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Rays 5, Orioles 2: Longo, Shaffer shine

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Longo hits his 35th, and Richie Shaffer chips in with the bat and the glove

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

I don’t care what place you’re in and what draft position you’re lobbying for; winning is better than losing. Fax are fax. And when the kids chip in to help make it happen? Well, that just makes a lost season feel a little less lost.

The Orioles jumped on Matt Andriese early. Adam Jones led off the bottom of the first with a double to right on a play that Steven Souza nearly went through the wall trying to catch. Two productive outs later, and the O’s were up 1-0.

In the third, the Orioles again got their offense going with back-to-back singles, the first by J.J. Hardy off Andriese’s leg, and the second a grounder through the hole to right. Once again, the O’s got ‘em over and got ‘em in. 2-0 Orioles.

On the offensive side, the Rays were slow to get things rolling, despite the fact that Chris Tillman didn’t have his best stuff. Tillman’s breaking pitches were not sharp, he yanked several fastballs, and left a few others out over the plate. Yet through three, the Rays were hitless.

With one out in the fourth, Evan Longoria finally got the Rays off the schneid when he sliced a fly to right field that Michael Bourn made an ill-advised dive for. He came up short, and Longo didn’t stop running till he reached third. He would score one batter later, when Brad Miller grounded to Chris Davis. The ball was hit fairly sharply, and Davis attempted to make a play on Longoria at the plate but took a beat too long in making up his mind. Longoria slid in safely. 2-1 Orioles.

Longoria led off the sixth inning, still with the Rays’ only hit on the night. On 3-2, he unloaded on a Tillman fastball. It was long gone....but foul. Inexplicably, Tillman’s next pitch was also a fastball in almost the same location. Evan didn’t miss this one, sending it into the Rays bullpen.

2-2 game.

Brad Miller followed by hitting a cue shot up the third base line, right into the bag for an infield single. Miller then moved to second on a Tillman wild pitch. Two outs later, Richie Shaffer came to plate, and took a 2-2 fastball deep to center over the head of Adam Jones, scoring Miller.

3-2 Rays.

Matt Andriese — who had done a nice job settling down after the mildly shaky start — gave up a single to Hyun Soo Kim, then struck out Manny Machado. Then, with Chris Davis coming to the plate, Kevin Cash brought out the hook. Andriese was done after just 68 pitches. Five and a third innings, six hits, two runs, three strikeouts.

Oh, and the guy Cash pulled Andriese for? Dana Eveland.

No, really.

Now, it worked out. On a 1-1 count, Davis rolled over a fastball. Richie Shaffer made a nice play to get the angle for his throw to Longoria covering second, then hustled back to first for the return throw to complete the double play.

So the results were fine. I just don’t understand the process. And I never will.

Chase Whitley worked the seventh and eighth innings and looked sharp. The fastball velocity looks to be back to his pre-surgery 90-91. His breaking ball especially was sharp, and his changeup had good depth. He gave up just a walk in his two innings while also recording a strikeout.

The Rays tacked on a couple insurance runs in the eighth against the goofy delivery of Oliver Drake. Longoria again got it started, this time reaching on an error. Two outs later, with Longo still at first, Steven Souza tried to drop down a bunt. Instead, he popped it up. Luckily, Machado was playing very deep. The ball finally landed about halfway up the third base line, and stayed fair for an unlikely bunt single. Richie Shaffer followed by working a walk a load the bases for Mikie Mahtook. Mahtook took a 1-0 fastball off the label and dumped it softly in front of Michael Bourn. Longoria and Souza scored, and Shaffer hustled to third.

5-2 Rays.

Drake was pulled at that point and replaced with Mychal Givens. Givens threw the 0-1 pitch to the backstop, but the ball took just one hop directly back to Matt Wieters. Wieters flipped to Givens to easily get Shaffer who was coming down the line. It was the right read from Richie, just a bad break.

Alex Colome came on to close it out in the ninth. He did yield a lead off single to Machado, but that was it. He also benefited from another nice play from Shaffer, this one an over-the-shoulder catch of a Jonathan Schoop foul ball.

In tomorrow’s 1:35 wrap up game, the Rays look to win the series as Jake Odorizzi takes on Wade Miley.