch better. Simple. We’re not going to make any strides if we keep playing like this.
“We need to play better.
“It’s similar to last year. Similar every year I’ve been here, where we get off to a good start and we kind of tread water for a while.
“We do need to get on that run. We haven’t hit it yet. I’ve been pretty steadfast in saying, as much as I want to go on the run and as frustrating it can be that it hasn’t happened, I still believe that it will.”
Chase Whitley pitched the eighth and Tommy Hunter the ninth for Tampa Bay.
Morrison’s two home runs put him at 21 for the season. His first was a two-run blast to right in the first and the second a solo shot in the seventh.
Farmer served up two home runs in the third inning as the Rays jumped out to a 7-1 lead.
Derek Norris lined a flat 1-2 slider over the left-center field fence leading off the inning for his eighth home run. Farmer gave up five hits and a walk plus a hit batter in 2 1/3 innings.
Corey Dickerson singled to left, Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch, Morrison walked and Souza Jr. hit a 2-2 slider over the fence in left center for his first career grand slam and 13th home run this season.
Justin Upton lined a single to center with two outs in the first for Detroit’s first run. Alex Avila singled and Miguel Cabrera walked ahead of Upton’s hit.
Dickerson singled with one out in the first and one out later Morrison lined a 1-2 pitch off the metal fencing atop the wall in right to stake the Rays to a 2-0 lead.
Longoria belted his 10th home run of the season with one out in the seventh off reliever Chad Bell and was followed on the next pitch by Morrison’s second homer of the game.
NOTES: RHP Anibal Sanchez will be brought back from a voluntary minor league assignment Monday night to start for Detroit at Seattle. It’s his first start of the season for the Tigers. ... Tampa Bay C Wilson Ramos (ACL surgery) didn’t play Sunday after catching back-to-back games for the first time during his rehab stint. “We’re getting closer,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re getting excited.” ... 2B Daniel Robertson is the first rookie Rays middle infielder to have at least two hits and two RBIs in consecutive games since Josh Wilson in 2007. Robertson did so Friday night and Saturday.