Morton impressive again as Rays beat Orioles

by Gary Shelton on July 3, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Brandon Lowe celebrates his first inning home run./CHUCK MULLER

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

Oh, so that’s why Charlie Morton made the all-star game.

Charlie Morton, the biggest bargain in the American League, showed everyone again Tuesday night why he made the summer classic, spinning his ninth victory in 11 decisions in a 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Along the way, Morton:

— Struck out 12 batters, including 10 of the last 12 outs he recorded.

— Went six-plus innings for the eighth straight start.

— Lowered his ERA to a league-leading 2.36.

— Gave  up two runs or fewer in his 14th start.

Lowe goes down after fouling off consecutive pitches off his left leg./CHUCK MULLER

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Morton had another excellent outing./CHUCK MULLER

“He’s been there,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said of his consistency. “We’ve kind of pulled him out some of games when he’s been efficient, but this one with what we are doing tomorrow with the bullpenning today, it was really nice to see him get deep and go seven strong innings for us and get the big out there at the end.”

Mike Zunino is hitting .186./CHUCK MULLER

Morton has become the ace of the Rays’ staff.

“I would say early on, I don’t think I was locating my fastball very well,” Morton said. “There were some big misses like trying to go down and away to righties and missing up and in and trying to go in on lefties and missing a foot off the plate away. I threw a couple up high and tight to guys when I was trying to go so that’s a little disconcerting when someone is standing in the box, another person and a ball is getting thrown by their face. That makes you a little nervous when you don’t know where the ball is going sometimes. I think my delivery was off. It was weird. I made a decent pitch at the right time most of the time. Then I started to feel my delivery there a little bit better in the later innings.”

At one point, Morton recorded a strikeout of Anthony Santander on a pitch between his legs.

Rays’ Kiermaier went 0-for-4./CHUCK MULLER

“I’m not trying to throw it between his legs, I promise you that,” Morton said. “The way I throw my curveball is that I’m trying to accelerate and then I’m trying to accelerate down and almost backwards. That’s not actually what happens, but you might actually see my hand come back up and towards my stomach because mentally I’m trying manipulate the ball and generate spin and a lot of times when I do that, I accelerate and I overshoot my release and that’s why I hit so many people – lefties in the legs or the foot with my curveball. He just so happened to swing at that one and I got away with it.”

Brandon Lowe had a terrific night for the Rays, but left with a shin contusion. He had three hits, including a home run. Lowe now has a team-leading 16 homers, tying Evan Longoria in 2008 as a Rays’ rookie before the all-star break. As rookies, Longoria had 27 and Jonny Gomes had 21 in 2005.

Adames has been hot, but was hitless Tuesday night./CHUCK MULLER

“It hurts,” Lowe said. “It hit me in a good spot. I obviously didn’t want to come out of the game, but it was a smart call at the time. We will get it evaluated to- morrow and see where we are at. Right now, I can’t say anything.”

Lowe was relieved the x-rays were negative.

“That’s always a positive thing,” Lowe said. “Going into it you never know how bad anything is until they get a good look at it so that was definitely a relief to hear that nothing is really wrong in there and it’s just going to be some discomfort, some swelling, some bruising and we’ll be back soon.”

Said Cash: “He’s going to be sore. He’s on crutches right now, but x-rays were negative. We’ll probably find a lot more out tomorrow how he wakes up, how he walks around. I wouldn’t anticipate seeing him in the lineup tomorrow.”

The Rays go for a sweep of the Orioles tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Ryne Stanek will pitch for the Rays against the O’s John Means.

Roe gave up a two-run homer, but closed out the game./CHUCK MULLER

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