Ramirez, Cabrera spur Rays to 2nd straight win
ATLANTA (AP) Erasmo Ramirez pitched his way into a big jam in the second inning then escaped further damage despite struggling with the grip on his fastball.
''It was rare for me, but with (catcher Rene Rivera's) help, I just tried to mix it up and see which pitches I was feeling at that time,'' Ramirez said. ''That was the only way we got out of the inning.''
Ramirez won his second straight start, Asdrubal Cabrera homered and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe both drove in a run for Tampa Bay, which has won two straight and five of seven.
Ramirez (2-1) gave up two hits, three runs and two walks and struck out five in five innings. The right-hander has a 2.25 ERA over his last nine appearances, including three starts.
The Braves took a 3-1 lead in the second on Andrelton Simmons' bases-loaded walk, Cameron Maybin's RBI single and Jace Peterson's RBI groundout.
''He maybe kind of slipped in that mode of nibbling a little bit,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Ramirez. ''To his credit, he kept it right there, gave us a chance to get back in the ballgame.''
Brad Boxberger pitched the ninth, earning his 11th save in as many chances by retiring Simmons on a groundout, Maybin on a flyout and striking out pinch-hitter Adonis Garcia in his major league debut.
The Atlanta bullpen retired all 12 batters it faced.
All of the Rays' runs came off Braves starter Mike Foltzynewicz (2-1).
Tampa Bay went up 1-0 in the first when Kevin Kiermaier tripled and scored on Steven Souza Jr.'s single. Foltynewicz stranded two runners to end the threat.
Foltzynewicz's ERA swelled from 4.24 to 5.32 after he allowed eight hits, one walk and five runs and struck out seven in five innings.
In the Rays' third, Souza singled, stole second and scored on Longoria's single to make it 3-2. Tampa Bay made it 3-all in the fourth on Cabrera's second homer.
Longoria has 14 RBIs this month. He had just four in April.
Tampa Bay scored twice with two outs in the fifth for a 5-3 lead on Forsythe's RBI single and David DeJesus' RBI double.
''In the later innings, I started trying to overthrow stuff and make things break a little bit more than I wanted to,'' Foltynewicz said. ''That walk (to James Loney) and the wild pitch led to a run there. I just need to keep within myself next time and go out there and pitch.''
The Braves added a veteran arm to their bullpen, agreeing to a one-year contract with RHP Nick Masset for the $507,500 major league minimum.
Masset, who worked the ninth, cleared waivers Monday after Miami designated him for assignment. The 33-year-old has a 1.86 ERA in eight games this year, but opponents are hitting .324 against him.
Atlanta's bullpen, 25th in the majors with a 4.60 ERA, has 15 relievers through its first 36 games.
Rays: Cash gave no timetable on either pitcher's probable return, but he said LHP Matt Moore and LHP C.J. Riefenhauser are progressing well. Cash got a good report after Moore, on track to return this year from Tommy John surgery in April 2014, threw 31 pitches in a simulated game Monday at extended spring training. Riefenhauser has missed 28 games with shoulder inflammation. ... Cash intimated that LHP Drew Smyly (torn labrum) might possibly return this year. ''We're optimistic,'' Cash said. ''We're hearing good things.'' The team announced last week that Smyly, transferred to the 60-day DL, would miss the rest of the year.
Braves: INF Phil Gosselin, undergoing thumb surgery on Wednesday, is optimistic he will stay on schedule to return in eight weeks.
''I'll try to heal up quick and push it as much as they let me,'' he said.
Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi hasn't allowed a walk in his last four starts, a stretch of 26 innings. Odorizzi has faced 109 batters since he walked Boston's Xander Bogaerts on April 23. Cash added that the four starters Thursday-Sunday at home against Oakland will be Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Nate Karns and Ramirez.
Braves: RHP Williams Perez will make his first career start as veteran LHP Eric Stults moves to the bullpen. In five starts at Triple-A Gwinnett this year, Perez went 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA.