The Tampa Bay Rays used solid pitching and timely home runs to earn a 5-4 victory against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday evening at Camden Yards. Erik Bedard pitched seven efficient innings and earned the win for the Rays. Wei-Yin Chen was knocked out of the game in the fourth and was tagged with the loss. Jake McGee stopped a late charge by the Orioles and was credited with the save.
Desmond Jennings started the scoring early in this contest, hitting a home run to leadoff the game and setting the tone for the rest of the game.
The Rays struck again off of Oriole starter Chen in the second inning. Sean Rodriguez hit a one out single to left to give the Rays a baserunner before Logan Forsythe (!) finally hit his first home run as a Ray to center to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
Forsythe contributed to more runs in the fourth inning, hitting a leadoff single before Kevin Kiermaier hit another ball out of the park, the Rays' third home run of the afternoon, to give the Rays a 5-0 lead. After a walk to Jennings, Brad Brach came on in relief Chen, who had enjoyed a recent run of success against the Rays. Brach ended the inning without yielding any more runs.
Bedard was excellent most of the day, allowing his first run on a solo shot to right by Nick Markakis in the bottom of the sixth inning on a poorly located curveball.
Oriole relievers shut the Rays down after Chen's departure from the game, striking out eight while allowing four baserunners in five and two thirds innings.
Bedard encountered serious trouble in the bottom of the eighth. JJ Hardy led the inning off with a single to right and scored on Manny Machado's home run off of the foul pole in left field, chasing Bedard from the game and bringing on Grant Balfour. Balfour, who has been pitching better of late, induced a fly ball from Jonathan Schoop but allowed a pinch hit single to Delmon Young, bringing up the top of the order. Nick Markakis singled to right, moving Young to second. After a prolonged at-bat, Balfour popped Steve Pearce up for the second out of the inning. Joe Maddon then replaced Balfour with McGee to face the red hot Adam Jones. Jones hit a single that brought Young around to score, cutting the Rays' lead to 5-4. McGee managed to get a fly ball out from Nelson Cruz to end the inning without blowing the save.
It appeared as if the Rays may score an insurance run when Ben Zobrist hit a one out triple to deep right. The next batter, Brandon Guyer, hit a ball hard right at a drawn in Jonathan Schoop to bring up Evan Longoria, who struck out looking to end the inning.
McGee locked down the ninth, earning his third save of the season and a tip of the cap from Manny Machado, who struck out swinging on an excellent curveball from McGee.
-Rays pitching needs 19 strikeouts in the remaining two games in June to set the all time record for strikeouts in a month.
-The Rays take on the Orioles again tomorrow at 1:35 ET as Alex Cobb faces Miguel Gonzalez . The Rays will be looking to win the series against the Orioles while the Orioles will be looking for a split.