Game 83: Tampa Bay Rays Hold On To Beat Baltimore Orioles 5-4

By Peter M. Gordon

Home runs from Desmond Jennings, Logan Forsythe, and Kevin Kiermaier got the Rays an early 5-0 lead and Jake McGee came into the 8th to get a four out save to preserve the 5-4 Rays victory.  Erik Bedard, pitched masterfully for the first six frames, mixing curves in the 64-67 mph range with fastballs in the mid-80s that kept the Oriole power hitters off-balance and off the scoreboard. He gave up a solo homer to Nick Markakis in the 7th, and started the 8th giving up a single to J.J. Hardy and a two run homer to Manny Machado. Joe Maddon replaced Bedard with Grant Balfour, who got two outs but gave up two scratch singles to Delmon Young and Nick Markakis while McGee rushed to get ready in the bullpen.

McGee entered the game with two on and two out. He got Adam Jones to hit a grounder, but it just got past Forsythe at second, driving in Young to bring the score to 5-4. That would be all for the Orioles, though. McGee got the dangerous Nelson Cruz to fly out to center to end the inning.  In the ninth, McGee’s 99 mph fastballs got Chris Davis to strike out and Hardy to ground out to James Loney at first. After throwing nothing but fastballs for most of the inning, he struck Manny Machado out swinging on a 77 mph curve ball.

Desmond Jennings started the game with a lead off home run off Wei-Yin Chen.  Logan Forsythe’ increased that lead to 3-0 in the second inning with his first home run as a Ray, which also drove in Sean Rodriguez.  Kevin Kiermaier’s fifth home run of the season with Forsythe on first made it 5-0 Rays, and led to Chen’s exit.  Unusually for the Rays, all the runs came on home runs, but they were hitless with runners in scoring position.

Baltimore’s bullpen kept the Rays off the scoreboard after the fourth inning, despite several opportunities.  In the top of the 8th the Rays put runners on second and third when Forsythe walked and Ryan Hanigan doubled off T.J. McFarland, but Kevin Kiermaier struck out to end the inning.  Forsythe might have had a chance to score on Hanigan’s double down the right field line, but even though there were two out’s Forsythe hesitated heading down to second as if he thought the ball might be called foul.  In the top of the ninth, when the Rays could have used an insurance run, Ben Zobrist tripled with one out, but Brandon Guyer grounded out with the infield in and Evan Longoria struck out looking to strand Zobrist at third.

The Rays received good production from the bottom of their lineup. Forsythe went 3 for 3 with a home run, Kiermaier went 2 for 4 with his homer, and Hanigan was 1 for 4 with a double. The Rays have won 3 of their last four games, and can take this series from the Orioles with a win tomorrow.  The game starts at 1:35 PM.  Check back here at Rays Colored Glasses for the recap and your up-to-date Rays information.