BALTIMORE -- The Rays had an unusual day Wednesday to say the least. They traded Nathan Eovaldi before their game against the Yankees, then they traded Matt Andriese after the game.
After all that, the club showed up Thursday night and did what it had to do to claim the first game of a four-game series against Baltimore with a 4-3 win at Camden Yards. Then, after the game, the Rays completed yet another trade, sending Jonny Venters to the Braves.
Thursday's win moved the Rays to 53-50 on the season.
"They are [focused]," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You can't say enough about how they come to work every day and prepare, and then go out there and perform. We're going to have some performances that maybe aren't as pretty as others, but they definitely compete."
Ryan Yarbrough, who pitched 4 1/3 innings of relief to get the win, conceded that finding that focus is "a lot tougher than it sounds."
"Because we had those two guys who have been a big part of how we've been successful this year and two big clubhouse guys," Yarbrough said. "It's kind of the cliche, the next man up."
Cash noted that his team's prevailing attitude is very important for what the Rays are trying to accomplish overall.
"We've talked about the youth and the influx and the way they can kind of permeate through the clubhouse," Cash said. "And they've done that, and they've won together. I still think you have to give credit to the guys who have been here and have led the way. But we have a lot of guys that have winning experience at the Minor League level, and we'll take it any way we can get it."
Rookie Jake Bauers, who is considered a big piece of the Rays future, doesn't believe the Rays are far off. The rookie first baseman cited the fact that both of Wednesday's trades brought in players, Jalen Beeks and Michael Perez, who are in the clubhouse, rather than trading for low-level Minor Leaguers.
"I mean, I don't want to speak for everybody," Bauers said. "But for me personally, I know that the expectations of the guys in the clubhouse, and everyone else around baseball, don't exactly line up. I think we know how good we are, regardless of record or standings or games back. Or whatever. So I just think we take that approach.
"Every night, we go out and know what kind of game we have to play to get a win. We know what we need to do individually and as a team. We know what it takes. And you know, obviously, everything else that goes on outside of that, we can't control."
With Thursday's game tied at 2, Ji-Man Choi doubled to lead off the seventh and moved to third on Joey Wendle's single to center. Adeiny Hechavarria followed with a single to left to score Choi. Wendle then scored with two outs when Orioles right-hander Jhan Marinez made a bad throw to first, putting the Rays up 4-2.
Chris Davis' solo home run in the eighth off Sergio Romo cut the Rays' lead to 4-3, but Austin Pruitt got the final four outs to preserve the win.
Tampa Bay scored twice in the fourth on RBI singles by Bauers and Choi. Baltimore answered in the fifth when Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer off Yarbrough, giving Schoop a home run in his fourth consecutive game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tampa Bay's bullpen entered Thursday night's game spent. That left Pruitt as "the last man standing," according to Cash. The right-hander, who was recalled Wednesday to begin his fourth stint of the season, came through big time.
Romo got the first two outs in the eighth, giving way to Pruitt, who then struck out Jace Peterson to end the inning. He started the ninth by striking out Caleb Joseph and Timothy Beckham before retiring Schoop on a weak pop-up to first to end the game. Pruitt earned his second save of the season.
The Rays acquired Perez from the D-backs on Wednesday. He played in the Major Leagues for the first time on Thursday, starting at catcher. After lining out in his first Major League at-bat in the third, Perez doubled off Alex Cobb with one out in the fifth for his first Major League hit.
"I thought that it was going to land foul, but thankfully it stayed fair, and I'm just really happy, really excited to get this great experience and this great day," Perez said.
HE SAID IT
"I'm just trying to compete every day. ... It's obviously a really cool feeling, and obviously, I'd like to get a couple of more." -- Yarbrough, on earning his ninth win of the season
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
A crew-chief review took place in the seventh when Choi doubled to left and it appeared a fan might have interfered. After a review of three minutes and six seconds, the call on the field was ruled to stand and Choi remained at second.
Chris Archer (3-4, 4.30 ERA), the subject of many trade rumors, will start Friday night when the Rays play the Orioles in a 7:05 p.m. ET contest at Camden Yards. Archer struck out 13 on Sunday against the Marlins. He now has 28 career starts with double-digit strikeouts, and Sunday's appearance was the ninth of those starts without a walk. Right-hander Andrew Cashner (2-9, 4.40) will start for the Orioles.