Tampa Bay rode the long ball, and shutout pitching from Matt Moore and four relievers to top Baltimore, 2-0. The win puts the Rays into second place in the American League East all by themselves, trailing the Yankees by 6.5 games.
While Moore may not have had his best command, he was able to make the big pitch when he needed to, and left after 5.1 innings, in favor of Jake McGee. McGee entered the game with the Rays holding a one-run lead on the strength of B.J. Upton’s 100th career home run (hit shortly after his brother Justin hit his 100th) in the fourth inning.
McGee arrived with a man on base, and proceeded to shut down the Orioles without incident. Tampa Bay got their second, and final tally in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to Desmond Jennings eighth homer of the season. Kyle Farnsworth followed with a perfect seventh inning, and handed the ball over to set-up man Joel Peralta.
Peralta had Rays’ as well as Orioles’ fans on the edge of their seats as he allowed hits to Matt Wieters and Chris Davis after striking out Adam Jones to open the inning. He then proceeded to freeze Mark Reynolds with a ninety-one MPH fastball on the outside corner at the knees. After catching Reynolds looking, he got Wilson Betemit on three pitches, finishing him off with a swing-and-a-miss at an eighty-three MPH splitter. Fernando Rodney finished Baltimore off with an uneventful ninth inning for his thirty-second save in thirty-three opportunities.
This evening, Jeremy Hellickson will be on the mound for Tampa Bay, squaring off with southpaw Wei-Yin Chen, who is 9-6 with a 3.65 earned-run average. Hellickson is 2-2, with an earned-run average of 2.67 over his past five outings.
- Upton’s 100th career homer, his tenth of the season, came fifty-four minutes after brother Justin hit his 100th career long ball in an Arizona victory over Philadelphia. They are the sixth pair of MLB brothers to have at least 100 homers apiece.
- Upton also joined an elite club, becoming only the eighth player in history to ring up 100 homers and 200 stolen bases before the age of twenty-eight.
- Jeff Niemann threw a simulated three-inning game yesterday, and could be designated for a rehab assignment soon. Evan Longoria might be back for next week’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays. As effective as the pitching staff has been lately, it would be great to see Longoria’s bat back in the lineup shortly. The right big man in a lineup can make everyone better around him.