Game 14: James Loney Leads the Way as Rays Offense Comes Alive In Victory

By David Hill

The Rays offense showed signs of life in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles. That spark turned out not to be a fleeting glimmer, but a sign of things to come as the offense continued to break out of it’s doldrums in tonight’s 6-2 victory over the Orioles.

Kelly Johnson put the Rays on the board almost immediately, hitting Chris Tillman‘s sixth pitch of the game for a home run. Shelley Duncan followed up with a solo blast of his own in the top of the second to put the Rays ahead 2-0. Adam Jones tied the game up in the bottom of the third, hitting a two out fly ball that just cleared the wall and bounced back over the fence. After review, Jones was credited with a home run and the game was tied.

Tampa came right back in the top of the fourth. With runners on second and third and one out, James Loney stepped up, hitting a line drive to center that got past Jones for a double, putting the Rays up 4-2. Loney was not finished, as he doubled and scored on Yunel Escobar‘s RBI single in the sixth, and drove home the final run of the game with an RBI single in the eighth. For the game, Loney went 3-3 with a walk, a run scored, and three RBIs.

Meanwhile, aside from the home run in the third, Rays starter Matt Moore was cruising along. His curveball was working to both sides of the plate, and he continued to make adjustments throughout the game when it appeared as though he may be losing the zone. Overall, he 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks, striking out seven batters. Moore has pitched very well to start the year, and appears to be building off his solid second half last year.

Another positive was the performance of Escobar, who appears to have been pressing on the field and at the plate. He got his first hit since Saturday, and drew his first walk since April 7th. Hopefully, this hit can get him started with the bat.

Duncan and Johnson each had two hits for the Rays in the victory.