Fit to be Tied … Again (Rays at Orioles; 09.15.23)

Elliott Brown/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

BALTIMORE — The Tampa Bay Rays would like to remind the baseball world that, despite having to deal with a surprise contender in the American League East throughout the summer, that it is they who have spent more time atop the toughest division in Major League Baseball than any other, and tonight’s victory might prove to be the most satisfying of any this season as they look to finish where they started.

Zach Eflin held the Orioles to just one hit in seven dominant innings of work, spearheading the Rays’ 7-1 victory over Baltimore and creating a first-place tie in the division for the first time since late July. Brandon Lowe hit a solo home run as part of a two-run fourth inning for Tampa Bay, while Harold Ramirez’s three-run shot in the sixth broke the game open.

Tampa Bay has taken the first two games of the four-game set, with their ace, Tyler Glasnow, on the mound tomorrow evening.

Before Friday night’s game, Baltimore welcomed back former All-Star outfielder Adam Jones, who officially retired from the game as a member of the Orioles. The buzz inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards, especially after Jones and his family took the field as he threw the first pitch, created a playoff-like atmosphere inside the stadium, with the postseason being something the Orioles and their fans having not experienced since Jones was a player in 2016.

But the momentum from the ceremony was quickly seized by the Rays and, specifically, Eflin, who carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing the first Major League hit of Orioles top prospect Heston Kjerstad, a solo homer over the high right-field wall.

By that time, however, the Rays had built a 7-0 lead. Randy Arozarena and Manuel Margot each had three hits, and Ramirez came on to pinch-hit for Luke Raley in the sixth — a move that paid off for manager Kevin Cash — and cracked his 11th home run of the season on the first pitch he saw from reliever Bryan Baker to give Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s contest, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Elliott Brown. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 30 pictures in total.

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Tags : Baltimore OriolesMajor League BaseballTampa Bay Rays

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