Brandon Allen made a good first impression on the Rays -- and an even better second impression.
In his Tampa Bay debut Wednesday, he entered as an eighth-inning pinch hitter and drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the decisive run in the Rays' 3-2 win over the Angels. On Thursday afternoon, he hit a pinch-hit, walk-off two-run homer to give the Rays a 4-3 win and as series sweep.
"It was amazing. Everybody wants that moment, and I'm thankful I got it," Allen said.
The Rays had already taking a liking to Allen based on what manager Joe Maddon called "A-plus-plus" makeup. Then he delivered two wins.
"Just conversationally, he's made a great impression already," Maddon said. "And then to do this, to basically win two games for us two nights in a row, is pretty special."
Allen's blast -- a massive shot to right estimated at 431 feet -- came in his first official at-bat for the Rays, and his first since April 7, when he was with Oakland before being placed on waivers.
"It's all joy right now," Allen said.
Allen had gone 0-for-7 in three games for the A's this year.
--Rookie LHP Matt Moore remains winless through his first four starts, but he was encouraged by the effect of some mechanical adjustments he made before Thursday's start. "Overall, I felt great," said Moore, who allowed three runs (two earned) in 5 2/3 innings against the Angels. "I felt like the timing of all my stuff was better. I wasn't thinking about mechanics or mechanisms or all that stuff that sometimes you get to think about. It was just getting down the hill and going right at them. That made all my pitches sharper and the quality of them better."
--2B/RF Ben Zobrist and SS Sean Rodriguez made unusual baserunning blunders. Zobrist was picked off second base, and Rodriguez caught rounding third too widely after a force at second. Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged they were "significant mistakes."
--RF Matt Joyce continues to hit well and often. He had a double and a triple Thursday, giving him seven extra-base hits in his last seven games. Overall, Joyce has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games and has a .322 average. "I think a lot of things are happening with me," Joyce said. "I feel like I'm getting more confident, I'm learning a lot and I'm growing."
--LF Desmond Jennings extended his hitting streak to eight games when he went 1-for-3 with a walk. He is 10-for-32 (.313) with three homers and six RBI during the streak.
--RHP James Shields, who has won his last three games and worked at least eight innings in each, is ready to face the Rangers. "They're off to a hot start for sure," Shields said. "That's one team you just can't take lightly. You've got to go out there and pitch your game, stay aggressive and really make your pitches. If you make mistakes, they're going to hurt you."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I might have bruises." -- PH Brandon Allen, on surviving the postgame celebration after his game-winning homer Thursday.