The Tampa Bay Rays (30-23) could not find their rhythm against the lefty SP Brian Matusz and dropped back into a two-way tie for the AL East Division lead as the Baltimore Orioles (30-23) won 2-1.
Matusz pitched 7 and 1/3 innings while striking out 7 and walking only 3. The only run the Rays could manage off the young lefty came on an RBI ground out in the fifth inning after 2B Sean Rodriguez doubled to open the frame. The Tampa Bay offense collected a total of only two hits on the game, but SP Jeremy Hellickson pitched as well as he could in his 6 and 2/3 innings.
Hellickson struck out 8 and walked only 1, but he allowed a third inning home run to LF Endy Chavez, which gave the Orioles an early 1-0 lead. After the Rays scored to even the game, the Tampa Bay defense once again faltered as 3B Drew Sutton threw a ball sailing wide to 1B Carlos Pena, scoring the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run.
Other highlights from the game:
- RF Ben Zobrist made a trio of impressive defensive plays, catching a warning track fly ball against the back wall, diving to snare a low liner and making a strong throw to the plate after the error that scored Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, Zobrist also hit into a crucial bases-loaded double play to end the 8th inning and end the Rays' best scoring chance of the game.
- RP Joel Peralta, RP Burke Badenhop, RP Jake McGee and RP J.P. Howell combined for 2 and 1/3 innings, allowing only 1 hit while collecting 3 strikeouts.
- The Rays hitters had only 2 line drives all game, according to Baseball Info Solutions' classifications (via FanGraphs), while the Orioles lineup hit a total of 8 line drives.
Read more about the Rays at DRaysBay. For more in-depth coverage on the other side, visit Orioles blog Camden Chat. Go to Baseball Nation for additional news and notes around the league.