Erik Bedard’s Solid Effort Paces Rays To 5-4 Victory
The Tampa Bay Rays got a solid start from Erik Bedard (4-5, 4.21 ERA) who went 7+ innings holding the Baltimore Orioles to three runs on five hits while striking out seven and walking none. With the win the Rays improve to 34-49 and have an opportunity to capture a 4-game series win which is something manager Joe Maddon believes must happen for the team to make noise in the 2014 season.
For us to get back on top, tomorrow is a game we need to win. We have to start winning series consistently.
— Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) June 29, 2014
In the second inning the Rays used the long ball to increase their lead to 3-0 as Logan Forsythe connected on a change up to hit his first home run of the year and first since September 27 of last year off the Giants Javy Lopez. It was the first of three hits for Forsythe on the day (also drew a walk) as he raised his average to .229. Over his last eight games he is hitting .426 (12 for 26) to raise his season average 0.051 points from .178 on June 15th.
Kevin Kiermaier added to the Rays lead with a 2-run homer of his own in the top of the fourth inning pushing the Rays lead to 5-0. It was Kiermaier fifth homer of the season and including his time in the minors this year he has hit eight home runs which exceeds his previous professional career high of 6 set last season between the Rays Doulbe-A affiliate Montgomery Biscuits and their Triple-A affiliate Durham Bulls.
The Orioles came back with a homer of their own in the top of the sixth as Nick Markakis connected on a Bedard split-fingered fastball to cut the Rays lead to 5-1.
Chen lasted just 3.1 innings which was the shortest outing of his career. The Orioles bullpen held the Rays scoreless over the final 6.1 innings. Over the last eight games the Orioles bullpen has posted a 0.30 ERA (29.2IP, ER).
The Orioles rallied with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to draw within one run at 5-4. J.J. Hardy led off with a single against Bedard and came in to score on a 2-run homer by Manny Machado. It was only the second time that Bedard has allowed multiple home runs this season and the first times since May 26 at Toronto.
Manny Machado was the Orioles last hope in the bottom of the ninth inning and after seeing a steady diet of fastballs at between 96 and 99 miles per hour catcher Ryan Hanigan called for the seldom used curveball. McGee sent the slow 77-mph breaker toward the plate and Machado swung over the top of it to end the game. It was the first swing and miss generated off his curve ball for the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time.