Kluber Debut, Beeks Return, Lowe Blast, Wander Impressive All AroundFollow @Steve_Kinsella1
Tampa, FL – The Tampa Bay Rays swept away the Baltimore Orioles 8-0 to improve to 3-0 to start the season. It’s just the third time in franchise history (2002, 2012) they’ve opened the season with three consecutive victories. It marks the Rays first opening season sweep since April 6 through 8, 2012 (New York Yankees) and April 2 through 4, 2002 (Detroit Tigers).
The Rays pitching was once again solid in the win. Corey Kluber (Rays debut), Jeffrey Springs, Jason Adam (Rays debut), Jalen Beeks (return from Tommy John), and Matt Wisler combined to shutout Baltimore while holding them to six hits.
Kluber celebrating his 36th birthday went 4.2-innings and threw 87 pitches. He became the Rays 10th pitcher in franchise history to make a start on his birthday, the first since Tyler Glasnow on August 23, 2018.
“Pumped for Klubs. Kyle [Snyder] and I and I know Corey did too…wanted to get that final out in the fifth,” Kevin Cash said. “Felt like that pitch count had gotten to where any more than that and we’re getting a little uncomfortable”
Jalen Beeks was making his first appearance in a MLB game since August 25, 2020 when he departed his outing versus the Orioles with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. “It felt great to be back, it’s been a long 20-21 months whatever it’s at now, I’m just really happy to be back.” Beeks said. “I got some things I want to work on, but it feels like I’m working again, so I’m really excited.”
After allowing a double and walk to the first two batters he faced, Beeks admitted to trying to do to much. He was happy that he settled in to work around the traffic and was satisfied with his outing overall. He did admit to feeling some emotion as he departed the game. “When I was out there, I felt calm, it felt good, I felt normal, but coming off really just gratitude. I was happy to be back, prayed right there coming off. I had a lot of joy.”
Wander Franco had another stellar game making an outstanding running catch in the third, finished the game 3-for-4 driving in two, and adding in a stolen base. “That’s covering a lot of ground,” Cash said. “He better be careful because when we go to a four man outfield we might stick him out there.”
The Rays offense featured a mammoth homer by Brandon Lowe in the bottom of the second. His two run blast traveled 437 feet and left the bat at an exit velocity of 109.3 miles per hour. had multi-hit days from Brandon Lowe (2-for-5), Wander Franco (3-for-4), Ji-Man Choi (2-for-3), and Harold Ramirez (3-for-4).
Up Next For Rays:
The Rays will look to open a season with four straight wins. They will open a four game series against the Oakland Athletics on Monday night. Luis Patino (2021 – 5-3, 4.31 ERA) will start for the Rays and Paul Blackburn (2021 – 1-4, 5.87 ERA) is the scheduled starter for Oakland.