After a brief one hour rain delay, the Rays took the field against former Rays pitcher Alex Cobb and the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays looked to rebound after losing back-to-back games in Atlanta and dropping to 4-3.
Early in the game it looked like the Rays were going to have that rebound. Willy Adames laced a two-out double down the left field line in the first inning and would come around to score on a double by Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.
Blake Snell took the bump opposite Cobb, and immediately found himself in trouble. Willy Adames got eaten up on a hard hit groundball by Austin Hays and was assigned an error. Then hot hitting Hanser Alberto hit his own double down the left field line to put two men in scoring position. Snell would respond, however. Renato Nunez grounded out to Brandon Lowe with the infield in, failing to bring in a run. Snell then struck out Anthony Santander on a great curveball and got Pedro Severino to flyout to snuff out the threat.
The Rays put pressure on the Orioles in the second inning, loading the bases with a double and two walks with two outs, but failing to score. Snell struck out the side in the bottom half of the inning.
Zilla’s putting on a clinic pic.twitter.com/e2aJbBSSow— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 1, 2020
The Rays continued to work Cobb in the third. Adames lead off the inning with a ten pitch walk and came around to score on Hunter Renfroe’s double to right field. Renfroe’s double was the Rays’ third double, all coming in over 100 MPH. Snell got through the bottom of the third in order, protecting the Rays’ 2-0 lead.
While the Rays went down quietly in the top of the fourth, the Orioles mounted their comeback in the bottom half. Snell left a fastball down the middle to Anthony Santander and he drove it over the wall in center field, bouncing off of Kevin Kiermaier’s glove before exiting the field of play. Snell then left another fastball out over the heart of the plate and Pedro Severino took it over the center field wall. Snell was then removed from the game, not recording an out in the fourth. The Orioles had squared Snell up well in the inning, with Renato Nunez’s double (105.1 MPH), Anthony Santander’s home run (105.3) and Pedro Severino’s home run (104.5) all coming off the bat over 100 MPH. He would be replaced by right-hander Pete Fairbanks, who let up a single in the inning but recorded three straight outs after, including a nice running catching deep in center field by the former platinum glove award winner Kevin Kiermaier, keeping the Orioles’ lead at 3-2.
Snell was able to stretch his pitch count out to 53 pitches, but he’s still in search of consistency on his pitches after a short ramp up period in July.
After 87 pitches and multiple long, laborious innings, the Orioles pulled Cobb after four innings in favor of lefty Paul Fry. With a left on left matchup, Brandon Lowe hit a slider over the right field wall to tie the game at 3-3. Fry would complete the inning without any further damage.
What's good: B. Lowe got his first homer on the year— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 1, 2020
What's even better: For every home run @Sweet_n_Lowe5 hits this season, he and his wife, Madison, will donate $100 to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay https://t.co/dq4rX1eq9W pic.twitter.com/Sh94Akg7dO
In the bottom half of the frame, Hanser Alberto singled off of Pete Fairbanks. He then would steal second base and advance to third base on a Fairbanks wild pitch. After walking Renato Nunez, Kevin Cash pulled Fairbanks for Andrew Kittredge. Anthony Santander would jump on a first pitch fastball and dunk it into center field for an RBI-single, giving the Orioles a 4-3 lead.
The Orioles got through the top of the sixth in order, using Paul Fry for two outs and Shawn Armstrong for one. Aaron Loup came in to pitch for the Rays in the bottom of the sixth and let up two base runners to start the inning. After a DJ Stewart sacrifice bunt, Loup managed to forced Andrew Velazquez into a pop up to short left field, failing to score the run. Diego Castillo finished the frame with a groundout.
With one out in the seventh, Ji-Man Choi doubled off the right field wall, forcing Armstrong out of the game. Hard throwing lefty Tanner Scott hit Lowe to start off his evening but struck out the next two batters to rap up the seventh, holding the Orioles’ lead at 4-3. In the bottom half of the inning, Ryan Thompson found himself in a bases loaded situation after three softly hit singles. Andrew Velazquez tapped a soft groundball to first baseman Choi, but a sloppy toss to home plate prevented the Rays from recording an out, stretching the Orioles’ lead to 5-3. Thompson picked up back-to-back strikeouts to limit the damage, however.
Tampa native Mychal Givens got through the top of the eighth inning 1-2-3 to hold the Orioles’ lead at 5-3. In the bottom half, hot hitting Hanser Alberto took a Thompson pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run, making the score 6-3 Orioles.
The score would hold there, as former Rays pitcher Cole Sulser went 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth inning with two strikeouts to seal the Rays’ loss.
The loss drops the Rays to 4-4 and pushes the losing streak to three games. With two errors tonight and shaky performances from Blake Snell and Pete Fairbanks, it will be key for the Rays to right the ship on the sloppy defense and inconsistent pitching they’ve shown over the first week-plus of the season. The Rays will play game two of this 3-game weekend series tomorrow night at 7:35, with Tyler Glasnow facing off against Wade LeBlanc.