D’Arnaud homers twice in Tampa Bay Rays’ 6-1 win over Detroit Tigers


AP Baseball Writer

DETROIT — Travis d’Arnaud has been with the Tampa Bay Rays for almost a month, and the veteran catcher sounds very comfortable in his new surroundings.

“It hasn’t been tough,” d’Arnaud said. “We’ve been playing winning baseball here, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

D’Arnaud’s individual numbers at the plate haven’t been as impressive as Tampa Bay’s team success, but he took a step toward changing that Thursday, hitting two home runs in a 6-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers. It was the first time he’d homered since March 31, 2018 — before he missed almost all of last season due to Tommy John surgery.

Last month, d’Arnaud was released by the New York Mets, signed by the Dodgers and traded to the Rays. Tampa Bay has had to deal with injuries to catchers Mike Zunino and Michael Perez.

D’Arnaud hit two-run shots in the fourth and eighth innings. Willy Adames also homered for Tampa Bay.

Jalen Beeks (5-0) pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings for the Rays, who improved to a major league-best 20-9 on the road.

“Jalen’s been on a nice run, limiting damage,” manager Kevin Cash said. “His pitch count went up right when he came in the game, and then he did such a good job of kind of resetting the pitch count to allow him to be efficient and keep kind of chewing up innings for us.”

Daniel Norris (2-5) allowed three runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

“He hung in there against a good offense,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They aren’t going to chase, which means you have to get strike one as often as possible. He did fine, though. He kept us within 3-1 and gave us a great opportunity. We just didn’t score.”

Ryne Stanek pitched two innings as Tampa Bay’s opener, then Beeks relieved and worked into the seventh, allowing four hits.

Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the first on an RBI single by American League batting leader Austin Meadows. Detroit tied it in the bottom half on a run-scoring single by Brandon Dixon.

D’Arnaud’s first homer gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead. Adames hit a solo shot in the eighth, and d’Arnaud added another home run that inning to make it 6-1.