The Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 8-0 to win their 10th game in 13 games and their 5th in a row at Tropicana Field. The victory improves the Rays record to a season high 7 games over .500 at 34-27 and with the loss the Orioles fall to 34-28.
Jeremy Hellickson (4-2, 5.18 ERA) was outstanding working 6 scoreless innings allowing only 4 hits striking out 5 and walking none. It was the first time Hellickson has won back to back decisions since July 24 and July 29, 2012. On the afternoon he threw 96 pitches and 62 for strikes. Alex Torres worked a 10-pitch scoreless 7th inning striking out 2 hitters, Jamey Wright came in to work a scoreless 8th,and Kyle Farnsworth came in to work a scoreless 9th.
For Alex Torres it continued an impressive streak of appearances in 2013 that send a message to the Rays that he is done with Triple-A. In his 5 appearances between two separate stints with the Rays he has allowed 1 hit and 3 walks with 14 strike outs in 11.1 innings pitched.
The Orioles threatened Hellickson in just two innings, the 1st and the 5th. In the 1st they put 2-on with 2-out and forced 23 pitches but Chris Davis popped out harmlessly to 3rd to end the inning.
After retiring 10 batters in a row Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy opened the 5th with back-to-back singles before Chris Dickerson struck out. Ryan Flaherty sent a ground ball to James Loney who threw to 2nd for the force out and Yunel Escobar's relay throw was in time for the double play but Hellickson was late getting to the bag and Flaherty was safe. The play did not hurt as Nate McClouth flew out to left to end the inning.
The Rays grabbed an early 1-0 lead on a 2-out RBI by Evan Longoria to drive in Ben Zobrist who had doubled. They extended their lead to 3-0 in the 2nd inning after Luke Scott drew a 1-out walk, moved to second on a single by Jose Lobaton, and came into score on a Yunel Escobar RBI single to push the lead to 2-0. Gausman came back to strike out Matt Joyce for the 2nd out in the inning but was unable to escape further damage as Ben Zobrist delivered a 2-out RBI single to extend the Rays lead to 4-0.
The Rays broke the game open in the bottom of the 5th inning and in the process knocked Orioles starter Kevin Gausman out of the game. Ben Zobrist doubled to lead off the inning, Evan Longoria drew a 1-out walk and James Loney delivered an RBI single to give the Rays a 4-0 lead. Desmond Jennings walked to load the bases and left hander T.J. McFarland was brought in to the game to face the left handed hitting Scott who was just 5 for his lat 44 (.114 avg) and had gone 11 games without an RBI. Scott met the challenge by lacing a triple into the right field corner driving in 3 runs. Jose Lobaton chased Scott home with a double to complete the Rays scoring.
The Rays bottom of the order was the catalyst for the Rays offense today. The trio combined to go 7 for 11 with 3 runs scored drove in 5 runs and drew a walk. Luke Scott was 1-3 with a walk, a run scored and 3 RBI, Jose Lobaton was 3-4 with a run scored and a RBI, and Yunel Escobar was 3 for 4 with an RBI.
Jose Lobaton continues to shine for the Rays. He is hitting .329 (25 for 76) with 9 extra-base hits, 10 RBI and 10 walks over his last 26 games a span which dates back to April 25th. In that time he leads all catchers (min 75 PAs) with a .907 OPS.
The Rays will look for their second consecutive sweep against the Orioles tomorrow afternoon at 1:40. The Rays will send Matt Moore (8-1, 2.95 ERA) to the mound and the Orioles will counter with Chris Tillman (5-2, 3.97 ERA).