ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Joey Butler is on a roll, and his Tampa Bay teammates joined in Friday night during a 7-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
A 29-year-old rookie who had only 17 major league at-bats before this season, Butler had three of the Rays’ 14 hits to help fellow rookie Matt Andriese earn his first career win.
“I’m getting more and more confident,” said Butler, who drove in two runs and raised his batting average to .342 in 117 at-bats. “It’s definitely the best opportunity I’ve had, just playing every day, always being in the lineup. And that helps.”
He has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games and has nine hits in the last five games.
“He’s been playing for a long time and hasn’t had many opportunities. He’s getting one and he’s making the most of it, for sure,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Andriese (1-1) gave up two runs - both unearned - in a career-high 5 2-3 innings. He struck out five in the 26th game started by a Rays rookie this season. Of the six hits allowed by Andriese, one was a bunt single and the others were two-out singles.
Hits by Mikie Mahtook, Brandon Guyer and Butler gave the Rays a 2-0 lead in the first inning against John Danks, and the Rays led all the way in ending Chicago’s three-game win streak.
Jake McGee pitched the ninth for his second save.
Steven Souza Jr., Jake Elmore, Nick Franklin and Kevin Kiermaier had two hits each for the Rays, who have won nine of 13 and moved within one game of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
Jose Abreu hit his 12th home run for the White Sox, connecting in a third straight game for the first time in his career.
Danks (3-6) gave up five runs, three earned, and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
“They put the ball in play and made things happen. It worked out for them,” Danks said. “It’s one of those nights it didn’t bounce my way.”
The Rays haven’t had many of those nights lately. Their seven runs were the most they have scored in a home game in more than a month. Both teams had gone seven straight games without scoring five runs.
“I wouldn’t say we’re struggling, but we haven’t had key hits with men on base,” Franklin said. “Tonight we did.”
Danks became the seventh straight left-handed starter to lose to the Rays. He is 1-5 with a 5.71 ERA in his last seven starts against the Rays after going 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his first six against Tampa Bay.
Rays: RHP Andrew Bellatti, placed on the disabled list Thursday with right shoulder tendinitis, hopes to throw as soon as Sunday.
Having designated C Bobby Wilson for assignment late Thursday, the Rays played Friday night’s game with only one catcher, Rene Rivera. “You just hope that nothing freakish happens early on,” Cash said before the game. “Let’s just hope we get through the ballgame.” Tampa Bay recalled C Curt Casali from Triple-A Durham after the game and optioned Mahtook to its top farm club.
MANAGER FOR A WEEKEND
Bench coach Mark Parent is managing the White Sox this weekend in the absence of Robin Ventura, who is attending the graduation of his daughter, Madison.
Rays RHP Chris Archer (7-4), who according to the Rays is the first pitcher since 1900 to have 10 or more strikeouts and no walks in three consecutive starts, will face Jeff Samardzija (4-4) of the White Sox on Saturday.
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