MLB: Homer-happy Orioles chase more success vs. Rays

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Ryan Mountcastle, Jordan Westburg and Anthony Santander have flexed their muscles in the face of the Tampa Bay Rays’ pitching this season.

That trio will look to pad their statistics on Saturday afternoon when the Baltimore Orioles play the second contest of a four-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mountcastle and Westburg hit two-run homers and Santander also went deep in Baltimore’s 6-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Friday. The Orioles, who lead the majors in homers this season, boast five players who have gone deep at least 10 times.

“We have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball out to all parts of the field,” Westburg told MASN of his team’s power display. “Guys who have good approaches consistently. I think that’s what happens when you have a good approach and you take your plan up to the plate and execute — the ball seems to jump a little bit.”

Mountcastle homered twice and Santander and Westburg also went deep vs. Rays right-hander Taj Bradley last Saturday, powering the Orioles to a 9-5 victory in Baltimore.

Mountcastle is 6-for-15 with three homers, six RBIs and four runs in four games vs. Tampa Bay this year. Santander (7-for-15, two homers, three RBIs and four runs) and Westburg (5-for-13, two homers, four RBIs and three runs) also have enjoyed success against the Rays in 2024.

“People were getting Santander out early in the year with elevated fastballs, and he got one (Friday) above the zone and put it in the seats,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s done that a few times now the past week or so. He’s made a really nice adjustment where they’re trying to crowd him and get him up out of the zone and he’s gotten on top.”

As for Bradley (1-3, 5.81 ERA), he will try to shake off his June 1 clunker when he faces the Orioles again on Saturday. The 23-year-old surrendered nine runs on as many hits — including the four homers — in 3 1/3 innings to take the loss.

“One bad game isn’t going to beat you,” Bradley said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “Just try to keep it from cycling and tumbling.”

Bradley is 1-1 with an 8.16 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles.

The Rays (31-32) saw their three-game winning streak end in the series opener and fell back below .500.

“It’s kinda what our record is stating that we can’t get a little momentum going, but we can bounce right back (Saturday) and play a good baseball game,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.

Jose Siri had a solo homer among his two hits on Friday, and Taylor Walls went 2-for-4 in his return from the 60-day injured list. Walls made his season debut after recovering from right hip surgery.

Baltimore right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-0, 3.18 ERA) will look to keep Siri, Walls and company in check on Saturday.

Bradish, 27, received two extra days of rest after he was throttled for five runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings during a no-decision against the Rays last Saturday.

Bradish is 1-3 with a 7.12 ERA in six career meetings vs. Tampa Bay, all starts.

–Field Level Media

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