Rays blank Orioles, give Cash first win
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jake Odorizzi's 6 2/3 masterful innings led the Tampa Bay Rays to their first win under new manager Kevin Cash, a 2-0 shutout of the Baltimore Orioles.
Odorizzi (1-0) and three Tampa relievers silenced Baltimore's potent bats in the finale of this three-game, season-opening series. The Orioles mustered just three hits, with Odorizzi yielding just two while fanning seven without a walk.
"I just commanded the strike zone," Odorizzi said. "For the most part, commanding the zone was a big part to how successful we were tonight."
The Rays broke a scoreless tie by capitalizing on control issues from Baltimore's arms in the sixth inning, with four consecutive walks -- two from Miguel Gonzalez and two by Brian Matusz -- forcing in the eventual deciding run.
Desmond Jennings tacked on an RBI single in the eighth to help Tampa Bay avert a series sweep.
Gonzalez (0-1) walked five in all during his 5 2/3-inning stint, in which the right-hander was charged with a run on three hits and struck out five.
He settled down after a 32-pitch opening inning in which he escaped out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam, and had retired the first two Rays in the sixth before Evan Longoria and Jennings each worked walks.
Matusz entered and uncorked a wild pitch prior to issuing a free pass to pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer that loaded the bases. The lefty got ahead of Logan Forsythe, but then threw three straight balls to bring in Longoria for a 1-0 lead.
"We walked too many people, and we struck out too many times," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Baltimore, which failed to get a runner past second the entire game, continued to go down quietly the rest of the way. Odorizzi and Jeff Beliveau worked a 1-2-3 seventh, Kevin Jepsen allowed just a walk in the eighth and Brad Boxberger struck the side in order in the ninth to record the save.
Tampa Bay added some insurance when Longoria doubled off Brad Brach in the eighth and came around on Jennings' base hit to center.
Odorizzi was locked in from the get-go in his season debut, striking out four of the first seven hitters and surrendering just one hit -- a Ryan Lavarnway double in the third -- through his first five innings of work.
Conversely, Gonzalez labored through a first inning where the Rays filled the sacks on singles by Steven Souza and Asdrubal Cabrera and a walk to Longoria. Jennings was then called safe at first after hitting a slow grounder that forced Longoria at second, but the call was reversed on a challenge by Orioles manager Buck Showalter to keep the contest scoreless.
Cash's predecessor, Joe Maddon, also notched his first victory as the Rays' skipper in the third game of his inaugural season. It came against Baltimore in 2006 ... Allan Dyskstra, who had his contract purchased by the Rays from Triple-A Durham prior to the game, made his major league debut at first base. He replaced James Loney, sent to the 15-day disabled list Wednesday by a right oblique strain ... Alejandro De Aza had two of the Orioles' three hits ... Lavarnway recorded his first hit in the majors since Sept. 22, 2013 while with Boston ... Orioles reliever Jason Garcia threw a scoreless seventh inning in his first major league appearance ... Jennings now has a nine-game hitting streak dating back to last season.