Rays 8, Orioles 7
Matt Joyce: It only took five pitches for Matt Joyce to make up for Fernando Rodney’s first blown save, bashing a walk-off home run off of Tommy Hunter. It was a no-doubter for Joyce, who began the game on the bench thanks to Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon being smart enough to know he is better served as a pinch-hitter when the Rays face a left-handed starting pitcher.
Fernando Rodney: While Joyce did save his buns, Rodney wasn’t exactly the pitcher Rays fans grew accustomed to watching during his record-setting 2012. He walked the first batter he saw, and the next guy doubled home the game-tying run. Rodney did manage to retire the next three in order, but the damage on the scoreboard had been done. Considering his success during the WBC and the assumed lingering presence of his magic plantain, Rodney deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one. If he struggles in his next one, then maybe it’s time to worry.
Chris Davis: Baltimore may have lost, but the team’s first baseman certainly did his part to win. In four at-bats, Chris Davis had four hits, including two doubles and a home run, and four RBI. It took a few years longer than anyone could have reasonably expected, but Davis is finally delivering on the power potential he displayed as a 22-year old rookie back in 2008. Last year’s 33 home runs and .501 slugging were not a fluke.
Baltimore Bullpen: It was a night to forget for the usually reliable relief corps of the Orioles. While getting just seven outs, the group of Luis Ayala, Pedro Strop, and Tommy Hunter allowed seven hits and six runs. Most nights, this group will get the job done.
Braves 9, Phillies 2
Roy Halladay: Where to begin? It was one heck of an ugly first inning for Halladay in what was a rain-soaked affair. He needed an even 40 pitches to finish the frame. While allowing three runs, two walks, and a homer, he also struck out the side. The next few innings were more of the same, with strikeouts being intermittently mixed with walks and base hits. He was pulled in the fourth inning, having thrown a lofty 95 pitches. On the plus side, his velocity was back up to the 91 mph range and he had nine strikeouts. On the downside, the guys that didn’t strike out hit the ball hard.
Evan Gattis: One of the better feel-good stories of the young baseball season got even more feel-gooder when rookie catcher Evan Gattis slugged his first career home run in the fourth inning. He’s already developing into a fan favorite with the Braves crowd. Even once Brian McCann (shoulder) returns, Atlanta is going to find a way to get Gattis 400 at-bats in 2013 as long as he continues to hit.
Jason Heyward, Justin Upton: Atlanta’s young corner outfield combo each went deep on Wednesday night. Upton’s was a two-run variety off of a lifeless fastball from Halladay, while Heyward’s was a late-inning blast that landed just over the ‘390’ sign on the right center field wall. Center fielder B.J. Upton did his best to fit in with his outfield mates, swinging for the fences in his four at-bats. He struck out every time.
stats courtesy of