The Tampa Bay Rays moved to 32-18 on Thursday afternoon in the first half of their doubleheader with the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays prevailed by a final score of 3-1, with Diego Castillo collecting the win and Cesar Valdez taking the loss.
The game kicked off the rare five-game series, all to take place by Sunday.
Yoshi Tsutsugo got the leadoff spot, which I for one was in love with. Yoshi got a single to start the game, but O’s starter, Dean Kremer, settled in nicely, holding the Rays off the board in the first.
Blake Snell got the start for Tampa, coming off one of his best starts of the season, one in which he threw a season-high for pitches.
In the second inning, newly-acquired Brett Phillips got his first hit with the Rays and got them on the board in doing so, with a two-out triple into the right field corner to put the Rays up 1-0.
One the other side of things, Snell looked great, and really in his comfort zone, something the Rays will need to see this postseason if the club is going to make some serious noise. With the teams back to trading zeroes, Austin Meadows was pulled in the third inning, with left oblique soreness. Hopefully there’s nothing to see here.
In the bottom of the sixth, with the game cruising along, Snell allowed a leadoff walk, and after a sac bunt found himself being pulled from a game that looked like a good chance at his first career complete game. Snell was pulled after just 73 pitches through 5.1 and didn’t seem to love the decision.
The move looked even worse once we got the to results side of things, as Diego Castillo gave up a two-out single to Ryan “I’m ready to be a thorn in the Rays side for the next five years” Mountcastle in the sixth, giving away the Rays small lead.
Thankfully, Randy Arozarena gotta the pinch-hit leadoff walk to start the seventh, A Michael Perez double into the right field corner moved Arozarena to the third, and some good, aggressive, off-the-bat base running from Arozarena put the Rays back ahead in the top of the seventh. The next batter, Brandon Lowe, was able to elevate a changeup for a sac fly to give the Rays an insurance run for the final frame.
Castillo was left in for the seventh and made things a little interesting in closing out the win for the Rays, but ultimately was able to do so on his season-high 34th pitch of the night—a great play from Wendle and Adames to secure the win. Stay tuned for Game 2 of the Rays-O’s doubleheader later tonight