Sizzling 6-run 3rd lifts Rays past Orioles

May 27th, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG -- A big inning offensively for the Rays and another gutsy performance from the relievers on "bullpen day" led the way to a 8-3 win over the visiting Orioles at Tropicana Field on Sunday.

"Our guys are playing really well right now and we are playing good baseball as a team," Rays third baseman Christian Arroyo said.

The Rays scored six runs against Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman in the bottom of the third to erase an early three-run deficit left by "starter" Sergio Romo, who could not to make it out of the first inning for a second straight appearance. Romo, making his fourth start in nine games, loaded the bases in the first with just one out before being pulled in favor of reliever Vidal Nuno. After a rocky first inning in which he allowed all of the inherited runners to score, Nuno settled down to pick up the win after tossing three shutout innings.

Austin Pruitt also had an impressive day on the mound as he picked up an unorthodox five-inning save. Pruitt allowed just three hits, struck out five and walked none in 5 2/3 innings.

"I had one last year that was three (innings) but 5 2/3, I'd say that's lengthy," Pruitt said. "I was in this role a little bit last year. I wasn't going as long as I am now but I guess the way things are set up, we go a little bit longer."

Brad Miller started off the offense in the third with a double off the base of the wall in left field. He would come around to score easily on an RBI single by Joey Wendle to give the Rays their first lead of the ballgame. Miller, who also homered to lead off the game, finished 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored.

"The way we've got a lot of guys clicking right now it's a lot of fun," Miller said. "When we turned it over I felt like I was hitting with runners on all day, which is a lot of fun."

The Rays would continue to pile on Gausman in the inning. Wilson Ramos singled and Daniel Robertson walked to load the bases. Mallex Smith scored Wendle with an RBI groundout. Gausman plunked Carlos Gomez with a wayward breaking ball to reload the bases for Arroyo. Arroyo, who finished his day 2-for-2 with two walks, drove in a pair while ending Gausman's afternoon with a hard single to right field.

"There's a lot of professionals in here," Miller said. "A lot of guys that can string it together with competitive at-bats, Number 1 through 12 on the roster."

Just two days removed from the 10-day disabled list, Gomez showed no signs of the groin strain that sidelined him. With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Baltimore's Trey Mancini popped up toward the Rays' bullpen in right. Gomez made the diving grab near the catcher's pit in foul ground as he crashed into the turf, losing his hat in the process. An exuberant Gomez capped off the play with a triumphant gesture and cheer that could be heard throughout the ballpark. Gomez carried that enthusiasm into his next turn at the plate, hammering the first pitch he saw in the inning into the seats down the left-field line.


Including Sunday, the Rays have scored 32 runs in the first inning of games this season, fourth most in the American League behind Kansas City (42), Cleveland and New York (tied with 38). Tampa Bay has outscored opponents 32-20 in the first inning and have scored 16 runs in the first inning of their last 16 games.


Miller's fifth home run of the season was a ringer. Leading off in the bottom of the first, Miller crushed a 2-2 fastball from Gausman to deep right that ended up hitting the D-ring catwalk of the ballpark. According to Statcast™, the 436-foot shot left the bat at a 29-degree angle with an exit velocity of 109.2 MPH.


"I lost it. The culmination of the past two years and the injuries and being on the brink, I've been waiting and waiting. As soon as it goes out of my mind, I stop focusing on it and then it comes out of the blue. It was surprising to me." --  Rays reliever Jaime Schultz, after being informed of his first big league callup


The Rays head off on a 10-day, nine-game West Coast road trip, starting with a 4:05 p.m. ET opener at Oakland on Monday. Chris Archer (3-3, 4.68 ERA) will face off against Trevor Cahill (1-2, 2.75) to start the four-game set against the Athletics. Archer, who will be making his first career start at the Oakland Coliseum, has had a strong month of May, allowing two earned runs or less in four of his five starts this month.