For the Rays, the thunder began before the rain Friday night. On a night where Derek Lowe and Jaime Garcia each took a no-hitter into the 7th, James Shields’ 7+ IP, 1 ER performance may look rather pedestrian. However, Shields has now pitched into at least the 7th in five straight starts and allowed only 4 ER in that span. Shields found some run support early on from recently called up Brandon Guyer who sent a Zach Britton fastball into the left-center field seats for two runs after Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton laced back to back doubles to the right field corner. Guyer, making his debut in front of a dozen or so family and friends from nearby Virginia, would become the first Ray to ever hit a homerun in his first major league plate appearance.
Both Britton and Shields would go on cruise-control through four rain-soaked innings. Not until Baltimore’s Derek Lee homered off of Shields in the 6th to almost the exact same seat as Guyer had in the 2nd, did the O's make a sound offensively. Shields would shake that pitch off and continue his streak of dominance as he finished his one-run effort having given up 3 hits, 3 walks, and striking out 5 Oriole hitters.
Britton wouldn’t survive past the 6th inning and the Baltimore bullpen would allow the Rays to cushion their lead to 6-1 at its highest. After an Evan Longoria walk and a Kelly Shoppach walk, recently-hot Casey Kotchman singled off Clay Rapada on a ground ball to right field, allowing Longoria to score. Not to be outdone, Koji Uehara would give up a single to Ben Zobrist and a homerun to Johnny Damon in the top of the 9th. Baltimore would add a gimme-run in the bottom of the 9th when Vlad Guerrero and Luke Scott would hit back-to-back doubles off of Joel Peralta. Fellow new-Brandon, Brandon Gomes would come in to collect the last out of the game, pushing the Rays to an 18-14 record. The Orioles and Rays will face off tomorrow afternoon at 1:10pm.