CLUTCH SUMMARY: As the playoffs draw closer, teams look to their less-heralded players to step up into the limelight and help them make that final push to the postseason. The Nationals, Brewers, Rays, Twins, and Athletics all have that guy who is primed to fill those shoes this season. Victor Robles and Lorenzo Cain, both starting center fielders for their respective squads, have had really solid (Robles) or middling (Cain) seasons. Regardless of how they have played so far, they both seem to be starting to peak just at the right time for their clubs. On the American League side, starting pitchers Charlie Morton and Jose Berrios, as well as third baseman Matt Chapman, all are looking to be that
Tampa Bay faces off against Baltimore in division matchup Tampa Bay Rays (76-54, second in the AL East) vs. Baltimore Orioles (41-88, fifth in the AL East) Baltimore; Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT PITCHING PROBABLES: Rays: Jose Alvarado (1-5, 4.55 ERA) Orioles: John Means (8-9, 3.75 ERA) LINE: Rays -194; over/under is 10 1/2 runs BOTTOM LINE: Division rivals Baltimore and Tampa Bay will play on Saturday. The Orioles are 18-44 against the rest of their division. Baltimore has slugged .409 this season. Trey Mancini leads the club with a .520 slugging percentage, including 60 extra-base hits and 29 home runs. The Rays are 32-26 against opponents from the AL East. Tampa Bay has slugged .429 this season. Austin
BALTIMORE — Austin Meadows hit his first career grand slam to cap a seven-run second inning, Trevor Richards shined in his second start with Tampa Bay and the Rays extended their impressive road run by beating the Baltimore Orioles 7-1 Friday night. Meadows hit a 2-0 pitch from Ty Blach (0-2) deep into the center-field seats to send Tampa Bay to its fourth straight win over Baltimore. The drive was the highlight of an inning in which the Rays got five hits and a pair of walks. One night earlier, Meadows hit the 259th home run allowed by the Orioles, a major league record. That number now stands at 261. Tampa Bay has won 11 of its last 12 away games and now sits atop the AL wild-card standings.
Red Sox 5, Royals 4: As I wrote yesterday, this was a continuation of a suspended game from earlier this month. As I also wrote, it lasted 12 minutes, kids got in free, concessions were cheap and everyone left happy despite the complete lack of fireworks on the field. Cubs 1, Giants 0: Kyle Hendricks pitched seven shutout innings and Chicago won despite only getting two hits on the day. Both were singles, both in the fourth inning, with Jason Heyward reaching on one, advancing to third on an error and a double play and then getting knocked home when Anthony Rizzo singled to center.
Jerseys will take on a different look during Players' Weekend, when big leaguers are encouraged to be creative with what goes on the back of their uniforms. Cleveland outfielder Yasiel Puig will have Wild Horse, for the way he charges around the bases. Rays pitcher Charlie Morton will use Ground Chuck, for how he induces grounders.
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles set the major league record for home runs allowed in a season, giving up drives to Austin Meadows and Willy Adames in a rain-delayed, 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay that ended shortly before 1 a.m. Friday. About 200 fans were left at Camden Yards when the Rays closed out the win. Meadows hit the record-setting 259th home run off Baltimore this year, connecting in the third inning. The last-place Orioles began the day tied with the 2016 Cincinnati Reds for the dubious mark. Adames later hit No. 260 against the O's. Baltimore still has 34 more games remaining. After a rain delay of more than two hours, Adames hit a go-ahead single in the sixth off Miguel Castro (1-2). Oliver
Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe suffered a quad injury during a rehabilitation assignment and likely will miss the rest of the season. Manager Kevin Cash said Lowe got hurt on Wednesday while playing for Triple-A Durham. Lowe, an All-Star selection, is batting .276 with 16 homers and 49 RBIs.
Rays second. Jesus Aguilar walks. Willy Adames strikes out swinging. Mike Brosseau singles to right center field. Jesus Aguilar to second. Kevin Kiermaier doubles to left field. Mike Brosseau to third. Jesus Aguilar scores. Guillermo Heredia called out on strikes. Mike Zunino singles to right center field. Kevin Kiermaier scores. Mike Brosseau scores. Matt Duffy walks. Mike Zunino to second. Tommy Pham singles to second base. Matt Duffy to second. Mike Zunino to third. Austin Meadows homers to center field. Tommy Pham scores. Matt Duffy scores. Mike Zunino scores. Jesus Aguilar doubles to deep center field. Willy Adames pops out to center field to Jonathan Villar. 7 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors, 1
It was late in the 2015 season when Baltimore's Manny Machado smoked a pitch from Tampa Bay's Chris Archer into center field at Camden Yards. Kevin Kiermaier sprinted to the wall, turned and leaped high above it before reaching back and snatching the ball. He banged off the wall and landed on his feet with the ball firmly planted in his glove for the out. The play sent a dejected Machado back to the dugout and left a stunned Archer simply mouthing, "Wow." Archer, now with Pittsburgh, was so grateful for Kiermaier's extraordinary effort that he searched for a fitting way to thank his center fielder for keeping that run off the board. He found it by commissioning a painting of the catch, which
The Tampa Bay Rays know that Camden Yards is a place where teams hit home runs. The Rays aren't known as a power-hitting team this season, ranking 20th in the major leagues in home runs (172), but they have hit three in the first two games that have accounted for six of the 12 runs they have scored. In Friday's 7-1 win, the Rays scored all seven runs in the second inning, with four coming on Austin Meadows' grand slam.
Orioles first. Hanser Alberto reaches on error. Throwing error by Willy Adames. Trey Mancini doubles to deep left field, advances to home. Hanser Alberto scores. Throwing error by Willy Adames. Anthony Santander grounds out to third base, Matt Duffy to Ji-Man Choi. Renato Nunez singles to shallow center field. Jonathan Villar pops out to second base to Eric Sogard. Pedro Severino flies out to center field to Kevin Kiermaier. 2 runs, 2 hits, 2 errors, 1 left on. Orioles 2, Rays 0. Rays third. Willy Adames grounds out to shortstop, Jace Peterson to Trey Mancini. Eric Sogard lines out to left field to Anthony Santander. Austin Meadows homers to right field. Tommy Pham flies out to right center field
Orioles set mark for HRs allowed in late-night loss to Rays For a while, there's been no doubt the Baltimore Orioles would set a dubious record for the most home runs allowed in a season. It was just a matter of where and when. And that came early Thursday night when Tampa Bay's Austin Meadows sent a drive sailing over the right field scoreboard at Camden Yards. Much later, the Rays finished off a rain-delayed, 5-2 win that ended shortly before 1 a.m. Friday. About 200 fans were left for the final out. Meadows hit the record-setting 259th home run off Baltimore this year — the last-place Orioles began the day tied with the 2016 Cincinnati Reds for the highest total in big league history. Meadows
BALTIMORE (AP) — Clutch hitting. Strong starting pitching. Road wins. Those are marks of a playoff contender, and the Tampa Bay Rays appear poised to benefit from each facet as they strive to reach the postseason for the first time since 2013. Austin Meadows hit his first career grand slam to cap a seven-run second inning, Trevor Richards shined in his second start with Tampa Bay and the Rays extended their impressive road show by beating the Baltimore Orioles 7-1 Friday night. Meadows hit a 2-0 pitch from Ty Blach (0-2) deep into the center-field seats to send Tampa Bay to its fourth straight win over Baltimore. The drive was the highlight of an inning in which the Rays got five hits and a pair