August 10, 2015

The normally light-hitting Tampa Bay Rays have won behind their offense lately, but went back to their usual recipe against the Atlanta Braves.

Jake Odorizzi, who has seen many would-be victories go awry due to a lack of run support, is probably hoping it was a one-night act.

Odorizzi takes the mound for Tampa Bay as it closes out a two-game set against visiting Atlanta on Wednesday night.

The Rays (57-56), amid the majors' bottom third in most offensive categories, entered Tuesday having won five of seven while averaging 5.3 runs and hitting .295.

They were outhit 6-4 Tuesday, but won 2-0 on the strength of Kevin Kiermaier's seventh-inning homer. Evan Longoria's hitting streak ended at nine games and Tampa Bay's top four hitters were 0 for 13.

Kiermaier's home run was his first since June 3 and just his third extra-base hit in his last 56 at-bats. Asdrubal Cabrera, who had two hits for his seventh multihit performance in eight games, is batting .478 since returning from a strained hamstring July 28.

Odorizzi (6-6, 2.77 ERA) has been a crucial part of the AL's second-best rotation, which boasts a 3.45 ERA and enjoyed seven-plus innings of five-hit ball Tuesday by Erasmo Ramirez.

After failing to complete six innings in his first three starts after returning from a strained oblique, Odorizzi has done so in three straight. He didn't have decisions in the last two, however, getting backed by three total runs of support.

He doesn't have wins in eight of his 12 quality starts, and Atlanta's Shelby Miller is the only pitcher with fewer victories (five) with a lower ERA and at least 18 starts.

Odorizzi is 5-2 with a 1.13 ERA in 11 starts at Tropicana Field since Aug. 30, posting a .170 opponents' batting average. He lost 2-1 at Atlanta on May 20, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings.

The Braves (51-62) continue to underwhelm on the road, averaging 2.3 runs while dropping 14 of 16. They wasted Williams Perez's first career complete game Tuesday.

Nick Markakis has been one of the few Braves performing well, hitting .393 over his last 14 games after going 2 for 4. He's 6 for 14 with a home run and double against Odorizzi and is batting .404 in his last 14 interleague contests.

Matt Wisler (5-2, 4.85) has allowed 12 runs over 10 innings in his last two games. He gave up a season high-matching nine hits in Atlanta's 9-8 win against Miami on Thursday.

Opponents are hitting .375 with runners in scoring position in Wisler's last four starts, a span in which he owns a 7.04 ERA. He recorded a 3.10 ERA in his previous five outings with batters hitting .200 in those situations.

"I need to get back to slowing things down when I get guys on base," he told MLB's official website. "I think I'm kind of rushing and letting the game speed up on me. I need to get back to settling down when guys are on base to make sure I'm executing my pitches."

Wisler is 2-2 with a 5.93 ERA in five road starts.

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