The Tampa Bay Rays (13-4) improved on the best record in baseball by beating the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 Tuesday night, thanks in part to a key home run by Avisail Garcia, and a solid start by Tyler Glasnow.
The tall right-hander tied the longest outing by a Tampa Bay hurler in the first 17 games of the season, although you never would have guessed his final line based on Glasnow’s first three innings of work.
The Orioles, who have outscored opponents 16-5 in the first inning, jumped ahead early against Glasnow. With one out and none on, Trey Mancini singled to right-center and moved up to second on a Dwight Smith Junior’s single to right. Then, Rio Ruiz hit a two-out RBI single to right-center, scoring Mancini. Baltimore’s hitters spat on Glasnow’s curveball, hunted fastballs, attacked him early in the count, and worked him for 26 pitches in the first inning alone.
After Glasnow worked around a leadoff single in the second, Baltimore extended the lead in the third. Smith reached on an infield hit to second; Brandon Lowe had difficulty getting the ball out of his glove. Smith swiped second, then came home on Renato Nunez’s double that deflected off Yandy Diaz and traveled up the third base line.
From that point on, however, Glasnow quietly went to work and threw up four consecutive zeroes — working around a base hit by coaxing a double play in the fourth inning and retiring the final 10 batters he would face in a row.
Glasnow didn’t walk a batter and scattered seven hits while striking out three. He threw 87 pitches (61 strikes, 70% strike rate) total and just 61 over the final six frames.
Meanwhile, the Rays offense took a few innings to get going. They didn’t get on the board until the fourth inning when they tagged Dylan Bundy for three runs. As DeWayne and BA noted on the telecast, Bundy’s peripherals inflate from the first time through the order to the second time through — from a .235 BA/.298 OBP/.419 SLG/.717 OPS/.309 wOBA slash line against to a .274 BA/.342 OBP/.510 SLG/.852 OPS/.361 wOBA line. Tuesday night would be much the same.
Down by a pair of runs, Tommy Pham started a rally by extending his franchise record on-base streak to 48 games, earning a leadoff walk after being down in the count 0-2. Ji-Man Choi followed with a double to right, putting runners in scoring position for Yandy Diaz, who flew out to right in foul territory. Pham came home to on the sacrifice fly, splitting the difference. After Lowe struck out for the second out of the inning, Garcia hit a first-pitch homer to centerfield, his second of the season.
As Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) noted, the homer also gave Tampa Bay two more two-out runs. The Rays have scored 35 two-out runs, or roughly two per game this season.
Garcia’s homer was enough for the Rays staff. Jose Alvarado followed Glasnow and pitched a perfect eighth inning against the top of the Orioles order. Yet Tampa Bay tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the inning.
Diaz hit a two-out single, moved into second base on a free pass of Lowe, and came home when Garcia singled to left-center — his third RBI of the contest.
Finally, Diego Castillo took over in the ninth and slammed the door shut on Baltimore, working a 1-2-3 inning for his second save of the season.
The New What Next
Game two of the series takes place on Wednesday. The Rays will use an opener to start the game, which will likely be followed by Ryan Yarbrough (2-1, 4.82 ERA). I will update things as the fluid situation becomes clear. The Rays will be opposed by David Hess (1-2, 3.32 ERA).
Ryan Yarbrough picked up the win after tossing two scoreless frames and striking out one on Friday. The southpaw was efficient on the mound, needing just 16 total pitches (12 strikes) to get through six batters. Yarbrough was coming off a disastrous outing Saturday against San Francisco (allowing four runs allowed across three innings) but managed to get back on track in the 11-7 victory.
David Hess allowed three runs on six hits while striking out three over 5-2/3 innings on Friday. He took the loss against Boston. Hess allowed a solo homer in the third inning and two more runs in the fourth, while the Orioles were held scoreless until the seventh. The 25-year-old right-hander came within an out of a quality start and pitched well enough to come away with the win, although he didn’t get enough run support. Hess owns a 3.32 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 19 frames in three starts this season. Hess relies primarily on his 94 mph four-seam fastball with added backspin and an 83 mph fly-ball coaxing slider, while also mixing in an 85 mph changeup, and a 93 mph sinker with a little sink and arm-side run. He is 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA in four career starts against the Rays, and is 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA in three starts at the Trop. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (2-6, 2B), Ji-Man Choi (2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Yandy Diaz (1-2, BB), Brandon Lowe (1-4, 2B), Tommy Pham (1-3, 3B)
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 4/17/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- Pham LF
- Choi 1B
- Diaz 3B
- Lowe 2B
- Garcia DH
- Kiermaier CF
- Zunino C
- Adames SS
- Stanek RHP; opener
— Things certainly got, uhh … interesting for Kevin Kiermaier Tuesday night: