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Rays 5, Orioles 3: Mejía Stars

Lots of hard hit balls today. I mean a LOT

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

In the second game of the season, the Rays notched their second win beating the Orioles again, this time by a count of 5-3. The game featured some great pitching — especially from Josh Fleming — and good at bats from, well, from everybody. And they did it in the tidy 2:33!

Before we get to the game, take a minute to remember Randy’s Rookie of the Year season.

Okay, on to the game. The Rays sent Drew Rasmussen to the hill to face Jordan Lyles. The Rays also sent up a fun lineup. Three switch hitters, and only one righty.

The two side hung zeros through the first inning and a half. Rasmussen looked good, and he was helped by his defense.

But the Rays broke out in the bottom of the second, sending eight men to the plate while scoring three time. It seemed that everybody smoking the ball all inning long. Josh Lowe started things and lined one into the right-center gap, then cruised his way all the way to third for a stand up triple. And my goodness. JLowe has those long strides that make his speed look effortless, à la B.J. Upton.

That’s not Jose, Bally…

Francisco Mejía drove the run home with a hard single to right, and KK followed by slashing one the other way that skipped into the seats along the line for a ground rule double. Taylor Walls then accepted a walk to load the bases for Brett Phillips.

Phillips ripped one up the first base line. Mountcastle made a diving stop, then thought about going home before thinking better of it and stepping on first, allowing Mejia to score. 2-0 Rays.

Brandon Lowe drew a walk, reloading the bases for Wander, who scorched one to right, but right at Austin Hays. It was deep enough to score KK making it 3-0 Rays.

The Orioles got on the board a half inning later. Rasmussen issued a bad walk to Jorge Mateo, who then stole second. But just when it looked like Drew was going to work his way out of the jam, Mountcastle lifted the first pitch deep to right for a two-out, two run homer. 3-2 Rays.

Santander and Mancini followed with hard singles, bringing out the Pitcher Whisperer, Kyle Snyder, for a little chat. Whatever Master Splinter said, it worked, as Rasmussen fanned Urías on four pitches. And really, it should have been three, because C.B. working behind the dish, and as we all know, C.B. gonna C.B. Which the home plate ump did often throughout the afternoon, to the consternation of Brian Anderson and DeWayne Staats. I don’t really have the patience to point out every time, so this is your one notice: C.B. Bucknor sucks, and he demonstrated that many times today.

In the bottom of the third, Josh Lowe worked another great at bat before driving one through the shift for a single to right. Mejía worked a great at bat of his own before turning on a letter high heater and depositing into the first row in right.

5-2 Rays!

Josh Fleming took over for the fifth. Rasmussen final line: 4 innings, 2 earned runs, 3 hits, 1 walk and 3 strikeouts. He mixed his pitches well but was a victim of some bad calls and the one dinger. But he also benefited from some bad calls the other way, he benefited from some stellar defense, and he lucked into some hard hit atom balls. So he probably got what he deserved, which is fine. You don’t want to hear that, though. You want something to dream on. Well, looky here. Because when he was good? He was very good.

Fleming worked a clean and impressive fifth, then went back out for the sixth. He gave up a couple singles, but got out of the jam by flagging down a hard comebacker and starting a 1-6-3 double play.

Wander explaining just how things went down.

Fleming worked a clean seventh, then went back out for a couple hitters in the eighth. After allowing a one out single to Mountcastle, he was done. 3.1 innings, 3 hits, 5 Ks, no walks. An efficient and impressive outing for the lefty.

J.P. Firehydrant came on and retired Santander and Mancini to end the eighth.

The clean shaven Andrew Kittredge came on to close it. Ramon Urias ripped one to deep center that juuuuust eluded the glove of a racing Kiermaier for a double. Hays followed, hitting a grounder to deep third. Walls throw to first skipped in, handcuffing Choi. But the big guy was able to coral it, trapping it between his glove and barehand.

Kitt whiffed Odor, but gave up his second ground rule double of the inning as Mateo’s drive to left one-hopped the wall. 5-3 Rays.

Are you nervous? Don’t be, because Kyle Snyder made a visit, and Kitt responded by fanning DJ Stewart and a wicked back foot slider.

Rays win!

Tomorrow’s 1:10 wrap will see new Ray Corey Kulber take on Tyler Wells.