It was a wild one in Camden Yards Saturday afternoon, as the Rays’ offense stayed red-hot and the starting pitching continued to struggle. After plating 12 runs in the series opener Friday night, the Rays put up another 10 Saturday and this time the bullpen helped the cause.
Roberto Hernandez was on the hill for Tampa Bay, and didn’t hesitate to get rocked by the Orioles’ big bats. Baltimore started off the game with a four-run, seven-hit first inning which included a pair of home runs.
Down 4-0, the Rays would get on the board in the third as Jair Jurrjens—who was making his first big league start of the season—hit a roadbump after two very quick first innings. Yunel Escobar drove in a run with an RBI double, and a then Matt Joyce cut the deficit to just one with a two-run bomb to right.
The O’s would get one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Hernandez was pulled after hitting the first batter, which brought in the recently-impressive Cesar Ramos. He let up an RBI double to J.J. Hardy, which completed an ugly line for Hernandez: 5 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 1 K in 2.0 IP (49 pitches, 36 strikes).
In the fourth, the Orioles would extend their lead to three with an Adam Jones RBI groundout.
Another Jose Molina double to deep center set up a scoring opportunity for the Rays in the fifth. Tampa Bay would cash in, as Matt Joyce delivered with a big hit, this time a two-out RBI double.
In the bottom half of the inning, Joe Maddon would replace Ramos with Alex Torres, who would be the hero for the Rays in this ballgame. Torres turned in four scoreless (and hittless) innings to keep his team in the game and the deficit at just two runs going into the ninth.
Baltimore’s Jim Johnson, a usually solid closer who’s been struggling as of late, wasn’t able to seal to win for the O’s. Luke Scott grounded out to begin the inning, but Tampa’s bats would unleash on Johnson after that.
Kelly Johnson started the rally off with a solo homer. Then the Rays loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a broken-bat bloop single. And then Matt Joyce, once again coming up clutch with the big hit, hit a two-run double to put the Rays ahead 7-6.
Ben Zobrist followed with a double to give the Rays two more insurance runs. The Rays would again load the bases, and a RBI walk by Luke Scott—who began the inning—put the Rays in double digits in the runs column for the second straight game.
The Rays improve to 22-20 on the year, and will go for the sweep this afternoon with their early-season ace on the mound. Matt Moore (7-0, 2.44 ERA) looks to pick up his eighth win of the season versus Chris Tillman (3-1, 3.40 ERA)
News and Notes:
- Jose Molina is listed as day-to-day after exiting the game with left hamstring tightness after running to second on his double in the fifth inning.
- It appeared Evan Longoria’s 11-game hit streak would be snapped Saturday unless he would get another opportunity in extra innings. However, Longo would get another chance to hit in the midst of the ninth inning rally that sent 10 men to the plate. He popped a bloop double down the right field line to extend the streak to a career-high 12 games.
- The Rays have announced that Jake Odorizzi (4-0 with a 3.83 ERA this year with Triple-A Durham) will start Monday to replace the injured David Price. A corresponding move is to be made Sunday.
- It looks like the Rays are calling up left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau from Durham to take Alex Torres’ place on the roster. After four innings of work Saturday, Torres is heading back to the minors (hopefully only temporarily). Belivau has posted a 4.35 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 10.1 IP so far this season with Bulls. He spent some time in the majors with the Texas Rangers last year, putting up a 4.58 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 17.2 IP. Beliveau is likely only for today’s game, as he’ll likely be sent back down when the Rays call up Odorizzi.