By the third inning, it became evident the Rays clearly were in the proper frame of mind.
Rookie Wade Davis(notes) allowed one run over eight innings in another sparkling performance against the Orioles, Evan Longoria(notes) had two hits during a seven-run third, and Tampa rolled to an 8-1 victory Monday night.
Jason Bartlett(notes) drove in two runs for the Rays, who are 4-0 against the Orioles at Camden Yards and 6-1 overall. Tampa Bay owns the best road record in the majors (30-16) despite losing two of three to the first-place Yankees over the weekend.
“You go to New York and there’s a lot of emotion. Then you come here and it’s not nearly as … vibrant,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said, choosing the last word carefully. “We talked about that. I felt we came out ready to go. Our pregame was good.”
Playing against the worst team in the majors before a crowd of 12,792, the Rays found enough inspiration to win for the 10th time in 13 games.
“It can be pretty mentally draining to play three games in New York then come anywhere else and not have some kind of letdown,” Longoria said. “We kept our focus, and tonight was a good start to the series.”
Davis (7-9) gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out three. The right-hander is 9-11 in his brief big-league career, but in three starts against Baltimore he’s 3-0 with an 0.75 ERA.
Davis has won two straight starts after losing a career-high five consecutive decisions.
“I’d say I’ve found some things to improve on—just recognizing various situations and stopping the bad things when they’re coming,” he said.
Getting an 8-0 lead in the third inning made his job particularly easy.
“That was nice,” Davis said. “It allows you to just go out and throw strikes and let the defense do its thing.”
“I think the main thing is the command. It just wasn’t there tonight,” the right-hander said.
Just before the All-Star break, Tillman limited Texas to two hits over 7 1-3 innings. That’s what made this outing so difficult to swallow.
“Tillman was missing his spots tremendously,” interim manager Juan Samuel said. “His command was very, very bad. He was a different guy than what we saw in Texas. We were hoping that he would build on that, but we did not see that tonight.”
The Rays sent 11 batters to the plate in the third. Matt Joyce(notes) doubled in a run and B.J. Upton(notes) drew a bases-loaded walk before Bartlett hit a two-run single and Sean Rodriguez(notes) drove in a run with a safety squeeze.
“The third inning was kind of magical,” Maddon said. “We did a lot of good things there. We kept the good at-bats coming one after another. There was some nice execution aspects. It was fun to watch.”
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed by rain for 28 minutes. … Orioles DH Luke Scott(notes) went 1 for 3 after being activated from the DL before the game. … Tampa Bay improved to 24-12 against AL East foes, 14-4 on the road. … Baltimore fell a season-high 34 games under .500 (29-63) for the second time. … Tampa Bay reliever Dan Wheeler(notes) was hit in the right foot by a line drive in the ninth. He sustained a bruise, but X-rays were negative.