Nate Lowe homered and finished with three RBI and Tommy Pham also homered as visiting Tampa Bay took charge with a seven-run first inning, and the Rays rolled to a 16-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night. Tampa Bay started the second half of its season with a bang thanks to that seven-run, eight-hit top of the first. In fact, every member of the Rays' starting lineup had registered a hit by the second inning where they took a 9-0 lead.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that the seven runs in the first inning set a club record for most runs in the opening inning on the road. Tampa Bay finished with a season-high in runs and hits (20). Seven of the Rays finished with at least two hits, and Lowe led the way (4-for-5, a triple shy of the cycle) as the Rays won their third straight.
But early in the game, the only problems for the Rays came when they had to pinch-hit for designated hitter Austin Meadows in the third inning. Various reports came out as to why -- the team first said it wanted to give him some rest, but he did have problems with food poisoning in the last few days. Pham started things rolling in that big first with a homer off of Dylan Bundy with one out. That gave the Rays a 1-0 lead after just two batters.
Yandy Diaz made it 2-0 with an RBI single, and a Bundy wild pitch brought in another run. Joey Wendle and Travis d'Arnaud then got RBI singles before Willy Adames and Meadows pitched in with run-scoring doubles for that 7-0 lead. They made it 9-0 in the second on a Lowe homer. Tampa Bay later had another big inning, a five-run seventh that stretched the lead to 16-2.
All of that offense made things easy for starter Yonny Chirinos (8-4). The right-hander went seven innings and gave up two runs while striking out eight. Bundy (4-11) lasted just that one inning and gave up the seven runs on eight hits. Baltimore went to utility player Stevie Wilkerson to pitch the ninth, and he retired the side in order. Also for Baltimore, Renato Nunez homered and added an RBI double.
--Field Level Media
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