The Tampa Bay Rays have ended their four-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles despite how hard they seemingly tried to extend it.
The first inning had its highs and lows for the Rays against Tyler Wells. Yandy Diaz took the second pitch of the game to left field for a leadoff single. He then misread a Brandon Lowe lineout and was unable to return to first base before being tagged out for the double play. Randy Arozarena kept the inning alive with a single and was brought home on a 2-run home run by Ji-Man Choi (103.6 EV, 27 LA, 400 ft) to give the Rays a 2-0 lead, though, you have to think about the third run that could have been.
Just some casual clairvoyance from Dewayne here pic.twitter.com/CGJef27k5v— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 27, 2022
Drew Rasmussen was on the mound celebrating his 27th birthday and was hoping to celebrate with a win. He helped his own cause in the first inning by retiring the side in order.
Luke Raley kept the offense going with a leadoff homer (100.0 EV, 29 LA, 405 ft) to extend the Rays lead to 3-0. It was his first homer as a member of the Rays and the only offense they would see until the fifth inning aside from an Isaac Paredes single in the fourth.
The Orioles bats started to warm in the bottom of the second inning. Anthony Santander Ryan Mountcastle had back-to-back singles with Santander advancing to third on an Austin Hays flyout. Rougned Odor hit a RBI-single to left field scoring Santander to make it a 3-1 game with only one out. After a mound visit Rasmussen was able to retire the next two batters and get out of what felt like was headed towards being an ugly inning.
One of the storylines of the game was the matchup between Rasmussen and his former college battery mate Adley Rutschman. After a groundout in the first, Rutschman gets a hit off his old teammate with a single in the third inning and advanced to second on a walk to Trey Mancini. A wild pitch from Rasmussen allowed Rutschman to score and the Rays lead was down to one run at 3-2.
The Orioles tried to get tricky against the Rays in the fourth inning. Odor hit a one-out single and Ramon Urias was next to bat. He hit a chopper to third base and as Diaz made the throw to get the out at first base, Odor tried to sneak into third and couldn’t beat the throw from Paredes to Taylor Walls as the Rays completed the 5-3-6 double play.
Sneaky, sneaky, ...but not sneaky enough pic.twitter.com/avXLMCCfO9— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 28, 2022
Josh Lowe got the offense going again for the Rays with a leadoff double in the fifth inning. After a pitching change brought Dillon Tate in to replace Tyler Wells who left the game with an injured back. Yandy Diaz did Yandy Diaz things with a RBI-double scoring Lowe to make it a 4-2 game. Aside from yesterday’s 0-for-5 performance, Diaz has been a consistent contributor getting on base for the Rays.
It’s almost as if the Rays did not want to record the third out in the bottom of the fifth. Rasmussen hit Rutschman with a pitch to provide a baserunner with two outs and then things got weird and ugly. Trey Mancini broke an 0-for-26 streak with a single to Raley in right field. Raley’s throw missed the cutoff man and took a hop off the pitcher’s mound. The error allowed Rutschman to score and the throw from Christian Bethancourt to second was off target allowing Mancini to be safe at second. After a mound visit Rasmussen hits Santander with a pitch that ended his night with 4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, and 4 K on 75 pitches.
Ryan Thompson entered the game with 12 straight scoreless appearances. Despite the two inherited runners, he extended his streak by getting out of the fifth inning by getting Mountcastle to groundout and retiring the side in order in the sixth inning.
Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth inning and three outs away from a win Kevin Cash sends Colin Poche to the mound. The same Poche that gave up the go-ahead home run in Tuesday night’s game and history repeats itself. Jorge Mateo hit a one-out solo home run (102.9 EV, 22 LA, 398 ft) to tie the game 4-4. This game felt like it was headed to an Orioles win as Rutschman was walked and Mancini hit another single but Poche was able to strikeout Santander to send the game to extra innings.
Yandy Diaz ledoff the tenth with a single that advanced Taylor Walls from his free spot at second to third base. Roman Quinn entered to pinch-run for Diaz and provide some speed on the bases. The bases were loaded with no outs after Brandon Lowe was walked and suddenly this game started to feel like the Rays would pull it off. The Orioles crowd had been loud and engaged until Randy Arozarena hit a double just over Santander’s head in right field that scored Walls and Quinn to give the Rays a 6-4 lead with no outs.
Pete Fairbanks needed just 11 pitches to closeout the game in the 10th inning. A flyout from Mountcastle was deep and allowed Santander to advance to third which added a little drama to the inning. That was quickly erased with an Austin Hays strikeout and Odor grounding out to Brandon Lowe at second for the easy throw to Paredes to step on first for the final out.
The Rays finally have their second win since the All-Star break with both coming on Rasmussen starts. While this game left a lot to be desired, it counts the same as a blowout win when everything is clicking.
Despite the challenges, the way this team came out in the 10th inning was a quick reminder of what is possible with the level of talent that is still healthy and available on this roster.
Rays will look to split the series tomorrow at 12:35pm ET.