The Rays dropped the rubber match in their opening series to the Orioles Thursday afternoon, as they weren't able to stop a scorching Chris Davis for the third straight game.
Roberto Hernandez made his Rays debut, and looked solid. If it wasn't for Chris Davis, he would've had a gem, as Baltimore's red-hot DH drove in all four runs allowed by Hernandez.
Just like in the first two games of the series, the O's jumped out to an early lead via home run. In the top of the second, Davis took Hernandez yard for a two-run blast to right-center field.
On the hill for the Orioles was right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who breezed through the first four innings. For the third straight game, Tampa's bats stayed quiet early on. Gonzalez hit a speedbump in the fifth inning, though, as the Rays managed to muster together a rally. RBI singles from James Loney and Jose Molina tied the game 2-2.
The Orioles, however, responded the following inning just as they did in the two previous games. Chris Davis simply refused to give the Rays a break, smacking an opposite field two-run double to give Baltimore back the lead.
Davis was the one-man wrecking crew who really won both games in the series for the O's. His start to the season has been incredible: Seven hits (six extra-base hits), three homers and 11 RBI in just 11 at-bats.
Just to show how ridiculous Davis is right now, here's the pitch location on both hits yesterday:
Courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net
As you can see, they weren't even bad pitches at all. The man is just unstoppable, and has also been hitting balls to all parts of the field.
Back to the game, Hernandez would exit in the seventh inning with two outs. He finished the day with six hits, four earned runs, two walks and seven strikeouts over 105 pitches. Hernandez was able to get to get batters to swing and miss throughout his start, and also did well inducing groundballs (eight grounders, four flyballs).
Lefty specialist Cesar Ramos came in on relief, tossing 1 1/3 innings. J.J. Hardy would blow the game open with a two-run homer in the eighth off Ramos.
Down 6-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Rays would give Baltimore a bit of a scare with the meat of their lineup. With two men on and nobody out, Evan Longoria cranked a long drive off the top of the left-center field wall. Sean Rodriguez would score on the play, but the umpires ruled that Longo passed Ben Zobrist on the basepaths between first and second base. Longoria was called out and Zobrist would end up at third.
Here's a video of the controversial call.
After that rally killer, closer Jim Johnson then finished off the Rays, securing the 6-3 victory for the Orioles.
The Rays kick off a three-game set versus the Cleveland Indians tonight at 7:10 ET. Matt Moore will make his season debut against right-hander Zach McAllister.
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