Baltimore blanks Rays in role reversal

Rays relievers didn’t fare much better against the vindictive Orioles bats. Juan Cruz and Adam Russell each ate a run.

Brandon Gomes was the only pitcher not named Brad Bergesen to have a good showing, closing out the last out of the eighth and striking out the side in the top of the ninth to prevent further damage.

Of course, it matters not how many runs against when the Rays offer none of their own.

With just four hits, Tampa Bay batters were swinging the same flaccid lumber they had for the opening series of 2011.

The big difference is that they didn’t manage that one run that they had in each of those first three ugly outings.

It was the first time the Rays had been shutout this season.

But not for lack of opportunity.

The Rays had a man in scoring position in each of the first two innings with one out.

Evan Longoria grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to prevent Ben Zobrist from scoring from third in the bottom of the first inning.

“That was a really big play,” said Maddon. “I know it happened in the first inning but nevertheless it was big. We’ve been doing a lot of scoring early and that took us out of that trend, but that’s going to happen.”

B.J. Upton picked up a one-out double in the home half of the second but Casey Kotchman grounded to second base and Reid Brignac flied out to center.

American League-leading hitter Matt Joyce—second in the majors only to St. Louis’ Matt Holliday coming into the game—was held hit-less in his three plate appearances, dropping his average to .360.

Joyce stayed ahead of his closest competitor in the AL, Toronto’s Jose Bautista, who went one-for-five in the Blue Jays’ 11th-inning smackdown of the Minnesota Twins.

Sometimes you’re the bat. Sometimes you’re the ball.

Or, as Maddon said, “You’re not going to be an oil painting every night. Just ask Da Vinci, ask Michelangelo.”

The Rays get the chance for a masterpiece and a series win in Sunday's matinee. Andy Sonnanstine (0-0, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start against Baltimore's Jake Arrieta (4-1, 4.17). First pitch is scheduled for 1:40 p.m.

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Kevin Tall
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Sometimes you’re the bat. Sometimes you’re the ball.

The Tampa Bay Rays, a day removed from smacking the Baltimore Orioles around, traded roles with the visiting team in Saturday afternoon’s 6-0 setback.

Like Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson the evening prior, Baltimore’s Brad Bergesen threw a four-hit, complete-game shutout in the matinee.

After being blanked in Hellickson’s career-first CG, Baltimore’s batters made up for lost time at the expense of Saturday’s starter Wade Davis. The rusty-looking righty gave up four runs on seven hits, with three each in the walks and strikeouts departments.

The two teams swapped sweeps in the previous meetings this year.

The past two days, each team had a starter go the distance and blank the opposition, with his counterpart yielding two home runs.

Saturday, Davis gave up a solo shot to Mark Reynolds in the top of the fifth. The righty escaped further damage in the inning when the Orioles left ‘em loaded; Luke Scott lined out to Matt Joyce in right for the third out.

Jake Fox took Davis long to left and took the struggling righty out of the game on the 3-2 pitch, one out into the sixth.

“Still, fastball command for me is an issue,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon. “He’s got to be able to throw his fastball for a strike more consistently. That’s the main culprit.”

The loss—the third this year—was the first for Davis since April 9. He had won four of his previous five starts.

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