Well, so much for the Rays fancy new starting pitcher approach. Sergio Romo, only scheduled to pitch the first inning or two before ceding to the ‘piggy-back starter’ Ryan Yarbrough, did not even make it out of the first.
Trey Mancini grounded out to start the game and then Adam Jones singled. After Manny Machado flied out, Jonathan Schoop reached base on a swinging third strike. Then Danny Valencia looped a double to right field to score Jones and the Orioles were on the board, 1-0.
That was where Sergio Romo would leave the game, with two men out in the first inning. Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough came on to relieve him.
Brad Miller started the first inning with a double to left for the Rays. With one out and Joey Wendle at the plate, David Hess spun and fired a strike to second base, picking off Miller and pumping his fist in celebration.
A bit of an odd play in the bottom of the fifth — Daniel Robertson had seemingly popped out to Manny Machado for the first out of the inning, but a balk ended up being called on David Hess. The runner on first, Mallex Smith, was awarded second base and Robertson was given a second chance at the plate.
Hess made a pickoff attempt at second base, but it did not work like the first time. Smith advanced to third base when the baseball flew past Jonathan Schoop, who was charged with an error, and into center field. But Smith was stranded at third after three consecutive ground balls.
Danny Valencia made a fine play on one of those grounders, leaping high over the runner at third and making a strong throw from foul territory off his back foot to nab the runner at first.
Jonathan Schoop had a solo home run to left center field in the top of the sixth to extend the Orioles lead to 2-0. It was a no-doubter. Rays pitcher Ryan Yarbrough didn’t even bother turning around to look at the ball, instead staring in at home plate long after the pitch.
When the night began, David Hess had a 6.75 ERA. After 6.2 innings of scoreless pitching, that number was down to 4.15. The O’s right-hander kept Rays hitters off balance all night with a four pitch mix.
According to ESPN play-by-play, Hess worked most of the night with a four-seam fastball in the low 90’s, topping out at 95, and he mixed in a lot of sliders. It wasn’t until his second time through the Rays order that he threw his first curveball, in the third inning. One inning later, in the fourth, he threw his first changeup of the night.
Throughout the game, Hess was economical with his pitches. He needed only 91 to get part way through the seventh inning. After a walk in relief of Hess, Mychal Givens got the Orioles out of that inning unscathed, but it would have been nice to see Buck let Hess pitch longer.
Important to note, however, is that Hess’ previous season high in pitches was 91 in a five inning game for Triple-A Norfolk on May 3.
Hess pitched more than well enough to earn the win, but it was up to the bullpen at this point. His final stat line on the night was 6.2 innings, four hits, zero runs, three walks and three strikeouts.
Richard Bleier came in to relieve Givens after a leadoff double in the bottom of the eighth. He proceeded to get three consecutive outs on a groundout, pop out, and strikeout. Then it was Brad Brach’s turn in the ninth to nail down the save.
The inning started out well enough, with a groundout to shortstop on the fifth pitch of the at-bat to Wilson Ramos. Matt Duffy came to the plate next and lined a single into left field, his second hit of the night. Mallex Smith followed with a single into left and the Rays had the potential winning run to the plate in Daniel Robertson.
But the Rays night ended shortly thereafter. Robertson flew out to Joey Rickard in right and Johnny field popped out to Chris Davis in foul territory and Brach secured the save.
Despite managing nine hits, the Orioles offense only scratched out two runs, on Valencia’s double in the first and Schoop’s solo home run in the sixth. Chris Davis was 1-for-4 with an opposite field single and a strikeout. Adam Jones had three hits and Jonathan Schoop had two.
But most importantly, the Orioles pitching put on a dominant display, spearheaded by a superb start by David Hess. It will be exciting to watch his development, and hopefully he can continue to be one of the bright spots on the team and in the starting rotation.
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