A little less than four years ago, Jake Odorizzi was a 20-year-old prospect who had just completed his second season in professional baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers Class-A affiliate in the Fox Valley, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
A first-round pick in 2008 out of Highland High School in New Douglas, Ill., Odorizzi was part of the package sent to the Kansas City Royals in December 2010 by the Brewers to acquire former Cy Young Award winner Zach Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.
On Monday night, the Brewers encountered Odorizzi for the first time since that trade and found that he is indeed all grown up.
Facing the Brewers for the first time, Odorizzi pitched seven innings of three-hit baseball for the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., surrendering just a solo homer in the third inning of the Rays’ 2-1 win.
Tampa Bay (52-54) won for the 10th time in 11 games, taking advantage of a favorable call on a 3-2 pitch to Evan Longoria to score two runs in the bottom of the sixth against Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse.
The Brewers (59-48) have lost three of their last four, hitting just .165 with eight runs scored in that span.
Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead off Odorizzi (7-8) when Mark Reynolds connected for his fourth home run in his last five games—reclaiming the team lead with his 18th bomb of the year.
For awhile, it looked like that would be enough for Lohse (11-5), who escaped potential trouble in the fifth when Logan Forsythe got himself thrown out at third after doubling on a bloop over first base.
Reynolds, playing first, retrieved the ball quickly and relayed it to shortstop Jean Segura, who fielded the throw with his bare hand on one hop and fired a strike to Aramis Ramirez for the putout at third.
But it got away from the Crew in the sixth, all with two outs.
On a 3-2 pitch to Evan Longoria, Lohse’s delivery appeared to catch the inside corner, but home plate umpire Bob Davidson ruled it ball four, loading the bases.
James Loney followed with a soft flare into short right-center field, scoring two runs.
With the Brewers offense in neutral, that was all Odorizzi and the Rays’ bullpen needed.
Tampa Bay pitchers retired the final eight batters after Ramirez’s infield single in the top of the seventh. Right-hander Brad Boxberger struck out the side in order in the eighth and left-hander Jake McGee fanned two of the three hitters he faced in the ninth to earn his 12th save in 13 opportunities.
Lohse allowed only two runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts in six innings. Jeremy Jeffress worked around two singles in the seventh and Zach Duke worked a scoreless eighth with a walk and a strikeout.
Besides Reynolds’ homer and Ramirez’s infield hit, the only other offense for Milwaukee came on an infield single by Segura in the top of the third.
The Brewers’ lead in the National League Central shrank to 1 ½ games over the idle St. Louis Cardinals and two games over the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were 5-0 winners at San Francisco on Monday.
The interleague series continues at 6:10 p.m. Central on Tuesday, with Matt Garza (7-7, 3.87 ERA) taking on the team he pitched for from 2008-10. The Rays counter with right-hander Alex Cobb (6-6, 3.76 ERA).
Tags: Milwaukee Brewers