The visiting Tampa Bay Rays battled through a lot to win the opener of their four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night. Tampa Bay hopes to have an easier time plus the same result when the teams meet again Friday in the second game.
The Rays fell behind 2-0 after just two batters in the bottom of the first inning, thanks mostly to two errors from shortstop Willy Adames on those first two plays.
Then came the 2-hour, 16-minute rain delay in the fifth that forced starter Ryan Yarbrough out. He came into this game with an 0.46 ERA in August and left after giving up one earned run (and two overall) in 4 1/3 innings. But Adames helped right the ship with a solo homer and a tie-breaking two-run single that led the Rays to a 5-2 victory in that opener.
The Rays had to keep pushing through the long rain delay and late finish -- the game ended at nearly 1 a.m. ET -- as they're fighting for a wild-card spot.
Tampa Bay's bullpen came through, shutting out the Orioles over the final 4 2/3 innings even though Baltimore threatened a few times. Closer Emilio Pagan bounced back after a blown save Wednesday to retire the Orioles in order in the ninth.
The Rays got some bad news on the injury front Thursday when they said that rookie Brandon Lowe suffered a strained left quad while playing in rehab game with Triple-A Durham Wednesday and would be done for the season.
Lowe had a .276 average with 16 homers and 49 RBIs in just 76 games. He was on rehab for a shin bruise that sidelined him since the first part of July, but then suffered the quad injury.
"He did everything we could ask in the first half for us," manager Kevin Cash said to MLB.com. "Unfortunately, the shin injury comes out, and now this as he's getting closer. We're going to miss him."
The Rays named newly-acquired Trevor Richards (3-12, 4.53) as the starter for Friday after Thursday's game. This will be his second start for Tampa Bay. He had a no-decision in his first one and is 0-1 with a 16.20 ERA in his only career appearance versus Baltimore -- and that was a start.
Ty Blach (0-1, 12.06) is going to make his third start as an Oriole.
This will be the first time he's pitched against Tampa Bay.
The Orioles' pitching staff set a major league record in Thursday's win. They came into the game tied with the 2016 Cincinnati Reds for most homers allowed in a season (258).
But Baltimore gave up two more, one to Adames and the other to Austin Meadows, and the new record is at 260 with just more than a month left in the season.
The Orioles had a small injury issue when they scratched shortstop Richie Martin due to a sore left hand, which he got when diving into first base Wednesday. Martin was in the original lineup but pulled and then entered late in the game as a pinch-runner and then designated hitter.
Also, manager Brandon Hyde said that playing time for Chris Davis would be limited in the final five weeks.
There are just some other players the team needs to see, and since the first baseman isn't hitting, he'll have to sit more as the Orioles want to watch some of their younger guys. That should give Trey Mancini more time at first and opens up more opportunities at the corner outfield spots.
"There are some people we want to see, at-bats we want to give guys," Hyde said to MLB.com. "We've had conversations about it. I don't think he's swung the bat this year the way he's wanted to. There are some adjustments he needs to make and he's aware of that. The bottom line is, we're going to continue to give some of our younger players opportunities, especially this time of year."
--Field Level Media