The Game: The Tampa Bay Rays extended their winning streak to six games by defeating the Baltimore Orioles 8-3 on Tuesday at Ed Smith Stadium.
The Rays took the lead right from the start, scoring in the first inning. Sean Rodriguez lead off the game with a single to left. Rodriguez stole second and later scored on an RBI double by Evan Longoria to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
The Rays added another run to the scoreboard in the third inning. Carl Crawford reached first on a catcher interference call. Crawford then swiped second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Baltimore’s catcher Chad Moeller. Longoria drove home his second run of the afternoon with a sacrifice fly that scored Crawford and increased the lead to 2-0.
Baltimore reached the scoreboard in the bottom of the third. Moeller made up from some of his mistakes in the previous inning by delivering a solo home run to left field that cut the lead in half 2-1.
But the Rays countered that run the very next inning. Matt Joyce doubled to right to lead off the inning. Joyce moved to second on a ground out by Dioner Navarro. Reid Brignac brought the run home with a sacrifice fly to score Joyce and give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead.
The Orioles added another run in the fifth. Randy Choate gave up three consecutive hits with one out to give the Orioles another run. Rhyne Hughes and Moeller both singled to put runners on first and second. Matt Angle drove home Hughes with a single to center, bringing the Orioles to within a run of the lead 3-2.
Tampa Bay separated themselves from the Orioles in the sixth by striking for three runs in the inning. BJ Upton got things started by reaching on an error. Joyce followed with a walk. Navarro drove home the first run of the inning with an RBI single to score Upton. Brignac plated the second run with an RBI single to right that scored Joyce. The final run of the inning came on a sac fly by Fernando Perez to score Navarro and give the Rays a 6-2 lead.
The Rays added two more insurance runs in the seventh inning. Angel Chavez got the two out rally started with a single to left field. Dan Johnson then struck a single to third to advance Chavez. Tim Beckham drove home the first run of the inning with a single to third that scored Chavez. Then Joe Dillon reached on an error, scoring Johnson and increasing the lead 8-2.
Baltimore added a run in the eighth. Johnathan Tucker double to left to lead off the inning. Tucker advanced to second on a wild pitch by Carlos Hernandez and later scored on an RBI double by Lou Montanez. Jeremy Hellickson entered the game and struck out the remaining four batters of the game to ensure the 8-3 victory.
Jeff Niemann recorded the win, pitching 4 innings and allowing a run on 2 hits while striking out 2. Randy Choate followed with an inning pitched allowing a run on 3 hits with a strikeout out. Carlos Hernandez pitched 2 2/3 innings and gave up a run on 3 hits with 2 strikeouts and a walk. Jeremy Hellickson finished the game, pitching 1 1/3 no-hit innings and struck out all the hitters he faced.
RP Top Prospect Watch:
Tim Beckham: 1 for 2 with an RBI.
Reid Brignac: 1 for 2 with 2 RBI’s.
Jeremy Hellickson: struck out 4 batters in his second spring appearance.
A Look Ahead: The Rays (6-1) travel to City of Palms Park to take on the Boston Red Sox (5-2) on Wednesday. David Price will start with Joaquin Benoit, Richard De Los Santos, Heath Phillips, Dale Thayer and Grant Balfour to follow.