With Kevin Gausman on the mound, it was a good thing this matchup was a night game. At the start of play, the right-hander had a 3.67 ERA in 12 night games versus a 6.02 ERA in eight day games this year. And the trend continued in this particular game.
On the first play of the evening, Trey Mancini showed off his arm in the outfield. Kevin Kiermaier blooped a hit down the left field line and decided to test Mancini, who gunned a one-hop strike to Jonathan Schoop at second to nail Kiermaier. After a ground ball out to Danny Valencia, Gausman walked Jake Bauers and struck out C.J. Cron, who came into the game hitting .333 in 15 career at-bats against the righty. So far, so good.
Tim Beckham started the Orioles half of the first with a walk and Jonathan Schoop popped out to Bauers at first, who made a nifty over the shoulder basket catch in foul ground. Then Adam Jones grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The Orioles turned their own double play, 5-4-3, to erase a leadoff single in the second by Joey Wendle. But the Rays just wouldn’t go down quietly after that, with Mallex Smith bouncing a single into center in the exact same spot as Wendle did a few batters earlier. Then Jesus Sucre drove in the first run of the night on a double to the gap in right center. 1-0, Rays. It was the first and last time the Rays would have a lead.
Mancini did not disappoint on his bobblehead night, launching a two-run home run in the second with two outs. Chris Davis was on first base via a walk when Mancini grabbed hold of an 86 mph splitter and deposited it in the seats in left. Then Joey Rickard dumped the very next pitch, a 98 mph fastball, into the stands in left for a solo homer. 3-1, Orioles.
The home run barrage continued in the top of the third, with Kiermaier banging a solo shot to right and cutting the O’s lead to one, 3-2. Gausman responded by inducing a groundout to himself. Then he followed with a strikeout and a groundout to Schoop in the shift.
As expected, Ryne Stanek was done after just two innings for the Rays. His final pitching line was three runs on two hits, two walks and one strikeout, with one home run allowed.
Left-hander Jalen Beeks, acquired recently from the Red Sox in the Nathan Eovaldi trade, followed Stanek to the mound. Beeks walked Beckham, the first batter he faced, but unfortunately, Schoop grounded into a double play. After a Jones groundout, the game moved into the fourth.
The Orioles defense came to play tonight. Danny Valencia made an amazing catch in foul ground for the first out of the fourth. He raced to the camera well railing and leaned over, making an underhanded catch before the third base umpire made a delayed out call.
Baltimore blew the game wide open in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs to lengthen their lead. The O’s loaded the bases on a walk and a pair of singles before Rickard cleared them with a bloop double down the line in right field. Caleb Joseph followed with a single to left to score Rickard. 7-2, Orioles. And the whole thing started with a walk to Davis, his second of the night.
In the bottom of the sixth, the O’s padded their lead even more. Mancini started the inning off with a single and came all the way around to score from first when Rickard doubled to left and advanced to third on a throwing error. Joseph then followed with a bloop single to center that scored Rickard.
But they weren’t done there. Beckham worked a walk, his third of the night, and Jones doubled to left, scoring Joseph. That spelled the end of Beeks’ night for the Rays. He lasted 3.1 innings, allowing 10 hits, eight runs, three walks and one strikeout.
Jaime Shultz came on with runners on second and third and got Mark Trumbo to fly out to right, but another run scored on the sacrifice. After four runs in the sixth, it was 11-2, Orioles.
Gausman didn’t exactly breeze through this game, but he took care of business when he needed to. He scattered nine hits over seven innings, allowing at least one baserunner in every inning. But he pitched well enough to get the win and left with a big lead.
On the night, the last three batters in the Orioles lineup (Mancini, Rickard and Joseph) were 10-for-12 with two home runs, nine RBI and seven runs scored. Mancini had a career high four hit game. The Orioles had 14 hits as a team and every player reached base at least once.
Mike Wright Jr. and David Hess handled the last two innings for the O’s and they won handily over the Rays. Baltimore now leads the series, two games to one, with the finale set for tomorrow afternoon. Dylan Bundy (6-9, 4.57 ERA) will take the mound for the Orioles, while the Rays have yet to announce their starter.
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