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Rays Take Lead Early and Never Look Back, Beat Orioles 9-6

In honor of coming out of Baltimore with a series win, let's go all bullets:

  • Rays' starter Wade Davis pitched a rather ho-hum performance against the Orioles today (6IP, 5R, 4ER, 8H, 1BB, 3K), but a good offensive performance gave him the win and allowed Davis to remain undefeated in B-More (4-0). Davis' first inning was a rollercoaster of emotion. Having been spotted a three-run lead, Davis began the bottom of the first by allowing a leadoff single to JJ Hardy. Those fears were quickly extinguished as Nick Markakis lined out to Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman who quietly stepped on the bag to double off Hardy. Crisis averted... until Davis grooved a not-quite-90-MPH fastball to Adam Jones who rocketed it to left for a quick solo homer. The rollercoaster wouldn't upswing just yet, however. The only upswing would be of the bat of Vladimir Guerrero who lofted a "slider that didn't slide" to right center for another solo homerun. It was the definition of a wall-scraper. After a Luke Scott single, Davis would finally coax Mark Reynolds into a groundout to short to end the inning, allowing the Rays to hold the lead, 3-2.
  • This would be the theme of the game. With the exception of the second inning, every inning the Rays would score, the Orioles would get at least one run back in the bottom half. That inability to have a shutdown inning made this game feel much more in doubt than the final score would indicate.
  • But, the flipside of that coin, is the Rays scored early and kept the bats going throughout the game.
  • Johnny Damon, Ben Zobrist, Justin Ruggiano, Sean Rodriguez, and Kelly Shoppach all had multi-hit performances, one of Damon's hit's being a solo-homerun to lead off the game and give the Rays a lead from which they would never look back.

More after the jump...

  • The Rays straight-up abused Orioles starter Brian Matuz, chasing him after just 1.1 innings (4ER, 5H, 4BB, 0K). The Rays scored three times in the first on Damon's aforementioned leadoff homer, an Evan Longoria sac-fly to plate Zobrist, and a Mark Reynolds error off the bat of Sean Rodriguez to score Ruggiano. The Rays would send nine batters to the plate in the first and steal four bases, but leave the bases loaded and only come away with the three scores.
  • Adam Jones and Evan Longoria shared a bit of a coincidental day: In the third, Jones would double to right center. The ball was thrown into Longoria at third, but took an odd bounce and came up off his forearm and went into the camera-well. Jones was awarded two bases on the ball being out of play and thus scored on his own hit, giving him a kind of bastardized inside-the-park homerun. Not to be outdone, in the eighth inning, Longoria hit a ball on the screws to center. The ball was headed straight for Jones, but suddenly knuckled and made a left turn at Albuquerque. Jones whiffed and the ball rolled all the way to the wall. Zobrist, who was on first, scored easily, and Longoria rounded all the bases and slid home safely just before the tag was applied for a real inside-the-parker, the first of his career.
  • Kelly Shoppach didn't have any magic in the first inning as he flew out to left with the bases loaded to end the inning, but he did come through with a hard single to left in the seventh inning that plated two runs. Shoppach also caught Felix Pie trying to steal second in the eighth inning, his 8th of the year. But, Shoppach wasn't done yet: he sent his bat flying into the stands before singling in the ninth. I'm not sure if "Bats Accidently Thrown in Stands" (BATS) is an actual stat, but I want to know whether Shop has more Caught Stealing's or BATS. Anyone know?
  • Cesar Ramos, the closest thing we have to a LOOGY, served a home run to lefty Luke Scott to lead off the 8th.
  • J.P. Howell came in relief in the ninth and worked a flyout and a GIDP to close out the game before the rains came. It was his first save of the year.
  • Johnson, Elliot, Super Utility Specialist, rose from the DL today and went 0-3 with a walk. Hallelujah, he is risen.
  • Tomorrow's game is a Revlon affair in Detroit against the Tigers. Alex Cobb v. Phil Coke in the battle of the better 4-letter C-Word. Gametime @ 7:05 for the last game of this road trip before the Rays head home to Tampa to face the AL East leading Boston Red Sox who've won nine in a row. Fan-tastical.