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Sport Rays earn AL playoff spot with doubleheader sweep of Orioles

12:36  18 september  2020
12:36  18 september  2020 Source:   ap.org

Harper rallies Phils past Blue Jays to sweep doubleheader

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a group of baseball players standing on top of a field: Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Willy Adames, right, jumps up to high five first base coach Ozzie Timmons (30) while celebrating after defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. The Rays won 10-6 to clinch a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Willy Adames, right, jumps up to high five first base coach Ozzie Timmons (30) while celebrating after defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. The Rays won 10-6 to clinch a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

BALTIMORE (AP) Having clinched a return trip to the postseason, the Tampa Bay Rays marked the occasion with a subdued celebration on the field before heading to the clubhouse, where they slipped on hats and shirts that will serve as souvenirs of the accomplishment.

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a group of baseball players standing on top of a field: Tampa Bay Rays players celebrate after defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. The Rays won 10-6 to clinch a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Tampa Bay Rays players celebrate after defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. The Rays won 10-6 to clinch a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Make no mistake, the Rays are proud of what they've done, especially under circumstances that have never been faced by any baseball team before this year. After enduring a delayed start to the season, an unyielding battle to avoid COVID-19 and strange rules such as 7-inning doubleheaders, the Rays can only hope that this is merely the first of many goals to be met before the end of October.

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Baltimore Orioles' Rio Ruiz, left, is greeted near the dugout by Pat Valaika after hitting a two-run home run off Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Trevor Richards during the fourth inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Baltimore Orioles' Rio Ruiz, left, is greeted near the dugout by Pat Valaika after hitting a two-run home run off Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Trevor Richards during the fourth inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

''They've got their shirts and hats on and they're excited,'' manager Kevin Cash said after Tampa Bay qualified for the postseason after completing a doubleheader sweep of the Orioles on Thursday night. ''This year has been pretty unique, and it's our job to turn that uniqueness into something special.''

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The Rays used a strong pitching performance to win the opener, then cranked up the offense in the nightcap in a 10-6 victory that completed the sweep.

In the opener, Blake Snell and Diego Castillo combined on a three-hitter in a 3-1 win.

Needing a sweep to get into the AL playoffs for the second year in a row, the Rays got homers from Willy Adames, Hunter Renfroe and Joey Wendle before using a four-run fifth inning to break a tie and take control.

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bruce Zimmerman (85) walks behind the mound after allowing a solo home run to Tampa Bay Rays' Hunter Renfroe, top, during the third inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bruce Zimmerman (85) walks behind the mound after allowing a solo home run to Tampa Bay Rays' Hunter Renfroe, top, during the third inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Rays would like to enter the playoffs as AL East champions before making a run toward the World Series. The sweep increased their lead over the second-place Yankees to 3 1/2 games.

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''It's great to get into the postseason,'' Cash said, ''but it would be pretty cool, pretty special, if we could push the envelope and win the division.''

In the nightcap, Tampa Bay jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning when the slumping Adames connected with two on against lefty Bruce Zimmermann, who was making his major league debut.

a baseball player holding a bat while standing next to home plate: Tampa Bay Rays' Hunter Renfroe (11) is greeted near the dugout by Michael Brosseau after hitting a solo home run off Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bruce Zimmerman during the fourth inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Tampa Bay Rays' Hunter Renfroe (11) is greeted near the dugout by Michael Brosseau after hitting a solo home run off Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bruce Zimmerman during the fourth inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Adames came into the game hitless in his last 15 at-bats and 2 for 36 in September.

''It was amazing,'' Adames said of his long ball. ''It's been a hard time for me but I'm just happy we got those two wins today and are going to the postseason.''

The Orioles rallied to tie before the Rays got RBI singles from Nate Lowe and Kevan Smith in the fifth, followed by run-scoring fly balls from Wendle and Randy Arozarena.

Pete Fairbanks (5-3) pitched one inning to earn the win.

Lowe homers, Rays inch past deGrom, Mets 2-1 despite 16 Ks

  Lowe homers, Rays inch past deGrom, Mets 2-1 despite 16 Ks NEW YORK (AP) The Tampa Bay Rays are ready for a party - and mum on the details. ''I'm not saying nothing,'' closer Nick Anderson said with a laugh.Shouldn't have to wait much longer to see what they have in store.Nate Lowe homered and scored both runs against NL Cy Young Award contender Jacob deGrom, and Tampa Bay overcame 16 strikeouts to move closer to an AL East title by beating the New York Mets 2-1 Monday night. © APWF Tampa Bay Rays' Nate Lowe (35) and Joey Wendle (18) celebrate with teammates after a baseball game against the New York Mets Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in New York. The Rays won 2-1.

a pitcher throwing a ball at a baseball game: Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bruce Zimmerman throws a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays during his major league debut in the first inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bruce Zimmerman throws a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays during his major league debut in the first inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Zimmermann (0-1) gave up five runs in three-plus innings. Obtained in the 2018 deal that sent Kevin Gausman to Atlanta, Zimmermann endured a rocky introduction to the bigs.

''I thought he showed good stuff, just made a couple pitches that were up in the zone and paid for it,'' manager Brandon Hyde said.

In the opener, Baltimore pulled even at 1 in the sixth before the Rays took control against Cesar Valdez (1-1). Arozarena drew a leadoff walk and took third on a double by Michael Perez.

a baseball player pitching a ball on a field: Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell throws a pitch to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell throws a pitch to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Yoshi Tsutsugo followed with a soft grounder to the right side that produced a run - even though the infield was drawn in - and Brandon Lowe capped the uprising with a sacrifice fly.

Snell left with a 1-0 lead and a runner on second in the sixth. Castillo (3-0) subsequently yielded a tying, two-out RBI single to Ryan Mountcastle.

a baseball player throwing a ball: Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dean Kremer throws a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dean Kremer throws a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Snell allowed two hits in 5 1/3 innings, but his only walk - to Pat Valaika leading off the sixth - came around to score.

Nats sweep Phils, drop Philadelphia below playoff position

  Nats sweep Phils, drop Philadelphia below playoff position WASHINGTON (AP) The Philadelphia Phillies tumbled out of a playoff position, getting swept in a doubleheader by the Washington Nationals when Yadiel Hernandez hit a game-ending, two-run homer in eighth inning off Brandon Workman for a 8-7 win in Tuesday night's second game.Philadelphia (27-29) lost its fourth game in a row and dropped behind Cincinnati (28-28), Milwaukee (27-27) and San Francisco (27-27). The four teams are competing for the National League's final two playoff berths.

a baseball player throwing a ball on a field: Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell throws a pitch to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell throws a pitch to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

''The walk to Valaika was very frustrating,'' said Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner. ''That's tough to see. I'll probably have a nightmare tonight about it. I hate walks. I really just don't like them.''

a pitcher throwing a baseball on a field: Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dean Kremer throws a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) © APWF Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dean Kremer throws a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Orioles rookie right-hander Dean Kremer gave up three hits and three walks with six strikeouts. He has surrendered one run in each of his three major league starts.

The nightcap was the makeup of a game postponed on Aug. 27, when both teams decided not to play as a show of solidarity for victims of social injustice and systemic racism. Because the game was to be held in Tampa Bay, the Rays served as the home team and batted last in Game 2.

ROSTER MOVES

Rays: RHP Trevor Richards was 29th man for the doubleheader.

Orioles: RHP Asher Wojciechowski was designated for assignment. Wojciechowski started 16 games in 2019 but this season was 1-3 with a 6.81 ERA.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: OF Austin Meadows left in the third inning of the opener with left oblique soreness and did not play in the second game. ''I don't think it's that bad,'' Cash said between games. ''It was probably me being more cautious.''

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (3-1, 4.47 ERA) starts Friday night in the middle game of the five-game series. Glasnow had a career-high 13 strikeouts in his last start against Baltimore on Aug. 25.

Orioles: RHP Alex Cobb (1-4, 5.03) tries to break a four-game losing streak and earn his first victory at Camden Yards since joining the Orioles in 2018.

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