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Written By Nick Porcelli

Following a long road trip, the Tampa Bay Rays returned to Tropicana Field to take on their AL East rival Baltimore Orioles in a two-game series. With the Orioles hot on their tale for the division lead, this was a huge series for the Rays. And while not the result they would have hoped for, the Rays managed to split the series and keep their lead at five games.

How did this happen? Let’s take a look at each game to find out..

Game 1 

The Rays lost Game 1 by the score of 8-6. 

The reason this loss happened is simple, the Rays’ pitching staff did not play well. Starter Tyler Glasnow had a terrible outing, allowing six straight runs in the first two innings. He gave up two home runs, in addition to four more hits, before being pulled in the middle of the 5th. Shawn Armstrong and Robert Stephenson would also give up runs and in total, the pitching staff would give up a combined 10 hits.

The Rays would make the game interesting in the second half. After being down 7-0, they would make a solid comeback effort, scoring two runs in the 5th and four runs in the 6th. But it wouldn’t be enough as the Orioles’ bullpen would manage to hold onto the lead.

Making it a game at the end was cool to see and in many games scoring six runs would be enough o get the win. But due to the Rays’ pitching struggling all game, it wasn’t enough in this one.

Game 2

The Rays would rebound nicely in Game 2, earning a 7-2 win.

The Rays pitching was much better in this game. Starter Taj Bradley threw for six innings and struck out eight batters while only giving up three hits and one run. The rest of the bullpen, Colin Poche, Kevin Kelly and Zack Littell, would combine to only give up one run, a home run in the ninth when the Rays were up 7-1. In total the staff only gave up four hits, six less than the amount given up the game before.

Not to be outdone, the Rays’ offense had a solid game too. The team would take the lead early by scoring four runs in the 2nd, which saw Randy Arozarena and Issac Parades hit back-to-back home runs. The team would later add to this lead by scoring two runs in the 7th, off a Wander Franco sacrifice fly and RBI single hit by Arozarena, and one in the 8th, thanks to a Lady Diaz RBI single.

In this game, it almost felt like the team roles in Game 1 had reversed, as now it was the Rays that had jumped out to a big lead early that the Orioles couldn’t catch up to. The only difference is while the Rays managed to make it close in Game 1, the Orioles never did that in Game 2 as the Rays pitching quest them mostly quiet all game. 

What’s Next?

The Rays will be back at the Trop tomorrow to start a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals. Shane McClanahan will be the Rays’ starter in Game 1.

Rays’ Best Player of the Series

Isaac Paredes

Went a combined three-for-six at the plate with two RBIs.

Rays’ Best Play of the Series

The back-to-back home runs in Game 2

Yes, this is technically two plays, but it was impressive and the key to the Rays’ victory in Game 2.