BALTIMORE (AP)—The Tampa Bay Rays have never been this good this early in the season—not even when they went to the World Series in 2008.
And don’t think for a moment they’re taking their unprecedented success for granted.
David Price(notes) (2-0) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings for the Rays, whose 6-3 start is the best in franchise history. Tampa Bay swept the three-game series, something it did only once on the road last year.
“This is what we have to do to get to where we want to go,” Price said. “We got to win games like this. When we’ve got a chance for a sweep, whether it’s home or on the road, we’ve got to come out and take care of business.”
Said Pena: “It means a lot. That is exactly what we want to do. What just happened is behind us. But we’re enjoying the fact that we won today and that we’re off to a good start.”
The Orioles, in contrast, are 1-8—their worst start since going 0-21 in 1988. Baltimore went 0-6 and was outscored 37-16 during its opening homestand against Toronto and the Rays.
“It’s not how you draw it up. You didn’t want to come in here and start like this,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “We certainly had a lot of opportunities to win our fair share of the games and we didn’t. Losing ought to say how frustrated and disappointed everybody is.”
Against Tampa Bay, the Orioles were plagued by poor situational hitting, untimely errors and shoddy relief pitching.
It was the opposite for the Rays.
“Tampa came in here and played great,” Trembley said. “They got great starting pitching, they got the big hits and they played good defense. And they’re a very good team. They took advantage of all the opportunities that they had in all three games.”
“We haven’t played well,” Trembley acknowledged. “We expect that we’ll play better.”
Orioles starter Brad Bergesen(notes) (0-1) gave up eight runs, five earned, in three-plus innings. After enjoying a promising rookie season in 2009, the right-hander has an 11.74 ERA after two starts.
The Rays scored three unearned runs in the first inning, courtesy of an error and Pena’s second homer in as many at-bats. Tejada and shortstop Cesar Izturis(notes) both had trouble tracking a popup in the sun, and Tejada was given an error after the ball plopped between them on the right side of the infield. Bergesen issued a two-out walk and Pena followed with a drive to left-center.
“Our offense, that was their game today,” Price said. “That was huge, to put up three runs in the first.”
Pena previously homered in the 10th inning of Tuesday night’s 8-6 win.
Tejada opened the bottom half with his second home run.
“That was awesome. It’s good to see him just enjoying baseball the way he’s capable of,” Pena said. “That ball’s just jumping off his bat and that’s exciting. And it’s just starting. I think we’re going to see a lot of B.J. Upton in the coming weeks and the rest of the year. It’s going to be a fun year.”
NOTES: Orioles placed struggling LH closer Mike Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder. … Ben Zobrist’s(notes) 16-game hitting streak (over two seasons) ended with an 0-for-4 performance. … Tejada has both Baltimore errors this season, and each of which led to three unearned runs.