Rays sweep Orioles in 8-0 laugher

by Gary Shelton on April 11, 2022

in general

Lowe hit his first home run of the season. / CHUCK MULLER

Monday, 3 a.m.

Here's a secret about dominating an opponent: It's never soon for the broom.

The Tampa Bay Rays swept their first series of the season, beating perennial punching-bag Baltimore, in an 8-0 drubbing at Tropicana Field.

It was the 15th straight game the Rays have beaten the Orioles, and their 21st victory in their last 22 games between the teams. It was by far the Rays' most dominant victory of the season, one in which their strengths -- especially Wander Franco and the bullpen -- took charge.

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Also in the route:

-- Brandon Lowe, who had been 0-for-six in the first two games, had two hits, including a home run.

-- Newcomer Harold Ramirez had three hits.

-- Franco had three hits and a nice defensive play in which he went from the shift side of second base to left field to catch a fly ball.

-- Newcomer Corey Kluber allowed just three hits in his first start as a Ray.

-- Veteran Jalen Beeks returned to the mound after arm surgery to record four outs.

-- Ji-Man Choi had two hits.

-- And the bullpen, in general, threw four innings of shutout baseball. In those last 22 games against the Orioles, the bullpen has a 2.02 ERA.

“It was good to see the overall offense break out," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "Look, credit the Orioles — they pitched us pretty well the first two days. Wells is tough. It was good to see Brandon get his big hit and drive it a long way. Wander continues to have big at bat after big at bat."

The Rays scored four times in the second inning and four more in the seventh.

Kluber, a two-time Cy Young award winner, fell one out short of recording the win.

"We really wanted him to get that final out in the fifth," Cash said. "But we felt that pitch count had gotten to where…any more than that and we’re getting uncomfortable. He’s going to have plenty of opportunities to get his W's.  He certainly contributed."

Said Kluber: "For whatever reason, I had some pitches that weren't that competitive, but I was able to make the adjustments and reel it back in. For the most part, I was able to make pitches to keep them off the board.’’

The Rays open a series against Oakland tonight at Tropinaca Field. Luis Patino will start against Oakland's Paul Blackburn at 6:40 p.m.

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