ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Matt Wieters gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a two-out single that scored Vladimir Guerrero, who led off with a double and moved to third on a ground ball.
Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach set up outside with Guerrero batting. Andy Sonnanstine hit the target and Guerrero reached for the ball and poked it down the right field line. Not a bad pitch, just a good bad-ball hitter.
Wieters is 13-for-23 (.565) with three doubles, three homers and 20 RBIs with runners in scoring position.
There’s nothing wrong with Jake Arrieta’s velocity. He struck out Sam Fuld in the first inning on a 94 mph fastball and Ben Zobrist on a 95 mph. He retired Johnny Damon on a bouncer to the mound on a 94 mph fastball.
Who turned up the heat at The Trop?
Arrieta needed seven pitches to dispose of Fuld which is worth noting because his pitch counts tend to rise. He got through the inning on 14.
The Orioles will send Chris Tillman and Zach Britton to the mound the next two nights for their Fenway Park debuts.
“It’s time. What are we going to do, keep them from pitching there?” manager Buck Showalter said.
“They pitch. It’s part of the process. I’d like to think it won’t be the last time they pitch there. We’ll see.”
Fenway Park has been known to intimidate young pitchers in the past. Is it a psychological thing?
“Well, if it is and you plan on pitching in the big leagues in the American League East for the Baltimore Orioles, you better figure it out because it ain’t going away,” Showalter said. “That thing has been there for a while.”