ST. PETERSBURG, Fla—First baseman Jake Bauers drove in three runs as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 on Thursday night to get back over .500 (58-57). The win came in the Rays 49th one run game this season, which leads the majors.
Tampa Bay again using an opener to start the game sent righty Hunter Wood to the mound. And in the top of the first, Wood allowed a double to former Rays shortstop Tim Beckham & a walk to second baseman Jonathan Villar. But Baltimore was unable to take advantage of the baserunners because Wood got designated hitter Mark Trumbo to hit into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
The Orioles had another chance to score the game’s first run in the top of the second. But this time, they didn’t waste the opportunity, as Wood allowed a lead-off single to leftfielder Trey Mancini. And with one out, the Orioles put together three straight hits. First, they got an infield single from first baseman Chris Davis, then centerfielder Joey Rickard drove in two runs with a triple to left-center & catcher Austin Wynns made it a three run inning with a run scoring single.
Meanwhile Baltimore starter David Hess threw a total of 19 pitches to get the Rays first six batters in order. But trailing 3-0, Tampa Bay got a run back when with two outs Hess walked catcher Jesus Sucre & outfielder Mallex Smith. Then third baseman Matt Duffy doubled home Sucre. The Orioles were able to maintain a two run lead because Smith was thrown out at home trying to score on that Duffy hit.
After Wood struggled through his two innings, Rays manager Kevin Cash looked for rookie righty Yonny Chirinos to keep the deficit at two & Chirinos did just that. After allowing a two out hit in the top of the third, Chirinos retired 10 straight hitters including throwing 3 straight 1-2-3 innings. And with Chirinos keeping the Orioles off the scoreboard, the Rays chipped away at the two run deficit. They got within a run after a solo home run by designated hitter Ji-Man Choi in the fourth & then tied it up at 3-3 in the sixth after Hess allowed back to back singles to Smith & Duffy followed by a sac fly by Bauers.
Chrinos threw 34 pitches in retiring 9 straight batters in the fourth, fifth & sixth innings. But Orioles third baseman Renato Nunez ended Chirinos’ string of retired batters when he led off the top of the seventh with a solo home run deep into the seats in leftfield.
Trailing by a run, the Rays took their first lead of the game in the seventh. Facing Orioles reliever Cody Carroll, shortstop Willy Adames singled to start the inning & after one out, stole second. Sucre flied out for the second out in the inning but Carroll walked the next two batters, Smith & Duffy. And with the bases loaded, Bauers ripped a single to right-center, driving in Adames & Smith, giving the Rays a 5-4 lead.
In the top of the eighth, reliever Jose Alvarado retired the Orioles in order. And one night after blowing a save, Cash put the ball back into reliever Sergio Romo’s hands. And this time Romo worked a perfect 9th inning, throwing 12 pitches to seal the win & pick up his 14th save this season.
The Rays pack their bags & look for the second straight win on Friday night when they head across the border for the first time this season to take on the Blue Jays in Toronto. Rays All-Star lefty Blake Snell (12-5 2.2) goes up against Marco Estrada (5-8 4.65), with coverage beginning on 620 WDAE at 6pm with Steve Carney & The Inside Pitch, followed by the first pitch at 7:10pm.