Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays 4, Orioles 2

Rays beat Orioles, eye showdown with Boston

BALTIMORE — The Rays were pleased with how far they got in April. But they began May somewhere they've never been, alone atop the American League East.

They got there by beating Baltimore 4-2, with more good pitching and another injury, then moving percentage points ahead of Boston, as well as four games over .500, at 16-12, for just the third time in franchise history. It's by far the latest into a season they've been on top, and they open an unexpected battle for first place tonight at Fenway Park.

Thursday, they got six solid innings from Matt Garza, who allowed just a two-run homer to Adam Jones in stating his case to stay in the rotation, though that decision might not be as complicated with reliever Gary Glover possibly headed to the disabled list.

They received another sterling effort from their best-in-the-majors bullpen. Dan Wheeler worked two more perfect innings, and Troy Percival went 1-2-3 for his 330th career save, tying John Wette-
land for 10th on the all-time list.

And they lost centerfielder B.J. Upton with an apparent looked-worse-than-it-was left shoulder strain, though he says he could return as soon as Saturday.

"It's early, and everybody knows it's early," leftfielder Carl Crawford said. "We just want to try to keep playing well and playing hard and see what happens."

The Rays led 2-0 — an RBI groundout from Carlos Pena and a homer from Jonny Gomes — but Garza gave it up by hanging a slider to Jones in the fourth. The Rays rallied in the seventh as Crawford singled in two more.

"Success is contagious," Gomes said. "With the starting pitchers and the bullpen doing well, we want to go out there and get them runs. … Everyone's got everyone's back."

After Andy Sonnanstine's stellar effort Wednesday, the focus seemed to shift to Garza as the pitcher most likely to be dropped from the rotation when Scott Kazmir returns Sunday.

But Garza, who hadn't worked more than five innings in three starts and spent two weeks on the disabled list, responded well, using his fastball primarily to allow three hits and two walks to pick up his first win as a Ray.

"Garza pitched much better, save one pitch," manager Joe Maddon said. "Much better strike-throwing. Velocity has always been there. … He did a nice job."

Garza said it was just a matter of staying aggressive, as he was at the end of his last start, and not worrying about anything else, including his spot in the rotation. "You can't say much, just go out there and do your job and that's it," he said. "The decision is out of your hands."

To make room for Kazmir, it seemed the Rays would have to drop a pitcher, either sending down Sonnanstine or Garza (who both have options remaining), or shifting one of the starters to the bullpen and dumping a reliever.

But Glover hasn't pitched since April 25 due to slight shoulder issues, and the Rays could buy some time by putting him on the disabled list, perhaps as soon as today. Then they could shift a starter, likely Jason Hammel, who struggled in his last start, to a long-relief role and keep them all.

Maddon was asked after Garza's performance if it was still a tough decision. "It's kind of," he said, "but not as."

Rays beat Orioles, eye showdown with Boston 05/02/08 [Last modified: Saturday, May 3, 2008 1:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.