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Rookie Hess impresses as O's shut out Rays

Right-hander tosses 6 2/3 dominant innings
May 25, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG -- The shaving cream was in both corners of his eyes, white flakes in his hair and in his ears. The sudden sneak attack of teammate Adam Jones certainly didn't dampen the mood of Orioles rookie David Hess. In fact, it probably made that grin a little wider."No,

ST. PETERSBURG -- The shaving cream was in both corners of his eyes, white flakes in his hair and in his ears. The sudden sneak attack of teammate Adam Jones certainly didn't dampen the mood of Orioles rookie David Hess. In fact, it probably made that grin a little wider.
"No, absolutely not," Hess said when asked if he expected the pie treatment from Jones following 6 2/3 stifling innings in Friday's 2-0 win over the Rays. "That's part of being up here and enjoying it. It's fun."
It is far too early to be making definitive decisions on Hess. But the righty, initially promoted out of need, is proving that he, at the very least, deserves a longer look.
Hess, ranked No. 16 on the Orioles' Top 30 Prospects list, wasn't a touted prospect entering the year. He doesn't have overpowering stuff. But what the 24-year-old has shown -- a calm demeanor and ability to attack the zone -- has resulted in quality starts in two of his first three Major League starts.

"He's a respectful, confident guy. David is, 'Here it is. Let's go. Let's go compete,'" Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Hess, who rebounded from a three-homer game against Boston to turn in his best outing to date. "I think he's going to be that way throughout his career and where it takes him. He's going to let it rip and see where it takes him. I was proud of him. That was fun to watch."
The righty, who needed just 82 pitches to get through the first six frames, held the Rays to four hits and three walks en route to his second career win.
"Fastball command was there pretty well," Hess said of his game plan against the Rays. "Ran into a little bit of trouble occasionally with that, so then I utilized my slider pretty well and mixed in some splitters and curveballs to keep them off balance."
Hess struck out just three but kept the ball down and used his defense. Most notably, Hess stranded the tying run 90 feet away with no outs in the fifth. Up 1-0, and after issuing a leadoff walk to Mallex Smith, Hess' balk moved him to second and a failed pickoff attempt -- that saw second baseman Jonathan Schoop let the throw get by him -- put Smith on third.
But ground balls to third baseman Danny Valencia and shortstop Manny Machado, who recorded the final two outs, held Smith there to keep the one-run lead intact.
"I like it," Schoop said of the way Hess pitches. "He attacks the hitters. He throws strikes. He works quick. Like I said after his first start, he ain't scared. He attacked the zone and kept the hitters off balance. He's been really good."

It was Schoop who made it a two-run game, sending a 1-0 pitch from Rays "reliever" Ryan Yarbrough into left-center for his fifth homer of the year in the sixth inning. Yarbrough -- who entered the game in the first inning -- went a career-high seven innings, piggybacking off reliever Sergio Romo, who went two-thirds of an inning in the start, as Tampa Bay continues its unconventional pitching experiment when facing right-handed dominant lineups like Baltimore.
Valencia doubled in the first run off of Romo, scoring Jones in the first inning to give Baltimore a lead it would never relinquish.
Brad Brach brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the ninth but was able to navigate around it for his eighth save of the season. 

Susac to the rescue: Before Hess pitched around the fifth-inning jam, he got a little help in the prior frame from catcher Andrew Susac. As a pitch skipped away from Susac, Rays second baseman Joey Wendle broke for third but hesitated before making the dash. Susac easily nabbed him at third base for the second out of the inning, keeping Tampa Bay from putting the then-tying run 90 feet away.
It was one of three outs on the basepaths the Orioles got on the night, as Hess also picked off Brad Miller after he led off the first with a double.
"It was a good defensive game for us," Showalter said. "We got three outs being alert to some things, a pickoff and a delayed steal that we executed the defense of it well, and Sus jumped on that ball and threw him out at third and Danny made a good tag. Danny made a really nice play at third. That was a tough play going across the runner."

"I think you have to give credit to Hess. We faced him the other day, a couple of weeks ago, whenever it was. [Matt] Duffy hit the three-run homer off him and then he kind of shut us down. So there's something there. We're just not seeing him, for whatever reason, very well. I do think it has to do [with how] he pitches up with the fastball a little bit. But he mixed. He had enough zip on the fastball to get us to expand up, and it was a quiet night for us offensively." -- Rays manager Kevin Cash
The Orioles will send Andrew Cashner to the mound on Saturday at Tropicana Field. The righty is coming off his first win since April 5 after he allowed two runs on eight hits in a five-inning effort against the White Sox. Tampa Bay will counter with righty Ryne Stanek in the 4:10 p.m. ET game.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.