With four-straight wins against Baltimore in the bag, the Rays needed one more to complete the sweep of the five-game series in Camden Yards. Ryan Yarbrough started for the Rays while John Means started for the Orioles.
Yarbrough’s outing started out poorly, allowing two-straight singles before recording the first out of the game. Renato Nunez hit a bloop single just out of Joey Wendle’s reach to score Hanser Alberto and Austin Hays, giving Baltimore a 2-0 lead. A rocky 18-pitch first inning would be Yarbrough’s only slip-up in the afternoon. Yarbrough went on to throw only 15 pitches over the next two innings.
In the top of the third, Willy Adames prevented Means from striking out the side by hitting a solo home run into the Orioles’ bullpen, reducing Baltimore’s lead down to one. Adames’ home run went 426 feet after leaving his bat at 106.4 mph.
Ah, the beautiful sound of a no-doubter pic.twitter.com/hMjyu0hzIK— Tampa Bay Rays - x (@RaysBaseball) September 20, 2020
Yarbrough’s efficiency continued in the fifth inning, throwing only nine pitches in the inning while recording his fourth strikeout on the day on his 58th pitch thrown.
Yarbrough struck out his fifth and sixth batters in the bottom of the sixth, hoping for some run support from the Rays offense in the top of the seventh. Joey Wendle hit a two-out single after Hunter Renfroe and Mike Zunino struck out but Manuel Margot struck out to end the inning.
Yarby’s great outing continued in the bottom of the seventh, throwing 10 pitches and striking out two more Orioles, doing his part to keep this game within reach for the Rays. Unfortunately the offense did not help him out in the top of the eighth.
Staying in to pitch the bottom of the eighth, Yarbrough was left in to face the top of Baltimore’s order for the fourth time today, but Hanser Alberto hit a leadoff single on Yarborough’s 100th pitch of the game, ending Yarby’s outing.
Oliver Drake was brought in to relieve Yarbrough, who threw seven strong innings despite a rocky first inning. The six innings following the three-hit, two-run, one-strikeout first inning saw Yarbrough allow no runs on two hits while striking out seven and walking two. Drake got out of the inning, keeping it a one-run game for one final offensive attempt at tying it.
The offense did not tie it, and the Rays dropped the series finale 2-1 despite a great outing from Ryan Yarbrough. The division lead reduces to three games after this loss, but with the Yankees currently losing to the Red Sox, the magic number to win the division should reduce down to three if the Red Sox hang on to win.
The Rays will head to New York to begin a three-game series against the Mets tomorrow night, Jacob deGrom will take the hill for the Mets against a pitcher TBD for the Rays with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm.