The 10-game home stand got off to a good start for the Rays on Monday night. Jerry Sands smacked a pinch-hit 2-run homer in the 8th as the Rays knocked off the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 from Tropicana Field. It was Tampa Bay’s first win of the season against the O’s (35-34). Rays (28-43) have now won 4 of their last 5.
The Rays got off to a good start in the 1st inning when Yunel Escobar took Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen deep for his 4th home run of the season to put the Rays up 1-0. Then in the 4th, the Rays used the long ball again when Ryan Hanigan smashed a 2-run shot off Chen to make it 3-0. James Loney began the inning with a double down the left field line. For Hanigan, it was his first home run since April 19.
The Orioles came back in the 6th when Adam Jones hit a 2-run blast off Odorizzi to make it 3-2 Tampa Bay. That ended up being Odorizzi’s final batter of the day. Brad Boxberger relieved Odorizzi. He struck out Chris Davis and got Nelson Cruz to ground out to end the 6th. Joel Peralta threw a scoreless 7th.
Rays bullpen ran into some trouble in the 8th. Grant Balfour gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning. Rays manager Joe Maddon went to Jake McGee after that. A high chopper by Nelson Cruz scored the tying run in the 8th but McGee got of it to avoid further damage.
Maddon made a brilliant move in the bottom of the 8th after he made the decision to send Sands up when Orioles skipper Buck Showalter went to lefty Brian Matusz. Sands hit a towering pinch-hit 2-run HR to give the Rays a 5-3 lead. Juan Carlos Oviedo gave up a homer to former Ray Delmon Young but he did close it out for the Rays in the 9th. It was Oviedo’s first save since September of 2011. McGee got the win in relief. Darren O’Day got the loss in relief for Baltimore.
The Rays continue their home stand on Tuesday when they take on the Orioles in game two of the series. 3-4 Erik Bedard throws for the Rays against Miguel Gonzalez. Our coverage on 620am WDAE and 95.3FM begins at 6pm with Tom Krasniqi and the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.