For the first time since July 22, The Tampa Bay Rays are back atop the American League East.
Entering tonight, Tampa Bay was 1.0 games back of the Baltimore Orioles as they face off for the second time in their four game set.
The Rays played like they had a point to prove, holding the Orioles to one run on two hits en route to showing what they’re capable on offense.
It’s safe to say Zach Eflin had everything working tonight, as he gave up only one run on one hit, both coming from Heston Kjerstad’s first homer as a major leaguer, a solo shot in the sixth inning. Other than that, Eflin silenced the Birds’ bats swiftly and efficiently as he only needed 84 pitches over seven frames, striking out eight along the way.
Zach Eflin's 4th and 5th Ks.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 16, 2023
Thru 4. pic.twitter.com/WLDrVZezoS
As far as the Rays’ offense? They did not let up off the gas pedal.
“The Dawg,” Brandon Lowe delivered a solo homer in the top of the 4th to center field for his 20th of the season, and Manuel Margot would drive in a run himself on a single to left field to score Randy Arozarena.
In the top of the 5th, B. Lowe drove in another via a sacrifice fly, bringing his RBI total to 24 over his last 30 games. 3-0 Rays.
In their third consecutive offensive frame, Margot would double to drive in Josh Lowe to chase Orioles lefty DL Hall out of the game.
On the very first pitch from Bryan Baker, pinch hitter Harold Ramirez unleashed a swing that blasted the offering 419 feet over the new left field wall at Camden Yards now dubbed, “Mount Walltimore,” and a bat flip to match, extending the Rays lead to 7-0.
Jake Diekman and Chris Devenski would follow Eflin to stimy the O’s offense, as the Rays catch the Orioles with 14 games left this season.
The Rays take on the Orioles for game three of four at 7:05 PM, with Tyler Glasnow tomorrow’s probable starter opposite Grayson Rodriguez.