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Brandon Guyer's homer leads Tampa Bay Rays past Baltimore Orioles 6-2

BALTIMORE — Lindsay Murphy finished her shift as sports anchor at Fox 5 in Washington, D.C., at 6:20 p.m., hopped in her car and drove an hour to Camden Yards in Baltimore, where her husband, Rays leftfielder Brandon Guyer, was making his major-league debut.

Knowing she was late, Murphy listened anxiously on the radio while pulling into the stadium parking lot as her 25-year-old husband faced left-hander Zach Britton.

Oh, heck, let's just go to the highlights, Lindsay.

In his first major-league at-bat, Guyer blasted a 3-and-1 fastball 386 feet to left-center for a two-run homer that jump-started the Rays' 6-2 victory Friday.

James Shields did the rest, scattering three hits over 71/3 innings despite some delays for repairs on the rain-soaked infield. The only mistake by Shields, 3-0 with a 1.12 ERA over his past five starts, was Derrek Lee's homer in the sixth.

But the night belonged to Guyer, even if his wife missed the moment — sort of.

Lights didn't explode (although there were plenty of lightning bolts), and Guyer's wife wasn't in the first row blowing kisses as he joined Esteban Yan (June 4, 2000) as the only Rays to homer in their first major-league at-bat.

But as debuts go, it didn't lack cinematic flavor.

"My reaction was to scream and roll my window down and yell at people walking in the stadium," Murphy said. "I'm kind of surprised. For how young he is and everything, he's poised well beyond his years."

As Guyer's rooting section jumped up and down, exchanged hugs and high-fives, the Rays bullpen retrieved the ball for Guyer, swapping it for three baseballs with a fan of the Durham Bulls.

Teammates jokingly gave Guyer the silent treatment after he reached the dugout then mobbed him.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Guyer — part of the trade that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs — had bunted back to the pitcher in his final at-bat and was called into the office of Triple-A Durham manager Charlie Montoyo.

"He talked to me a minute about the bunt, about trying to get a better angle with the bat," Guyer said. "Then he said, 'Keep on playing the game the same way.' I started to get up, and he said, 'Keep on playing the game the same way, but you're going to be in the big leagues tomorrow.' "

There were several reasons for Guyer's promotion. Pitcher Jeff Niemann went on the disabled list with a lower back strain. Leftfielder Sam Fuld is in a 2-for-35 slump, and centerfielder B.J. Upton could be suspended today.

But the biggest factor was Guyer's hitting at Durham — .356, six home runs and International League-high 37 hits.

To make things sweeter, Guyer made his debut 90 minutes from Herndon, Va., where he starred in football and baseball.

"We were laughing because he played at Wrigley Field (with the Peoria Chiefs), and his first at-bat, his first pitch, was a home run to leftfield," Murphy said. "I think it's just something about being on a big stage that he tends to relish a little bit."

Murphy met Guyer while doing a story on his 26-game hitting streak at the University of Virginia, and teammates dared him to ask her out.

Friday, Murphy ended her sportscast with news of her husband's debut. Her boss gave her the 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. broadcasts off. She also will attend today's and Sunday's game.

"Part of me hopes there are highlights on Saturday and Sunday as well," Murphy said. "Then I'll put them on DVDs and keep them forever."

Rays 6

Orioles 2

Brandon Guyer's homer leads Tampa Bay Rays past Baltimore Orioles 6-2 05/06/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 6, 2011 11:27pm]
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