ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Corey Dickerson finally delivered a big hit for the Tampa Bay Rays with men on base.
Dickerson broke out of an 0-for-21 slump with a three-run homer in the eighth inning that carried the Rays to a 4-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night. Tampa Bay had scored only four runs in its previous five games.
“It’s been a pretty tough couple of weeks for the whole team, not just me,” Dickerson said. “I was just trying not to miss my pitch and not to think too much. When you’re struggling you tend to think too much and change stuff.”
Dickerson’s two-out blast off Nick Goody (1-2), his 22nd, came after Adeiny Hechavarria singled and Jesus Sucre was hit by a pitch.
Tommy Hunter (2-2) worked 12⁄3 scoreless innings in relief of Blake Snell to get the win. Alex Colome pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 39 opportunities.
Francisco Lindor opened the game with a double and scored on Jose Ramirez’s single. It was the only run for the AL Central-leading Indians off Snell, who gave up four hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings.
“When we had opportunities, which were few, you have to cash in, and we didn’t,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Snell (0-6, 4.69 ERA) made his 15th start, the most of any winless pitcher in the majors this season.
“We had a chance to win the game simply because of Blake Snell’s performance,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He was outstanding. A couple walks here and there, but as far as commanding the baseball (and) making big pitches when he had to, it was a huge step in the right direction.”
Logan Morrison drove in Tampa Bay’s first run with a single in the fifth.
Cleveland starter Danny Salazar pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run on seven hits and four walks while striking out eight.
The series opener in Tampa Bay was the first game in a Cleveland uniform for Jay Bruce, a three-time NL All-Star who was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
Bruce made it to the stadium an hour before the first pitch. He entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh and popped up on the first pitch he saw.
“It was an opportunity for me to help out,” Bruce said, “but I didn’t get the job done tonight.”
Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis left the game with a tight right hamstring after leading off the second with a double. ... OF Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf strain) will run Saturday and might be taken off the disabled list as early as Sunday.
Rays: Cash said RHP Jake Odorizzi should be fine for his next start after taking a line drive off his right foot Wednesday against the Red Sox. Odorizzi left the game with a bruise. ... 1B Lucas Duda (bruised thumb) was back in the lineup at DH after being scratched Wednesday.
RHP Carlos Carrasco (10-5) will attempt to get his first win since July 7 for the Indians against rookie RHP Jake Faria (5-2), who has nine quality starts among his 11 starts for the Rays.