Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

It was the fourth time this year the Rays (40-36) attempted the feat.

"We feel good about where we're at," manager Kevin Cash said. "The guys have kind of come together really well and found ways to win series. Some series we won by slugging. Some we won by getting really good starting pitching. (Friday), obviously, the hitting played a big role."

What's more, by scoring five runs in the first two innings, the Rays extended the Orioles' streak of allowing at least five runs in the game to 20 games, tying the 1924 Phillies for that record.

The Orioles (35-38) are 6-14 during that streak.

The Rays reached double digits in runs for the first time since May 29 when they scored 10 at Texas.

They scored four in the first when Mallex Smith and Corey Dickerson opened the inning with walks, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a bloop single to leftfield by Evan Longoria, the first two of a four-RBI night.

"When you're first and second and no outs to start the game off … it was nice to see us cash in, capitalize those runs," Cash said.

RELATED: Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment.

Logan Morrison tripled home Longoria and scored on a groundout to first by Daniel Robertson.

Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez needed 36 pitches to get through the inning. He was gone by the third after allowing two-run homers to Shane Peterson and Derek Norris.

Peterson, selected Friday afternoon from Durham when Colby Rasmus (left hip tendinitis) was placed on the disabled list, had homered in his first game as a Ray this season during his first stint with the team. He finished with a career-high four runs.

"You come up for somebody that gets hurt, you know your time is limited," Peterson said. "You go out there and try to do too much, next thing you know, you look up and you're not there anymore. For me, it's just do what I can do, do the best I can do and whatever happens, happens."

Norris had a career-high three hits before leaving after being drilled by a pitch in his lower forearm area.

Morrison added his team-leading 22nd homer in the seventh.

Chris Archer benefited from all the offense and won his sixth game of the year despite allowing five runs in six innings. Austin Pruitt pitched the final three to pick up his first big-league save.

TAKEAWAYS: Roger Mooney's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game.

The win was the Rays' 11th in their last 16 games and had them 2½ games out of first place and in the second wild-card spot. The last time the Rays were this close to first place in the American League East was July 7, 2015. The last time they held a postseason spot was June 30 that season.

Cash was asked if facing the Rays lineup is in the best interest of the Orioles right now given their pitching struggled.

"I wouldn't think so," Cash said. "We look at us as having a dangerous lineup. You talk about all nine of your hitters and a mistake can change a ball game with a couple of guys on by hitting a ball out of the ball park. … It's a deep lineup that seems to be clicking pretty well right now."

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