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Rays 15, Orioles 5: Rays tear down the opposition on Demo Night

The Rays finally reached 4 games over .500. Seriously, it really happened. No bamboozles.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was a nice change of pace.

The Rays got out ahead early, and they stayed ahead early, picking on ol’ Ubaldo Jimenez, who wasn’t able to make it out of the third inning. Jimenez, however, was able to continue one of the more impressive streaks in baseball this year.

If you’ve been paying attention to baseball recently, you might have noticed the Orioles slipping in the standings—hopefully you have been paying attention to baseball, since the Rays have been slowly working their way up the AL East, and it’s mostly been good to be a Rays fan. One of the reasons the O’s aren’t performing has been the ineffectiveness of their pitchers, and tonight the Orioles tied a record that was set back when it was called “The Great War.”

Perhaps even crazier: the record was tied by the second inning.

The table was set with a four-run first inning. It took five batters for Ubaldo to record his first out, but by then Evan Longoria had already singled home Mallex Smith and Corey Dickerson—both of whom reached on walks—to score a pair. Logan Morrison got into the action too, with a full count triple that skipped past Adam Jones into center field that scored Longo. After Shane Peterson brought LoMo home with a fielder’s choice out, the Rays were sitting pretty with a 4-0 lead.

One of the things that Archer has struggled with a bit this year has been offering shutdown innings right after the Rays score. Two separate times, the Rays would score four runs in an inning. Two separate times, Archer would allow two O’s runs in the very next frame. Naturally, if you score four and allow two every inning, you’ll win every game you play, but it’s still not advisable.

The O’s could have done a lot more damage in the second, but Archer was helped out by a shiny defensive double play.

Very smooth.

The Rays manufactured a run in the second, ending in a sac fly from Evan Longoria to bring home Derek Norris for a 5-2 lead. The 5-run O’s streak officially remained intact. An inning later the Rays scored four more on a couple of two-run home runs from some of the more unlikely spots in the order:

Shane Peterson and Derek Norris: Bash Brothers. Jimenez left after the Norris home run, allowing 9 runs on only 7 hits, but 4 walks.

Per the contract I signed with that gypsy woman, Archer was therefore cosmically obligated to allow a couple runs to the Orioles the next half-inning. These came on a two-run double by Jonathan Schoop, Noted Rays Killer. His blood debt paid, Archer managed to harness tonight’s uneven stuff to strand Schoop on the bases.

In the fourth the Rays did not score, but in the fifth the Rays batted around, scoring five runs on—get this—only one hit. The first and only hit of the inning was actually originally called an out, but after about 3 seconds of replay review the umpires reversed the decision, allowing Derek Norris the single he deserved. From then on, the Orioles seemed to develop a collective case of the yips. Alec Asher walked Mallex Smith and Corey Dickerson, and Buck Showalter called for Miguel Castro, a fireballer of a pitcher. With the bases loaded, Castro too walked Evan Longoria, giving him his fourth RBI of the night.

Oh, Neil. You really thought that would be all the offense tonight?

Morrison, on the first pitch, grounded a ball that Trey Mancini tried to sort of backhand, but the ball skipped off his glove and everyone stayed safe. So far, two runs had scored. Souza Jr., the next batter, grounded a tailor-made double play ball to shortstop that the shortstop simply boffed, scoring two more runs. Shane Peterson hit a short sac fly to push the score to a baffling 14-4, giving the Rays their season-high run total by the fifth inning.

The Orioles scored another run in the sixth, but the strangest play of the night came in the Rays’ half of the inning. With two outs, a runner on first, and two strikes, Castro threw a sweeping slider to Corey Dickerson that he dove out of the way for. In flailing to escape the pitch—Castro had already hit Derek Norris on the wrist earlier in the inning—Dickerson let the bat cross the plane of home plate. The Orioles catcher quickly signaled to the third base ump, who said Dickerson went around. He technically did, but the lack of intent was evident: Corey was simply trying not to get hit. Regardless, the inning ended.

If you thought that Corey’s non-strike strikeout would be the only strange play in the inning, you’d be wrong. With one out and a runner on first, Manny Machado popped out to Logan Morrison, who had to shove past the runner on first to make the catch. The first base ump was on it immediately, calling interference on the runner Seth Smith. Although Machado popped out, it was ruled that Machado would go to first, and Smith would sit the pine: Smith and Machado basically swapped spots. Still, play stopped for a couple of minutes so the umps could sort it out. Austin Pruitt, who entered in relief of Archer, still put up a goose egg to keep the Orioles down 14-5.

In the seventh, Logan Morrison did the thing again::

He is now tied for second in MLB home runs (22) behind WWE headliner who accidentally wondered onto a baseball field Aaron Judge.

Austin Pruitt, on his end, did his job well. Although he entered in the seventh, his final three innings allowed him to pick up the save. He came in and threw strikes, which is what every old school baseball guy tells you to do when you come in with a big lead. Through three, he allowed just a trio of hits, striking out one guy. Yay Pruitt!

The Rays look to go five games over .500 tomorrow against O’s starter Dylan Bundy. I know, such a record seems little more than the fever dream of a madman, but it’s within our grasp! The math checks out!