Luke Raley homered twice and the Tampa Bay Rays remained perfect through four games by defeating the host Washington Nationals 6-2 on Monday night
Drew Rasmussen threw six shutout innings in what became a combined four-hitter among four pitchers for the Rays, who have allowed a total of five runs this season
Tampa Bay's Isaac Paredes also homered in the opener of the three-game series. The Rays scored in five different innings in their first road game of the year
Washington's Jeimer Candelario smacked a solo home run in the ninth inning.
Both of Raley's homers came with two outs, a two-run blast in the first inning off Washington starter Trevor Williams and a solo shot in the eighth off reliever Mason Thompson. Raley homered only once in 61 at-bats with Tampa Bay last year, when he was back and forth to the minor leagues, and he had none in his first three games this year.
Paredes and Josh Lowe also finished with two hits apiece for the Rays. Dominic Smith had two hits for the Nationals
Paredes' first homer of the season came in the fourth inning and stretched the Rays' lead to 4-0
Williams (0-1) lasted five innings, dinged for four runs (three earned) on six hits. He walked one and struck out three.
Rasmussen (1-0) fanned seven without a walk, delivering only 16 balls among 66 pitches. He yielded two hits.
Combined with Jeffrey Springs' six no-hit innings Sunday vs. Detroit, the past two Tampa Bay starters have gone 12 scoreless innings and given up only two hits.
Rays reliever Garrett Cleavinger surrendered an unearned run in the seventh before Jason Adam, Calvin Faucher and finished the deal
Washington's first run came on Lane Thomas' RBI groundout in the seventh.
The Nationals have lost three of four games, failing to score more than two runs in any of the defeats. The homer by Candelario was just his second hit in 14 at-bats this season
--Field Level Media