Hechavarria helps depleted Rays beat rebuilding Orioles 4-3
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays aren’t going to let the departure of a few good players diminish their desire to win.
One day after losing two pitchers with strong arms and solid leadership skills, the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 Thursday night in a matchup of teams in selling mode near the non-waiver trade deadline.
Out of contention despite owning a winning record, Tampa Bay dealt pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Andriese on Wednesday. Then, after Thursday’s game, the Rays sent lefty Jonny Venters to Atlanta for an international signing slot.
And they may not be done yet.
In spite of the situation, Tampa Bay is playing decent baseball. After taking two of three from the Yankees, the Rays defeated former teammate Alex Cobb (2-14) to improve to 53-50.
“I can’t say enough about how they come to work every day and prepare, and then go out there and perform,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re going to have some performances that maybe aren’t as pretty as others, but they definitely compete.”
One of the players obtained for Andriese, catcher Michael Perez, made his big league debut after an eight-year run in the minors. He and six others contributed hits in the Rays’ 20th one-run win of the year.
“We’ve talked about the youth and the influx and the way that they can kind of permeate through the clubhouse,” Cash said. “I still think you’ve got to kind of give credit to the guys that have been here and led the way, but we’re getting a lot of guys who have winning experience at the minor league level. We’ll take it any way we can get it.”
Baltimore is going through a similar transition. Deep in last place in the AL East, the rebuilding Orioles traded Manny Machado to the Dodgers last week, dealt Zach Britton to the Yankees on Tuesday and appear ready to unload center fielder Adam Jones.
Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning for Baltimore and Chris Davis added a solo shot in the eighth. Schoop has connected in four straight games, the first Oriole to do so since Davis in August 2016.
It wasn’t enough to prevent Cobb from absorbing another loss.
“I feel better each time out, so just keep following that path and hopefully the tide will turn,” he said.
Cobb was pulled after giving up three straight hits in the seventh, the last of them a tiebreaking RBI single to Adeiny Hechavarria , and a throwing error by reliever Jhan Marinez made it 4-2.
The Rays started reliever Hunter Wood before switching to Ryan Yarbrough (9-5) with two outs in the second inning.
Yarbrough went 4 1/3 innings, Sergio Romo followed and Austin Pruitt got four outs for his second save. It was an impressive showing by a pitching staff that must carry on without Eovaldi and Andriese.
“It’s a lot tougher than it sounds, because obviously we had those two guys that are really big parts of how we’ve been successful this year, and obviously two really big clubhouse guys,” Yarbrough said. “So it’s kind of the cliche, but next man up.”
Orioles: OF Craig Gentry (rib fracture) will begin a rehab assignment Monday with Class A Delmarva. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (oblique) will play in a Gulf Coast League game before beginning his rehab assignment Wednesday with Class A Frederick.
Dylan Bundy got lucky Wednesday night when rain washed out his start against Boston after he allowed three home runs in two innings. He will get a chance to right himself Sunday against the Rays on three days’ rest.
“He liked the idea when I brought it up to him last night,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’d like to get him back out there and not sit on that (outing) for a while.”
Rays: With trade rumors swirling around the Tampa Bay clubhouse, RHP Chris Archer (3-4, 4.30 ERA) makes what might be his final start with the Rays on Friday night.
“I haven’t thought that much about it,” Archer said. “There’s always a lot of speculation, so my main focus ... is just pitching tomorrow and giving my team a chance to win.”
Orioles: Andrew Cashner (2-9, 4.40 ERA) takes another crack at getting his third win. He’s 0-4 in nine starts since May 21.
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