After a brief weather delay, the Rays and Orioles were off to a start.
Here's how we're rollin' tonight pic.twitter.com/8PeYDGMGUs— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 7, 2021
Before the game, the Rays made a change activating Colin McHugh of the 10-day IL and optioned Luis Head down to AAA Durham.
Nelson Cruz hustled his way to a double in the top of the 1st inning, but couldn’t be brought home.
In the top of the 2nd inning, Yandy Diaz continued his anti-ground ball stance by hitting a home run to give the Rays their first lead of the game.
Joey Wendle singled and Manuel Margot doubled to put runners on second and third base with no outs. Kevin Kiermaier grounded out to bring home Wendle and move Margot to third.
Rays take a 2-0 lead!
Before the Rays took the field, there was some bad news:
#Rays Kiermaier removed from game for precautionary reasons due to right knee soreness— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) August 8, 2021
Brett Phillips took KK’s place.
In the bottom of the 3rd Inning, Shane McClanahan gave up his first hit of the game, a double to Jorge Mateo. Mateo then stole third base on the very next pitch, and an errant throw into left field by Mike Zunino trying to nab Mateo gave the Orioles their first run of the game.
Shane eventually walked Richie Martin, and brought up All-Star Cedric Mullins. Mullins was all over the first pitch fastball and hit it out for a 2-run HR and giving the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
I do wonder if the steal of 3rd, and resulting run shook up sugar Shane, as he tried to side step in his delivery to Mullins after trying to pick off Richie Martin. Later in the inning, Trey Mancini hit a single and as Shane was pitching to Anthony Santander, Shane still had the high leg kick, even with a base stealing threat in Mancini, unlike earlier in the inning. **
**I was informed by the ever-knowledgeable JT Morgan that Mancini has 2 stolen bases in his career. 0 This year in 3 career attempts. Disregard the above.
A 30 pitch inning for Shane finally ended with a Severino strikeout.
In the top of the 5th, Brandon Lowe hit a 108 MPH double off of Spencer Watkins, and then Nelson Cruz took a 1-1 cutter to straight away center for a 2-run HR of his own.
Watkins threw it 87.4 MPH, and Nelson Cruz hit 111 MPH & 440 feet for a HR. Rays take a 4-3 lead.
Joey Wendle took advantage of a fielding error by the Baltimore Orioles defense. A Brett Phillips double down the right field line scored Wendle, and gave Shane McClanahan some breathing room, and a 5-3 lead.
Speaking of Shane McClanahan, besides the 3rd inning, had a very solid outing only allowing 1 other hit over the next four innings. That’s right a Rays pitcher went 7.0 Innings.
Shanes final line was: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks on 15 whiffs.
In the top of the 8th inning is where the fun began.
Joey Wendle opened up the inning with a single, and Margot was able to reach on another error to put two runners on with one out. After a pitching change, Mike Zunino singled to load the bases and bring Brandon Lowe up. Lowe went first pitch swinging and hit an opposite field GRAND SLAM.
The Grand Slam? A 93.8 MPH, 343 ft HR that had an expected batting average (xBA) of: .100.
With two outs, Wander Franco up, who had switched to the left side, and quite frankly - destroyed a baseball:
Unlike Brandon Lowe’s HR, this one was hit 107.8 MPH and 414 ft and a xBA of .960. It was good to see Wander hit one out from the left side.
Small sample sizes but it is odd. He’s been considerably better as a lefty vs RHP for his entire minor league career— Darby Robinson (@darby_robinson) August 8, 2021
To keep you up to date: Rays are up 10-3 after a grand slam by Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco. Austin Meadows grounded out to end the Rays scoring.. FOR NOW.
We would get our first look at newly called up Dietrich Enns. Besides giving up the single, he had a solid outing, getting a strikeout and a double play.
In the top of the 9th inning, the Rays loaded the bases AGAIN, with Brandon Lowe up AGAIN. Bad news, Brandon Lowe didn’t hit another grand slam. Good news: Brandon Lowe walked to bring in another run. A wild pitch by Issac Mattson scored Manuel Margot and give the Rays a 12-3 lead going to the bottom of the 9th inning.
Colin McHugh was called upon to get the final three outs. Besides a double and a walk, McHugh got through the inning and secured the Rays’ 67th win of the season.
Smooth sailing— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 8, 2021
Three Great Things
- Shane McClanahan, Obviously. Career high in innings pitched with only 1 walk. If the Rays make a playoff push, they will need the young starters turning in performances like this.
- Wander Franco left handed HR - The ball was absolutely crushed, and it was great to see have success against right handed pitching.
- Joey Wendle - went 3 for 5 with no strikeouts
Rays go for the sweep tomorrow with Michael Wacha vs Jorge Lopez. Gametime is 1:05 PM