Sitting through four hours of meaningless baseball doesn't sound all that appealing at face value, but when that four hours includes 19 runs, 7 homers and a career day from hometown hero Matt Joyce, it becomes four hours well spent.
No Rays starter was hitless today, and I'm underselling it when I say that Matt Joyce went absolutely bananas. His final line today: 6 AB, 3R, 5H, 4 RBI, a double and 2 homers.
The first five innings were a great back and forth affair until the Rays blew it wide open with seven runs in the 6th. Our boys got started early with a Desmond Jennings walk, followed by a Ben Zobrist RBI double into the right field corner that would end in an out at 3rd as Zorilla tried to stretch it into a triple. 1-0 Rays.
In the 3rd, boy did Matt Joyce ever get ahold of one as he lifted a Miguel Gonzalez offering into deep right center to bring the Rays up 2-0.
In the bottom of the frame, The O's struck back with a Steve Pearce single to knock in Nick Markakis. 2-1 Rays.
The O's took the lead in the bottom of the 4th when Alex Cobb left a 91 mph fastball up and over the plate that Manny Machado hit to Mars to plate both himself and JJ Hardy. 3-2 O's.
In the 5th, things got interesting. Deezy would start the inning off with a walk, but would be picked off on a great play by catcher Nick Hundley. Hundley backhanded a pitch in the dirt, then popped up and nailed an off-balance and off-base Jennings for the out. The timing was unfortunate, as Ben Zobrist would take a pitch into the outfield seats for a solo shot in the next AB. 3-3. The O's really dodged a bullet here, as the Rays had the bases juiced before a Logan Forsythe strike out to end the threat.
There were shenanigans in the bottom of the frame. With Steve Pearce up and Markakis on first, Pearce struck out swinging, but left his bat up and in front of Molina in the throwing lane while Markakis stole 2nd, preventing Molina from making anything remotely resembling an accurate throw, and even hitting his arm on Pearce's bat on his attempt.. Maddon came out to have a conversation about it, but interference ultimately was not called. Markakis would later score on a Molina passed ball. Low class move by Steve Pearce and the typically low class O's that had Molina beyond hot. Karma would not be the O's friend from this point on.
The top of the 6th was a Rays Offensive Extravaganza. Check this out:
- Kevin Kiermaier homer on a line drive to right.
- Matt Joyce RBI single to center to drive in Zo.
- James Loney 2 RBI double to plate Joyce and Longo.
- Brandon Guyer double to knock in Loney.
- Logan Forsythe homer to score Guyer.
And those were just the scoring plays. I advise you to give the highlights a look, as this is the most fun inning of Rays offense in some time. The Rays sent 11 men to the plate in the 6th inning and scored 7 runs. 10-4 Rays.
In the 7th, Joyce would hit his second dinger on the day. A no-doubter off the bat to the standing area in right field that would score Jennings as well. 12-4 Rays.
Alex Cobb did not have his best stuff today, so it was nice to see him finally get some run support. He would go 5. Brad Boxberger, Kirby Yates and Cesar Ramos would pitch effectively to get to the final frame. Maddon would attempt to have Ramos finish the game, but in the bottom of the 9th he would allow a Schoop single, a Hundley walk and a Ryan Flaherty 3 run homer to bring the O's within 5. Luckily, Joe would not sit on his hands, as he called in Peralta from the bullpen to strike out Caleb Joseph to end the game.
Today would mark the Rays 35th win of the season. A victory that included 12 runs, 18 hits and a 5 hit, 2 homer game from the Caucasian Barry Bonds, Matt Joyce. Good times. The boys head to the Big Apple tomorrow where the press conference to announce Derek Shelton's multi-year extension will surely be had.