Rays rookie crafts new memory in hometown

McClanahan pitches career-high 7 innings in native Baltimore as Rays improve to 10-1 vs. O's

August 8th, 2021

BALTIMORE -- It was a game dreamed about his entire life.

The Rays’ rookie left-hander finally got the opportunity to pitch at Camden Yards, a stadium where he grew up watching games.

McClanahan, a Baltimore native, had an impressive performance with seven solid innings, leading the Rays to a dominant 12-3 victory.

• Box score

“It was cool,” McClanahan said. “I’m definitely going to call my mom and dad … to tell them how cool it was to pitch in this stadium where I fell in love with baseball, where I had the best memories of my life. I was a 4- or 5-year-old kid taking the train to watch the O’s play.”

hit a grand slam off the left-field foul pole off César Valdez in the eighth inning. , and rookie also homered for the Rays, who improved to 10-1 against Baltimore. Cruz has seven RBIs over the two games in the series.

McClanahan dominated the Orioles on July 20. On Saturday, he overcame a shaky 30-pitch third inning to pick up his second win against his American League East foes. McClanahan (6-4) allowed three runs on five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

“He was awesome,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Really, really good. I was encouraged with his outing. He backed up another outstanding performance. He had good command, got his strikeouts and overcame a little bit of adversity.”

McClanahan could be at ease on the mound with the way Tampa Bay is hitting the ball. The Rays have scored 22 runs and pounded 28 hits over the two games in Baltimore. Tampa Bay has won seven of nine games and remains in first place in the AL East, three games ahead of the Red Sox.

“It was a good team win,” McClanahan said. “Everything was clicking on all facets. I try to compete my butt off, and everyone made the plays around me. Offense was timely, Brandon with a grand slam off the foul pole, that was pretty awesome to see.”

McClanahan has emerged as one of the Rays’ most reliable starting pitchers. He has shown solid command throughout the season and will play a crucial role in the stretch run to the playoffs.

“I think he came in as a pretty special pitcher,” Cash said. “I think he’s learning as he goes. We think really, really highly of him for good reason.”

The Rays were still without outfielder Randy Arozarena, who is on the COVID-related IL. Arozarena is 17-for-37 with seven homers and 16 RBIs against Baltimore this season.