Lowe, Kiermaier homer, streaking Rays beat Rockies 7-1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) There's no secret to the success of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Strong pitching, sparkling defense and timely hitting have served them well for years and have the budget-minded club off a fast start this season.

''It's awesome,'' Kevin Kiermaier said Monday night after homering and driving in four runs in a 7-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

''We sit here and we talk in spring training about how good we can be,'' Kiermaier added. ''This is the start we wanted to get to.''

Employing the opener strategy that has been an integral part of the team's success since it began using relievers to fill in for traditional starting pitchers last May, the Rays won for the fourth straight time since a season-opening loss to Houston - matching the best five-game start in franchise history.

Opener Ryne Stanek got it started before a crowd of 10,860, with Ryan Yarbrough (1-0) following and allowing one run and three hits over 4 2/3 innings. Relievers Wilmer Font, Jalen Beeks, Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo finished up.

''It starts with the pitching,'' Kiermaier said. ''It's not a surprise to me. They gave us a taste last year of what they can do collectively as a unit. ... It's fun playing behind these guys.''

The Rays are 4-1 for the first time since 2012, allowing just 10 runs - the fewest through five games in club history. The bullpen has a 0.43 ERA, limiting opponents to one earned run in 21 innings.

With the fast start, Tampa Bay matched its win total from the first 17 games of last season, when the Rays rebounded from early struggles to finish with 90 wins - most among non-playoff teams.

''We are playing some really good baseball and having a lot of fun out there,'' Yarbrough said.

Brandon Lowe hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Kiermaier added a three-run shot in the sixth to inflict most of the damage against Colorado starter Chad Bettis (0-1), who allowed six runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Nolan Arenado's RBI double in the sixth snapped a 17-inning scoreless streak for the Rockies, who've dropped three straight after winning the first two games of the season at Miami.

''We can't seem to get anything going,'' Rockies manager Bud Black said. ''We can't string any hits together, and when that happens you're not going to score.''

Yarbrough led major league rookies with 16 victories last season, 14 of them out of the bullpen - the most by a reliever since Toronto's Mark Eichhorn and Roger McDowell of the New York Mets had 14 in 1986.

It was the most wins by a lefty reliever since Detroit's John Hiller won 17 in 1974, and Yarbrough also led AL rookies in innings pitched and strikeouts.

The Rays used an opener 55 times in 2018, going 32-23 in those games in which a reliever started and typically faced between three and nine batters.

Stanek thrived in the role, making 29 starts - just two fewer than club leader and AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.

The 27-year-old reliever allowed one hit - Arenado's two-out single - and struck out three in one inning Monday night.

Yarbrough was sharp, too, until running into trouble in the sixth, when he hit Charlie Blackmon with a pitch and gave up a one-out single to David Dahl before being replaced by Font. The next batter, Arenado, doubled down the left field line to trim Colorado's deficit to 3-1.

The Rockies had not scored since the sixth inning of Saturday's 7-3 loss at Miami. The Marlins shut them out 3-0 on Sunday.

''We know we haven't performed the way we want to. ... But we've only played five games,'' Rockies shortstop Trevor Story said. ''We're 2-3, and I'm sure we've had worst starts than that. There's no panic here. We're very confident. We know just a couple big hits, that will turn us around.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: INF Daniel Murphy was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left index finger fracture that occurred Saturday. Black had no pregame update on Murphy, who was scheduled to see a hand specialist Monday. ... Black said RHP Jon Gray, who left his start Sunday with right calf cramps, is fine.

Rays: INF Joey Wendle went on the 10-day IL with a strained left hamstring. Hurt on Sunday, Wendle said it's hard to know how long he'll be out until he gets back to working out at full speed.

NO THANKS

Black said the Rockies feel pretty good about their five starters and their ability to get into the sixth or seventh inning and that there would not be any advantage to starting someone out of the bullpen over a member of the rotation.

''I think if you have those types of pitchers and personnel that it sets up for and maybe you're not as deep in your rotation, then it makes sense to have a situation like what the Rays do,'' Black said.

UP NEXT

It's a matchup of opening day starters Tuesday night, when Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (1-0, 1.29 ERA) faces Snell (0-1, 7.50). Freeland has a nine-game winning streak dating to last Aug. 6.

---

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
COL2-3
000001000161
TB4-1
00030310X790
  • W: R. Yarbrough (1-0)L: C. Bettis (0-1)
  • HR: TB - K. Kiermaier (1), B. Lowe (1)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
C. Blackmon RF31000011.286.318.381.6991.5
D. Dahl LF40200020.444.476.6671.1431.0
N. Arenado 3B40310001.318.318.409.7275.0
T. Story SS40000035.105.190.263.454-1.5
R. McMahon 1B40000033.278.350.389.739-1.5
I. Desmond CF40000010.118.118.176.294-0.5
C. Iannetta C30000110.222.417.333.7500.5
M. Reynolds DH30100011.286.286.286.5710.5
G. Hampson 2B30000002.111.111.111.2220.0
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    A. Meadows RF40100111.222.300.556.8561.5
    T. Pham LF31000101.278.350.278.6282.0
    J. Choi 1B41200011.313.313.313.6252.5
    B. Lowe 2B42221023.154.154.385.5388.0
    Y. Diaz DH22100200.353.450.6471.0975.0
    K. Kiermaier CF31241000.333.308.7501.05811.0
    D. Robertson 3B40010013.091.091.091.1820.5
    M. Perez C40000021.286.286.429.714-1.0
    W. Adames SS40100021.071.071.071.1430.0
      BATTING
      • 2B - N. Arenado (2)
      • RBI - N. Arenado (2)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - T. Story 2 (2), R. McMahon 3 (3), G. Hampson
      BATTING
      • 2B - K. Kiermaier (2)
      • HR - B. Lowe, K. Kiermaier
      • SF - K. Kiermaier
      • RBI - B. Lowe 2 (2), K. Kiermaier 4 (5), D. Robertson
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - A. Meadows, T. Pham, B. Lowe, D. Robertson 2 (2), W. Adames
      FIELDING
      • Outfield Assist - C. Blackmon
      • E - T. Story
      FIELDING
      • DP - (Yarbrough-Adames-Choi)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      C. Bettis (L, 0-1)5.27662529.531.59-2.5
      D. Johnson0.211121011.572.57-3.5
      J. McGee1.10000300.000.864.5
      B. Shaw0.11000000.000.86-1.0
      PITCHERSIP
      C. Bettis (L, 0-1)5.2
      D. Johnson0.2
      J. McGee1.1
      B. Shaw0.1
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      R. Stanek1.01000300.000.673.5
      R. Yarbrough (W, 1-0)4.13110302.080.6916.5
      W. Font (H, 1)0.11000000.003.00-1.0
      J. Beeks (H, 2)1.10001100.001.002.5
      J. Alvarado1.01000200.001.003.0
      D. Castillo1.00000300.000.754.5
      PITCHERSIP
      R. Stanek1.0
      R. Yarbrough (W, 1-0)4.1
      W. Font (H, 1)0.1
      J. Beeks (H, 2)1.1
      J. Alvarado1.0
      D. Castillo1.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - C. Bettis 91-59, D. Johnson 22-11, J. McGee 19-12, B. Shaw 5-2
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Bettis 10-3, D. Johnson 1-0
      • Batters Faced - C. Bettis 27, D. Johnson 5, J. McGee 4, B. Shaw
      PITCHING
      • HBP - R. Yarbrough
      • Pitches-Strikes - R. Stanek 19-12, R. Yarbrough 57-37, W. Font 4-2, J. Beeks 21-12, J. Alvarado 18-11, D. Castillo 14-10
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - R. Yarbrough 5-4, J. Beeks 1-2, J. Alvarado 1-0
      • Batters Faced - R. Stanek 4, R. Yarbrough 16, W. Font 2, J. Beeks 5, J. Alvarado 4, D. Castillo 3
      PLAYERS OF THE GAME
      123456789RHE
      COL2-3
      000001000161
      TB4-1
      00030310X790
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      C. Blackmon RF31000011.286.318.381.6991.5
      D. Dahl LF40200020.444.476.6671.1431.0
      N. Arenado 3B40310001.318.318.409.7275.0
      T. Story SS40000035.105.190.263.454-1.5
      R. McMahon 1B40000033.278.350.389.739-1.5
      I. Desmond CF40000010.118.118.176.294-0.5
      C. Iannetta C30000110.222.417.333.7500.5
      M. Reynolds DH30100011.286.286.286.5710.5
      G. Hampson 2B30000002.111.111.111.2220.0
      Total32161011213-----
        HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
        A. Meadows RF40100111.222.300.556.8561.5
        T. Pham LF31000101.278.350.278.6282.0
        J. Choi 1B41200011.313.313.313.6252.5
        B. Lowe 2B42221023.154.154.385.5388.0
        Y. Diaz DH22100200.353.450.6471.0975.0
        K. Kiermaier CF31241000.333.308.7501.05811.0
        D. Robertson 3B40010013.091.091.091.1820.5
        M. Perez C40000021.286.286.429.714-1.0
        W. Adames SS40100021.071.071.071.1430.0
        Total3279724911-----
          BATTING
          • 2B - N. Arenado (2)
          • RBI - N. Arenado (2)
          • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - T. Story 2 (2), R. McMahon 3 (3), G. Hampson
          BATTING
          • 2B - K. Kiermaier (2)
          • HR - B. Lowe, K. Kiermaier
          • SF - K. Kiermaier
          • RBI - B. Lowe 2 (2), K. Kiermaier 4 (5), D. Robertson
          • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - A. Meadows, T. Pham, B. Lowe, D. Robertson 2 (2), W. Adames
          FIELDING
          • Outfield Assist - C. Blackmon
          • E - T. Story
          FIELDING
          • DP - (Yarbrough-Adames-Choi)
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          C. Bettis (L, 0-1)5.27662529.531.59-2.5
          D. Johnson0.211121011.572.57-3.5
          J. McGee1.10000300.000.864.5
          B. Shaw0.11000000.000.86-1.0
          Total8.0977492---
          PITCHERSIP
          C. Bettis (L, 0-1)5.2
          D. Johnson0.2
          J. McGee1.1
          B. Shaw0.1
          Total8.0
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          R. Stanek1.01000300.000.673.5
          R. Yarbrough (W, 1-0)4.13110302.080.6916.5
          W. Font (H, 1)0.11000000.003.00-1.0
          J. Beeks (H, 2)1.10001100.001.002.5
          J. Alvarado1.01000200.001.003.0
          D. Castillo1.00000300.000.754.5
          Total9.06111120---
          PITCHERSIP
          R. Stanek1.0
          R. Yarbrough (W, 1-0)4.1
          W. Font (H, 1)0.1
          J. Beeks (H, 2)1.1
          J. Alvarado1.0
          D. Castillo1.0
          Total9.0
          PITCHING
          • Pitches-Strikes - C. Bettis 91-59, D. Johnson 22-11, J. McGee 19-12, B. Shaw 5-2
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Bettis 10-3, D. Johnson 1-0
          • Batters Faced - C. Bettis 27, D. Johnson 5, J. McGee 4, B. Shaw
          PITCHING
          • HBP - R. Yarbrough
          • Pitches-Strikes - R. Stanek 19-12, R. Yarbrough 57-37, W. Font 4-2, J. Beeks 21-12, J. Alvarado 18-11, D. Castillo 14-10
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - R. Yarbrough 5-4, J. Beeks 1-2, J. Alvarado 1-0
          • Batters Faced - R. Stanek 4, R. Yarbrough 16, W. Font 2, J. Beeks 5, J. Alvarado 4, D. Castillo 3
          • 7TH INNING
            Kiermaier hit sacrifice fly to center, Pham scored, Choi to third17
          • 6TH INNING
            Kiermaier homered to right center, Lowe and Diaz scored16
            Arenado doubled to deep left, Blackmon scored, Dahl to third13
          • 4TH INNING
            Robertson grounded out to second, Diaz scored, Kiermaier to third03
            Lowe homered to left, Choi scored02
          • 9TH INNING
            • Diego Castillo relieved Jose Alvarado
            • R. McMahon: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, McMahon struck out swinging
            • I. Desmond: Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Desmond struck out swinging
            • C. Iannetta: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Iannetta struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 8TH INNING
            • Jose Alvarado relieved Jalen Beeks
            • C. Blackmon: Ball, Blackmon grounded out to third
            • D. Dahl: Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Dahl struck out swinging
            • N. Arenado: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Arenado singled to left center
            • T. Story: Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Story struck out looking
            • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • J. McGee Pitching:
            • M. Perez: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Perez struck out swinging
            • W. Adames: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Adames struck out looking
            • Bryan Shaw relieved Jake McGee
            • A. Meadows: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Meadows singled to deep right, Meadows out at second
            • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 7TH INNING
            • D.J. Johnson pitching
            • I. Desmond: Strike looking, Desmond grounded out to shortstop
            • C. Iannetta: Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Iannetta walked
            • M. Reynolds: Strike looking, Ball, Reynolds popped out to shortstop
            • G. Hampson: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Hampson flied out to deep left
            • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Johnson Pitching:
            • T. Pham: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Pham walked
            • J. Choi: Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Choi singled to center, Pham to second
            • B. Lowe: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Lowe struck out swinging
            • Y. Diaz: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Diaz walked, Pham to third, Choi to second
            • Jake McGee relieved D.J. Johnson
            • K. Kiermaier: Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Ball, Kiermaier hit sacrifice fly to center, Pham scored, Choi to third
            • D. Robertson: Strike looking, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Strike swinging, Robertson struck out swinging
            • End of the 7th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 6TH INNING
            • R. Yarbrough Pitching:
            • G. Hampson: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Hampson popped out to second
            • C. Blackmon: Strike looking, Ball, Blackmon hit by pitch
            • D. Dahl: Strike looking, Ball, Dahl singled to left, Blackmon to second
            • Wilmer Font relieved Ryan Yarbrough
            • N. Arenado: Ball, Arenado doubled to deep left, Blackmon scored, Dahl to third
            • T. Story: Ball, Story fouled out to first
            • Jalen Beeks relieved Wilmer Font
            • R. McMahon: Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Strike swinging, McMahon struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 6th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • C. Bettis Pitching:
            • B. Lowe: Ball, Lowe singled to right center
            • Y. Diaz: Strike looking, Diaz singled to center, Lowe to second
            • K. Kiermaier: Strike looking, Kiermaier homered to right center, Lowe and Diaz scored
            • D. Robertson: Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Ball, Robertson popped out to second
            • M. Perez: Ball, Perez grounded out to second
            • W. Adames: Strike looking, Adames singled to center
            • A. Meadows: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Meadows grounded out to second
            • End of the 6th (3 Runs, 4 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 5TH INNING
            • R. Yarbrough Pitching:
            • I. Desmond: Ball, Ball, Desmond flied out to right
            • C. Iannetta: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Iannetta flied out to right
            • M. Reynolds: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Reynolds struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • C. Bettis Pitching:
            • A. Meadows: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Meadows struck out swinging
            • T. Pham: Pham grounded out to shortstop
            • J. Choi: Choi lined out to center
            • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 4TH INNING
            • R. Yarbrough Pitching:
            • D. Dahl: Strike swinging, Foul, Dahl singled to right center
            • N. Arenado: Strike looking, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Arenado grounded out to second, Dahl to second
            • T. Story: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Story struck out swinging
            • R. McMahon: McMahon flied out to left
            • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • C. Bettis Pitching:
            • J. Choi: Choi singled to left center
            • B. Lowe: Strike swinging, Lowe homered to left, Choi scored
            • Y. Diaz: Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Diaz walked
            • K. Kiermaier: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Kiermaier doubled to deep left, Diaz to third
            • D. Robertson: Robertson grounded out to second, Diaz scored, Kiermaier to third
            • M. Perez: Perez grounded out to first
            • W. Adames: Ball, Ball, Foul, Adames grounded out to third
            • End of the 4th (3 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 3RD INNING
            • R. Yarbrough Pitching:
            • M. Reynolds: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Reynolds singled to center
            • G. Hampson: Hampson grounded bunt out to catcher
            • C. Blackmon: Foul, Blackmon grounded out to shortstop, Reynolds out at second
            • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • C. Bettis Pitching:
            • M. Perez: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Perez struck out swinging
            • W. Adames: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Adames struck out swinging
            • A. Meadows: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Meadows walked
            • T. Pham: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Pham grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, Meadows out at second
            • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 2ND INNING
            • Ryan Yarbrough relieved Ryne Stanek
            • R. McMahon: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, McMahon struck out swinging
            • I. Desmond: Ball, Desmond grounded out to first
            • C. Iannetta: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Iannetta grounded out to shortstop
            • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • C. Bettis Pitching:
            • Y. Diaz: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Diaz grounded out to third
            • K. Kiermaier: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Kiermaier grounded out to second
            • D. Robertson: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Robertson lined out to right
            • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 1ST INNING
            • R. Stanek Pitching:
            • C. Blackmon: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Blackmon struck out swinging
            • D. Dahl: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Dahl struck out swinging
            • N. Arenado: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Arenado singled to left
            • T. Story: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Story struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • C. Bettis Pitching:
            • A. Meadows: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Meadows grounded out to shortstop
            • T. Pham: Ball, Pham safe at first on shortstop Story throwing error
            • J. Choi: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Strike swinging, Choi struck out swinging
            • B. Lowe: Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Lowe struck out swinging
            • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 1 Error)