Make us your home page
Instagram

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 rout Orioles 14-3

Ben Zobrist heads toward third-base coach Tom Foley as he rounds third during his grand slam trot. Zobrist’s slam highlighted a seven-run fourth inning that allowed starter Scott Kazmir to cruise.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Ben Zobrist heads toward third-base coach Tom Foley as he rounds third during his grand slam trot. Zobrist’s slam highlighted a seven-run fourth inning that allowed starter Scott Kazmir to cruise.

ST. PETERSBURG — To manager Joe Maddon, Ben Zobrist may exemplify what has gone on during the Rays' remarkable run.

The utility­man, in his fourth stint with the club, has persevered through adversity and injuries.

And in taking a team-first attitude, he has come up with timely hits in huge moments in the coming-of-age season.

So it was only fitting that Zobrist played a memorable role in the Rays' 14-3 milestone-reaching win over the Orioles, an effort that epitomized how the Rays whole has become better than the sum of their parts.

Zobrist hit his first career grand slam — and received his first curtain call from 21,439 fans at Tropicana Field — as the Rays scored more runs than they had in their four previous games combined (12).

In doing so, the Rays (82-51), 41/2 games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East, picked up their 50th home win and guaranteed their first winning season in franchise history. They are on pace for 100 wins.

Maddon said they've been trying to break down "barriers" all season, and this is a significant one and a sign of what's to come.

"I think it means this has been the beginning of a new era," Zobrist said. "I don't feel like anybody is going, 'This is kind of a fluke season.' I think the way the pieces have been put into the puzzle, that this is the beginning of something we hope to do every year. To get 82 wins, we want that to be something that's average for us."

Maddon said a key to the Rays' success has been every person on the lineup card taking "ownership." And most everyone felt a part of Friday's win.

There was designated hitter Cliff Floyd, who racked up a season-high five RBIs and is now hitting .353 in August.

"He's a gamer," Maddon said. "And to get that kind of production out of him now is huge for us."

There was All-Star left-hander Scott Kazmir (10-6), who gave up just three hits in 51/3 scoreless innings to become the fifth Tampa Bay pitcher to reach 10 wins this season (The Angels are the only other team with five starters with 10 wins).

"Everyone wants him to pitch deeper into the games, which he shall," Maddon said. "But you look at his numbers, and they're really good."

There was second baseman Akinori Iwamura, who went 2-for-3 and has now hit safely in seven consecutive games. There was Gabe Gross, who collected a season-high three hits and followed up Zobrist's grand slam in the fourth with a solo shot. It was the seventh time the Rays have hit back-to-back home runs this season.

There was Carlos Pena, who walked three times (including once with the bases loaded) and had a run-scoring single, and there was B.J. Upton, who had three hits and scored three runs.

Maddon said the whole group is playing for one another and for a larger purpose — the postseason.

"We just have our eyes on a bigger prize," Kazmir said. "We like to see this. Fifty wins at home, that's incredible. But we feel like we have some unfinished business."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Rays 14

Orioles 3

XX innings

>>fast facts

Offensive outburst

The Rays are 11-0 in games they have scored 10 or more runs this season, three of them coming at home against the Orioles:

Friday 14-3 vs. Orioles

Aug. 10 11-3 at Seattle

Aug. 6 10-7 vs. Indians

July 4 11-2 vs. Royals

June 27 10-5 at Pirates

June 25 15-3 at Marlins

June 9 13-4 at Angels

June 6 12-4 at Rangers

May 24 11-4 vs. Orioles

April 11 10-5 vs. Orioles

April 4 13-4 at Yankees

Rays rout Orioles 14-3 08/29/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 31, 2008 6:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-Louisville

    College

    1. One of the many hard-to-believe stats about FSU's underperforming defense: DE Brian Burns led all freshmen nationally with 9 ½ sacks last year; his first one this season came midway through the second quarter Saturday.

    TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 21: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs the ball into the endzone for a touchdown during their game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) 775042617
  2. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher didn't have an explanation for the turning point in Saturday's 31-28 last-second loss to Louisville.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  3. Bucs-Bills: Tampa Bay's fatal habit of falling behind

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) recovers a fumble during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. Nicked-up Lightning vs. Penguins tonight

    Blogs

     

  5. What we've learned from the Bucs' and Bills' playoff droughts

    Bucs

    Is it possible for the Buccaneers and Bills to be any farther off the NFL's radar? You get the feeling schedule-makers didn't think twice about putting this one down for 1 p.m. Sunday — the let's-hope-no-one-notices time slot.

    [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]