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Tampa Bay Rays Game 23: Alex Colome Effective in Return

By Robbie Knopf

Baltimore Orioles ace Chris Tillman was struggling as he took on the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in the Orioles’ home game at Tropicana Field. Simply by looking at this game, however, you never would have known. Tillman missed badly on his location a few times early in the game, but he was excellent afterwards, going 7 innings allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, striking out 7 while walking none. However, the two runs he allowed were all the Rays needed in their 2-0 win over Baltimore.

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Alex Colome started for the Rays in his return from the disabled list and delivered about as good of an outing as the team could have hoped. He went 5 shutout innings allowing just 3 hits, striking out 6 while walking none. He threw just 60 pitches as the Rays were being careful with him, but he looked clearly in control. His fastball looked electric as it consistently hit the mid-90’s, and he also found strong results with his hard slider, changeup, and curveball. Colome retired the last nine batters he saw and even struck out the side in the fourth inning.

The Tampa Bay Rays offense staked Colome to two runs in the fourth inning against Tillman. With two outs and nobody on, Asdrubal Cabrera worked a walk before Evan Longoria drilled a double down the left field line to bring him home. James Loney followed with an RBI single in the only time all game that the Rays would have a runner in scoring position. Longoria went 1 for 3 with a walk for the Rays in the game and Brandon Guyer also went 2 for 3.

The Rays’ bullpen was also absolutely electric. Following Colome, Brandon Gomes worked around a hit in a scoreless sixth inning before Steve Geltz, Kevin Jepsen, and Brad Boxberger were perfect to finish off the game. Geltz and Jepsen struck out 2 each before Boxberger struck out the side. Boxberger needed a strong outing after he was the only Rays reliever that looked iffy against the Yankees on Thursday, and it was nice to see him roll along with the others. Jepsen, meanwhile, lowered his ERA to 0.87 on the season to pair with a 9-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

On the whole, the Rays’ pitching staff combined for a four-hit shutout allowing just 4 hits, all singles, while striking out 13 and walking none. Not one Orioles runner reached second base all game–Loney’s hit marked the only RISP opportunity for either team and luckily for the Rays, he delivered. Orioles pitching also allowed just 4 hits through 9 innings, albeit with 2 walks, but while they were excellent, the Rays were just a little bit better this time.

Chris Archer will take the mound against Miguel Gonzalez as the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Baltimore Orioles once again at 7:05 PM EST on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Alex Colome’s Time Has Finally Come