Colome Shines in Big League Debut for Tampa Bay

Alex ColomeDue to a finger injury to Alex Cobb the Rays were forced to call up 24-year-old righty Alex Colome from Durham. The Rays pushed back Matt Moore’s start from Thursday against the Marlins to Friday against the Indians and Colome did not disappoint in his Major League debut as the Rays beat the Marlins 5-2.

Alex Colome is the nephew of former Devil Rays reliever Jesus Colome and the Dominican-born right-hander struggled slightly in the first inning after allowing two walks and a single but limited the damage to only one unearned run.

Colome fanned both Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano in the first inning.

By the third inning Colome had settled down and was pumping in strikes with his plus-fastball and wicked changeup. He also mixed in a slider/cutter that was used effectively as well. He struggled at times with his fastball command but was able to use his changeup in any situation and made a few Marlins hitters look silly with that change of speed. After the end of the fourth inning Colome had recorded seven strikeouts and only gave up two hits.

Colome ran into some trouble in the fifth after retiring Marlins’ catcher Rob Brantly. Ricky Nolasco hit a bloop double to right and Coghlan singled to advance Nolasco to third. Colome escaped unscathed though when he got Placido Polanco to ground into a huge inning-ending double play.

The Rays took the lead in the top of the sixth after Ricky Nolasco uncharacteristically walked Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce followed with a two-run homerun. Colome came out in the bottom of the inning with a lead but allowed a lead off single to Derek Dietrich. Colome got Marcell Ozuna to pop out and Ruggiano to ground out and his fine debut was over. Jake McGee came in and forced Greg Dobbs to ground out on the first pitch to end the inning and Colome’s line. Colome finished with 5 2/3 innings pitched and seven strikeouts with five hits surrendered. The run he allowed in the first inning was unearned and perhaps most importantly he only surrendered two walks, a great sign from any young pitcher, even if it was against the Marlins.

James Loney started the seventh inning with his fifth homerun of the season and the Rays had a 3-1 lead. Desmond Jennings followed with a double but he would be stranded at third.

In the bottom of the eighth inning Joel Peralta ran into some trouble and nearly squandered the lead. Peralta walked Polanco to start the frame but retired both Dietrich and Ozuna. After walking Justin Ruggiano things got a little strange, Dobbs hit a bouncing ground ball that took a wicked hop and handcuffed James Loney at first to load the bases and bring up Miguel Olivo for the Fish, who was pinch-hitting for Adeiny Hechavarria. The Rays brought in Josh Lueke to put out the fire but after Olivo strangely checked his swing on a full-count pitch a run scored and the bases remained loaded. Lueke then got Rob Brantly to strike out and end the inning with the Rays clinging to a 3-2 lead.

Jose Molina lead off the ninth inning with a single and Sam Fuld walked to bring Ben Zobrist to the plate. Zobrist doubled to score both runners and the Rays added some much needed insurance runs. Fernando Rodney pitched a spotless ninth inning to earn his 11th save of the year and despite his early struggles has pitched well of late.

Alex Colome earned his first win in the Major Leagues gave the Rays exactly what they needed in his debut on Thursday in Miami and although he faced a weak lineup the right-hander was unnerved and looked confident on the mound.

Tampa Bay (29-24) swept the Citrus Series against Miami (13-41) and will now head to Cleveland to continue their road swing. The Marlins will host the New York Mets this weekend and will face highly touted pitcher Matt Harvey on Sunday.

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