ST. PETERSBURG — Joey Rickard‘s three-run homer in the fifth broke a scoreless tie, leading the Orioles to a 3-1 win over the Rays Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.
The victory allowed the Orioles to avoid getting swept in the three-game series.
Rickard, a Rule 5 acquisition the Orioles selected from the Rays in December, stepped to the plate in the fifth with two on and two out and connected on the first pitch he saw from Rays starter Matt Moore. Once the ball landed in the left-field stands, Rickard had his second home run of the season, and the Orioles had a 3-0 lead.
Rickard’s home run proved to be the only blemish on Moore’s line. The Rays lefty allowed just three hits while walking two and striking out nine over seven innings. Meanwhile, Orioles starter Chris Tillman held the Rays scoreless on two hits and two walks, striking out nine over 6 2/3 innings.
“Fairly quiet ballgame to say the least,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I thought Matt Moore was outstanding. Their guy was very good also. … Tillman was probably as tough as we’ve seen. … He made quality pitches and just gave us fits. And sometimes you’re going to have that happen.”
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tillman dominates: Tillman gave the Orioles exactly what they needed: a dominant outing that allowed the offense to get to work. He exited after a seventh-inning two-out walk, retiring 11 of his final 12 and lowering his season ERA to 3.24. More >
Souza takes flight: Steven Souza Jr. took inspiration from teammate Kevin Kiermaier in the fourth to flag down a Chris Davis drive with a diving catch at the wall. Batting with one out in the fourth, Davis swung at a 1-0 fastball from Moore and drove the ball toward the 370-foot sign in right-center field. Souza sprinted after the ball, leaving his feet at the last instant to dive toward the wall to make the catch. More >
Rickard’s payback: Not only did Rickard give the O’s their first home run in four games, but his multi-run shot came against the team that left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft this winter. Rickard has now already matched his home run total in the Minors last year with two blasts.
Bullpen blanks: The Rays bullpen continued to post blanks. Not since Friday night — whenErasmo Ramirez allowed a walk-off home run to Brett Gardner at Yankee Stadium — has the Rays’ bullpen been scored on. The two scoreless frames Wednesday night, thrown byRyan Webb and Dana Eveland, ran the streak to 10 1/3 innings. The Orioles were unable to score on the Rays’ bullpen in the series.
The bullpen secured two more scoreless innings “with guys that haven’t had the opportunity to pitch too much,” Cash said. “Webby and Eveland, both, we know that we’re going to lean on them at certain points. It just hasn’t quite worked out in the early part of this season. They’re somewhat fresh, but it was good to get them out there.”
“You know, good for him. Hopefully he has a lot of success. Just do it against the rest of the division. Not against us.” — Cash, on Rickard
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Orioles are 8-0 when Rickard scores at least one run.
The Rays challenged the safe call when Davis reached first base with one out in the ninth. Davis hit the ball into a shifted Rays infield and second baseman Logan Forsythe‘s throw appeared to draw Logan Morrison off the base. After a delay of 2 minutes 34 seconds, the call on the field was overturned.
Orioles: Baltimore will head home to take on the Chicago White Sox on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET for the first time this season. Righty Tyler Wilson will be getting his second start with Yovani Gallardo‘s injury opening up a spot. The righty went five innings in his previous outing, limited to 70 pitches because he was in the bullpen.
Rays: The Rays will host the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field for the second time this season. Drew Smyly will start Friday at 7:10 p.m., hoping to build on the success he has found in the past against division foes. He is 9-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 28 career games against AL East teams.