Hot-hitting Rays aim to complete sweep of Orioles

MLB Baseball

The Tampa Bay Rays scored a total of 22 runs in the first two games of their three-game series at Baltimore, and they will look to keep their offense rolling as they try to complete a sweep of the Orioles on Thursday afternoon.

Tampa Bay is coming off a 9-7 victory Wednesday, a game in which the Rays rallied from an early 5-0 deficit. The Rays hit three homers Wednesday after blasting five in a 13-6 win Tuesday.

In the series’ second game, Tampa Bay leadoff man Randy Arozarena homered twice, went 3-for-5 and drove in four runs. No. 9 hitting Mike Brosseau also went deep, as he and Arozarena went back-to-back off Baltimore ace John Means in the fifth inning to start the comeback.

Arozarena also made a jumping catch at the left field wall to take a homer away from Pat Valaika in the sixth inning.

“I looked up in the stands to make everyone believe I (hadn’t) made the catch,” Arozarena said. “That’s just a part of my game. I like to have fun. I like to be relaxed out there. It was a good catch.”

Thanks in part to Arozarena’s bat, the Tampa Bay offense has been hot throughout the team’s now six-game winning streak, scoring 53 runs.

The Rays made several moves before the Wednesday win. They activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the injured list and put pitchers Luis Patino (lacerated right middle finger) along with Cody Reed (weakness in left thumb) on the IL.

Patino started Tuesday night and allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings.

Tampa Bay called up pitchers Louis Head and Trevor Richards from Triple-A Durham, and they optioned infielder Kevin Padlo to Durham.

Also, shortstop Willy Adames sustained a calf cramp on the game-ending play, when he fielded a ball in the hole and got a forceout at second base. He could miss the Thursday game, according to manager Kevin Cash.

Rich Hill (2-1, 4.26), who will start for Tampa Bay in the series finale, has not allowed a run in 17 2/3 innings. He owns a 2-0 record and a 1.27 ERA in 13 career appearances (three starts) versus the Orioles.

For the Orioles, Dean Kremer (0-3, 5.81 ERA) is still looking for his first victory but has done much better in his past three starts, pitching effectively each time, going 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA.

Kremer got a no-decision in his only career appearance against the Rays, when he allowed one run in five innings on Sept. 17, 2020.

The Orioles will hope to get support for Kremer from Trey Mancini, who tied a career high by driving in five runs Wednesday. He has a major-league-leading 38 RBIs.

Mancini started slowly this season after missing 2020 due to colon cancer surgery and its subsequent treatments but has heated up of late.

Mancini went 4-for-5 with two homers and a three-run double on Wednesday, giving him a .328 average (21-for-64) with four homers and 21 RBIs in 16 games this month. His average is up to .273.

“If you told me that a year ago, I’d be pretty pleased to hear that,” Mancini said about leading the majors in RBIs. “I do reflect a lot on last year. As much as I’ve tried to move on, it’s hard not to look back and say like, ‘A year ago today, I was going through this cycle of (chemotherapy) treatments.’ …

“Definitely much happier to be here in 2021 and playing baseball, and something I definitely don’t take for granted.”

The Orioles have been struggling of late, now having dropped nine of their past 11. For most of this season, the bullpen has given the team strong work, but the reliever yielded five runs in 2 2/3 innings during the Wednesday defeat.

–Field Level Media

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