TAMPA, Fla. – Scott Kazmir collected his 100th career win against his former team and the Los Angeles Dodgers got out of their offensive slump with a 10-5 victory over the Rays on Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
"It always feels great to come back here with all the memories," Kazmir told the media about his return to Tampa Bay. "Going through the stadium and seeing old friends, teammates and staff, it's always nice."
The Dodgers scoring drought officially came to a climatic end as Trayce Thompson, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig all homered for the boys in blue in the first of two games in Tampa Bay.
Thompson had his best game as a Dodger as the famous brother of Golden State Warriors star, Klay, went 2-for-4 with a home run and drove in a career-high four runs. Thompson nearly doubled his RBI output on the season. Entering the game, the outfielder had just 5 RBI on the year, but now has nine after Tuesday.
"I've left a lot of runners on base already this season, but I always want to be up in that situation," Thopmson told Alanna Rizzo of SportsNetLA. "I was thankful I was able to come through in that situation."
Thompson's moon shoot hit off the catwalk at Tropicana Field and became just the sixth home run in the stadium's history to never come down into the stands or field. The rare homer could still be up in the confines of the stadium as we speak.
"It's different. You don't know what time of day it is," Thompson said of playing at Tropicana Field. "It's a lot of fun. It was loud."
Howie Kendrick had his best game of 2016 finishing 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Kendrick entered the game batting a paltry .143 on the season, but should have gained some confidence after his four-hit day.
"I've just been doing the same stuff I always do. Sometimes you're gonna get hits and sometimes you aren't," Kendrick told the media of his slow start. "It seems like the drought this time was a lot longer. Biggest thing is to stay confident and stay in the game."
Adrian Gonzalez snapped out of a 0-for-21 slump with two singles and Joc Pederson hit a rare home run off a left-handed pitcher, when he hit a solo shot off Matt Moore in the second inning.
Kazmir (2-2) struggled in the first inning and throughout the game, but got enough offense to finally get his 100th career win at the hands of his former team. Kazmir allowed four runs on seven hits with a season-high nine strikeouts.
"I was hitting my spots for the most part," Kazmir told the media of his nine punchouts. "There's still things I can work on and clean up and I will get better."
Moore (1-3) took the loss, allowing seven runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Curt Casali and Steve Pearce both homered for Tampa Bay in the loss.
Former Rays pitcher, J.P. Howell entered the game in the bottom of the ninth with a five-run lead, but after recording the first two outs, he struggled, loading the bases before hitting Even Longoria with a pitch to plate a run.
Howell's collapse paved the way for Kenley Jansen to enter the game in a save situation with the tying-run in the on-deck circle. Jansen faced one-batter, getting Corey Dickerson to pop-out to end the game, earning his 10th save of the season.
Players of the Game:
Trayce Thompson: 2-for-5, 2-run home run, 4 RBI
Steve Pearce: Two-run home run
Howie Kendrick: 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
1. Rays Reunion: The game marked the return of three former Rays to Tampa Bay as Carl Crawford, J.P. Howell and Scott Kazmir all faced their former team at Tropicana Field for the first time as Dodgers. Current Dodgers President of Baseball Operations was the general manager of the Rays from 2006-2014 and led them to a World Series in 2008, a team which all three players were a part of. Ironically, Kazmir, Crawford and Howell all appeared in the game on Tuesday.
2. Rays Drought: Tampa Bay hasn't beaten the Dodgers since June, 24, 2007, the last time the Dodgers were at Tropicana Field. The nearly nine-year gap between victories is now the 10th longest active losing drought in Major League history.
3.Happy Anniversary: Monday marked the four-year anniversary of the Los Angeles Dodgers change of ownership from real-estate mogul Frank McCourt to the Guggenheim Baseball Management Group led by Mark Walter, Magic Johnson and Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten. In that time, the Dodgers are 362-290 and have won three consecutive NL West Division titles.
Dodgers (14-13): Los Angeles shuffled their rotation on Monday, so left-hander Alex Wood will start on four days rest on Wednesday as the finish their short two-game series with the Rays at 4:10 PM PST.
Rays (11-14): Drew Smyly looks to continue his solid start to the season when he takes the mound against L.A.
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