Is it safe? Yes, it’s safe, it’s very safe, it’s so safe you wouldn’t believe it. Is it Safe? No. It’s not safe, it’s… very dangerous, be careful. Just exactly how many runs does the Rays offense have to spot Jeremy Hellickson  for a lead to be safe? This season the Rays have already seen a 7-run lead vanish resulting in a 9th inning loss and tonight in Baltimore they nearly saw a 8-run 8th inning lead vanish but held for a 12-10 victory to kick their road trip off to a winning start. The victory pushes the Rays record to above .500 at 21-20 and the loss drops the Orioles to 23-18.
Jeremy Hellickson  (2-2, 5.82 ERA) got the victory working a sloppy 7.2 innings allowing 8R/ER on 10 hits striking out 4 and walking 1. Kyle Farnsworth  was ineffective in relief failing to retire any of the 3 batters he faced allowing a single, home run, and infield hit. Joel Peralta  came in and recorded the final out of the 8th and stayed in for the 9th inning in picking up his 1st save of the season.
Jason Hammel  (5-2, 5.72 ERA) took the loss after working 4.2 innings allowing 7R/ER on 10 hits while striking out 4 and walking 2. The Orioles bullpen enabled teh Rays to grab a comfortable 12-4 lead. Alex Burnett  worked 0.1 innings allowing 3R/ER on 4 hits while striking out 1 and walking 2. Troy Patton  worked 2 innings and allowed 2R/ER on 4 hits while striking out 1 and walking 1. Brian Matusz  came in and worked a scoreless 8th inning and Pedro Strop  worked a scoreless 9th.
There were plenty of stars in the lineup as Desmond Jennings , Ben Zobrist , Evan Longoria , James Loney , Kelly Johnson , and Yunel Escobar  all had multi-hit games with Johnson and Escobar leading the way with 3 hits apiece. Kelly Johnson  hit his 6th home run and drove in 4 runs, Yunel Escobar  drove in 3, and Desmond Jennings  drove in 2. For all the positives with the offense on the night the negatives on the pitching continue to be worrisome.
Jeremy Hellickson entered the 8th inning with a 12-4 lead and after giving up an innocent run on a triple and a ground out he had the bases empty and a 12-5 lead. He had Nick Markakis  down in the count 0-2 and gave up a single on the next pitch which started the rally that eventually saw the Orioles cut the lead to 12-10.
Hellickson’s failure to finish off the 8th was not as troublesome as the continued poor performance of Kyle Farnsworth  who came in to face three hitters and gave up hits to all three including a 3-run homer to Chris Dickerson . Unlike Jeremy Hellickson who will continue to take his turn in the rotation every five days the Rays will have to decide whether Kyle Farnsworth is versatile or effective enough to continue to be a member of their 2013 bullpen.
The Orioles Chris Davis  continues to be a thorn in the Rays side. Entering the game he had 25 plate appearances against the Rays and had an average of .476 (10 for 21) with 3 home runs, 3 doubles, and 12 RBI. Tonight he was 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI.
The Orioles answered with 2-runs in the bottom of the1st to grab the 2-1 lead. Nate McLouth  singled to begin the game and Manny Machado  followed with a double to advance McClouth to 3rd. Hellickson went to work and retired Nick Markakis  on a pop out to shortstop Yunel Escobar and struck out Adam Jones  but still had to get by Chris Davis  to escape the inning. Once again Davis came through in the clutch against the Rays and delivered a 2-out single to plate both McClouth and Machado.
The Orioles extended their lead to 3-1 on a J.J. Hardy  home run to lead off the bottom of the 2nd.
The Rays answered the Orioles in the top of the 3rd with a 4-run outburst keyed by a 3-run homer by Kelly Johnson. With 1-out Ben Zobrist singled, advanced to 3rd on an Evan Longoria single, and came in to score on a James Loney  sacrifice fly. Luke Scott t drew a 2-out walk and Kelly Johnson followed with a 3-run homer to give the Rays a 5-3 lead.
The Rays broke the game open in the top of the 5th with their second 4 runs inning to take a 9-3 lead. With 1-out James Loney singled and advanced to second after Luke Scott  walked. Kelly Johnson banged a line drive off the wall in right which scored Loney which advanced Scott to 3rd but Johnson was thrown out at 2nd base. Alex Burnett  replaced Jason Hammel  and Jose Lobaton  drew a walk followed by a ground rule double by Yunel Escobar that scored Luke Scott and moved Lobaton to 3rd base. Desmond Jennings followed with a single up the middle that plated both Lobaton and Escobar to extend the Rays lead to 9-3.
The Rays bats continued to work as they extended their lead to 12-4 in the top of the 6th. Evan Longoria led off the inning by slicing a ball just fair down the right field line that bounced into the stands for a ground rule double ending Alex Burnett’s night. Left hander Troy Patton  was brought on to face the Rays trio of lefties due up. The move didn’t work as James Loney singled to move Longoria to 3rd and Luke Scott hit a sacrifice fly to extend the Rays lead to 10-3. Kelly Johnnson followed with a double which moved James Loney to 3rd. Yunel Escobar delivered a 2-out single driving in both Loney and Johnson to push the Rays out to 12-4.
The Orioles batted around in the bottom of the 8th to cut the Rays lead to 12-10. Nate McClouth led off by sending a slicing line drive to center that got by a diving Desmond Jennings and turned it into a triple. Manny Machado followed with a ground out to short to score McClouth and cut the Rays lead to 12-5.
Nick Markakis followed with a single but was retired on a ground out off the bat of Adam Jones  that Evan Longoria backhanded and nearly turned the 5-4-3 double play. Chris Davis followed with a double advancing Adam Jones to 3rd. Matt Wieters  followed with a single to drive in both Jones and Davis to cut the Rays lead to 12-7 and ending Jeremy Hellickson’s night. Kyle Farnsworth came in and gave up a single to J.J. Hardy  and a 3-run home run to Chris Dickerson  and suddenly the Rays comfortable lead had shrunk to a meager 2 runs at 12-10.
The inning was extended on a Yamaico Navarro  infield hit that and Joe Maddon  was forced to go to Joel Peralta  in the 8th inning to try to get the 4-out save. Peralta retired Nate McClouth to end the 8th. He retired the Orioles in order in the 9th to earn the save.