Rays drop O's opener as WC chances take hit

Rays drop O's opener as WC chances take hit

BALTIMORE -- A day after sitting out with an illness, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado made everyone at Camden Yards feel better on Thursday. Machado snapped Baltimore's 26-inning scoreless stretch with a two-run first-inning homer. The blast, coupled with eight solid frames from righty Gabriel Ynoa, was enough for Baltimore to hang on for a 3-1 series-opening win over Tampa Bay.

Baltimore's victory, coupled with the Twins' win on Thursday, keeps the O's 5 1/2 games back of the second American League Wild Card spot -- just behind the Rays, who fall to five games behind Minnesota.

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Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com based in Baltimore and covered the Orioles on Thursday.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Robertson returns invigorated by Triple-A title

Utility infielder on Durham's postseason run: 'What a great experience to be a part of'

Robertson returns invigorated by Triple-A title

BALTIMORE -- Daniel Robertson rejoined the Rays on Thursday rejuvenated, confident and ready to contribute down the stretch. He also returned from Triple-A Durham a champion.

Robertson had a two-run homer, three hits and four RBIs on Sept. 15 when Durham beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 6-4, to secure the International League's Governors' Cup. Four nights later, the Bulls beat the Memphis Redbirds, 5-3, in the Triple-A National Championship Game.

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Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cobb called as Rays look to stay in WC chase

Cobb called as Rays look to stay in WC chase

As he nears the end of his four-year, $50 million contract, Ubaldo Jimenez (6-10, 6.57 ERA) will make his final home start of the season on Friday when the Orioles and Rays continue their four-game series at Camden Yards.

Jimenez's Orioles tenure has produced mixed results, with a 32-41 record and 5.16 ERA in 116 games (103 starts) since 2014. The right-hander is coming off one of his best outings of '17, though, after throwing five innings of one-run ball with 10 strikeouts and a walk in a win on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

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Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays praise Durham's Triple-A championship

Rays praise Durham's Triple-A championship

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Durham Bulls are the champs.

The Bulls defeated the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) on Tuesday night in the Triple-A National Championship Game. The 5-3 win gave the Bulls their second win in the Triple-A Championship Game (also 2009) since it began in 2006.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays score in variety of ways to down Cubs

Rays score in variety of ways to down Cubs

ST. PETERSBURG -- With the number of remaining games dwindling, the Rays no longer have the luxury of waiting for home runs to start flying out of the park. The time has come to create runs by any means necessary, and the Rays did just that in an 8-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday at Tropicana Field.

Steven Souza Jr. hit his 30th homer in the first inning, but Souza and the Rays generated runs with baserunning, timely singles and a perfectly executed bunt to hammer home the victory.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays strike early, often to keep WC chase on

Rays strike early, often to keep WC chase on

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Cubs' winning streak, Chicago's Interleague schedule and Joe Maddon's homecoming parade all ended on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.

Steven Souza Jr. smacked his 30th home run, Wilson Ramos added a two-run single and Blake Snell threw seven scoreless innings to spark the Rays to an 8-1 victory over the Cubs and split the Interleague series.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Archer regains crispness after injury scare

Archer regains crispness after injury scare

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer looked back to normal on Tuesday for the first time since returning from an injury scare in early September.

Archer tossed a quality start in a 2-1 loss to the Cubs at Tropicana Field, firing six innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts and four hits allowed.

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Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon honored by Rays in return to St. Pete

Maddon honored by Rays in return to St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Maddon returned to Tropicana Field on Tuesday night. The Rays' icon fashioned a Cubs uniform, bringing along his customary smile and friendly manner to the place where he helped produce magic as Tampa Bay's manager.

"A lot of memories," Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said. "A lot of good moments with Joe here. He turned the culture around, so I think this organization has him to thank for that."

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wong, Honeywell lead Durham to title

Wong, Honeywell lead Durham to title

Kean Wong blasted a go-ahead grand slam and Brent Honeywell dominated in a rare relief appearance on Tuesday as Triple-A Durham overcame an early deficit to defeat Memphis, 5-3, in the Triple-A Championship National Championship.

The title marked Durham's first since 2009. The Bulls (86-56) secured a spot in Tuesday's Championship Game by winning their second Governors' Cup title in the last five years.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays waste Archer's solid start, Miller's HR

Rays waste Archer's solid start, Miller's HR

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It was a sweet homecoming for Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

Kyle Schwarber hit a monster home run and substitute starter Mike Montgomery gave up one hit -- a solo homer by Brad Miller -- over six innings to spark the Cubs to a 2-1 Interleague victory over the Rays on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays to recall Robertson, Hu

Rays to recall Robertson, Hu

ST.PETERSBURG -- The Rays will recall infielder Daniel Robertson and right-hander Chih-Wei Hu from Triple-A Durham, and will activate lefty Xavier Cedeno from the 60-day disabled list.

None of the three are expected to join the team until Thursday in Baltimore. The Rays will have to make a corresponding 40-man roster move to make room for Cedeno.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Longoria creates coffee blend for Irma relief

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Longoria creates coffee blend for Irma relief

Evan Longoria has spent his entire career with the Rays. The team selected him third overall in the 2006 Draft, and he's spent the last decade starring at Tropicana Field.

So with the Tampa Bay and the rest of Florida beginning to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Irma, it's only natural that Longoria would want to help his adopted home however he can. And, luckily for the rest of us, he's found a delicious way to do just that: with his own blend of coffee.

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Inbox: Has Hech replaced Duffy as future SS?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain fields Rays fans' questions

Inbox: Has Hech replaced Duffy as future SS?

With Matt Duffy being out for the whole year and Adeiny Hechavarria playing well in the field and at the plate, would it be safe to say that Duffy is a man without a position? It seems that if he is ever healthy, he's going to be a utility player at best.
-- Terence L.

I would agree with that assessment on the surface. Hechavarria has performed well on offense and at shortstop. Having said that, he is arbitration-eligible and stands to make more than his 2017 salary of $4.35 million. Given that fact, the Rays will be faced with the decision of whether to bring Hechavarria back at the increased salary. They might opt to take their chances with Duffy being healthy and No. 2 prospect Willy Adames jumping to The Show. It should be interesting to see which way they go.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Odorizzi's arm, Sucre's pop down Red Sox

Odorizzi's arm, Sucre's pop down Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi stymied Boston's bats on Sunday in a 3-2 Tampa Bay win at Tropicana Field.

The Rays (73-77) are still clinging to faint hopes of earning the American League's second Wild Card slot. Minnesota holds a 5 1/2-game advantage for that spot. The Red Sox (85-64) are trying to hold off the Yankees and secure the AL East title. Boston's division lead remained at three games after New York lost to the Orioles on Sunday.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Red Sox on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colome bounces back to lock down 45th save

Colome bounces back to lock down 45th save

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays saddled up "The Horse" to finish off Sunday's 3-2 win over the Red Sox. And despite Friday night's blown save, Rays closer Alex Colome got the job done, earning his 45th save of the season in the process.

Colome blew the save Friday night when he took over to pitch the ninth with a three-run lead. Sunday, he got the first out then surrendered a single to Andrew Benintendi before getting Rajai Davis to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cobb baffled by balk, upset by non-strike call

Rays righty thinks he's K'd Betts, but close 2-2 pitch ruled a ball

Cobb baffled by balk, upset by non-strike call

ST. PETERSBURG -- Confusion and frustration struck the Rays in the sixth inning when Alex Cobb got called for a balk and later did not get a strike-three call on a pitch that appeared to be a strike.

The Red Sox ended up scoring two runs in the inning to help send the Rays to a 3-1 loss Saturday night at Tropicana Field.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bats shut down in tight loss to Red Sox

Bats shut down in tight loss to Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rick Porcello kept the Rays bats in check for 7 1/3 innings and received enough run support to lead the Red Sox to a 3-1 win over the Rays on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.

The Red Sox (85-63) won for the eighth time in their past 10 games to maintain a three-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East. The Rays (72-77) lost for the seventh time in their past nine games, further diminishing their hopes of becoming the AL's second Wild Card team.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cash raves about Kiermaier's performance

Rays Gold Glove CF makes 2 dazzling grabs, hits big HR and throws out runner

Cash raves about Kiermaier's performance

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Kiermaier's diving catch in the ninth inning of Friday night's Rays-Red Sox contest was still on everyone's mind Saturday.

Not only did Kiermaier make a circus catch in the ninth, the Rays' center fielder threw out a runner and hit a game-tying home run in the 14th inning.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In return to the Trop, Rays fall to Sox in 15

In return to the Trop, Rays fall to Sox in 15

ST. PETERSBURG -- September baseball. Enough said.

Boston's 13-6, 15-inning win over Tampa Bay on Friday night had six lead changes and featured a little bit of everything -- along with a lot of heart by both teams, tucked away in the 6 hours and 5 minutes that it took to finish.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kiermaier's Gold Glove skills wow Trop crowd

Rays center fielder robs JBJ, Betts and drills late HR

Kiermaier's Gold Glove skills wow Trop crowd

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Kiermaier makes fans wait to go to the concession stand -- when he's on defense.

As well they should, you never know what you'll miss if you don't watch the two-time Gold Glove Award-winning Rays center fielder display his immense skills. Friday night was no exception in a 15-inning, 13-6 loss to the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays' replay challenge denies Sox run in 11th

Rays' replay challenge denies Sox run in 11th

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays cashed in on perhaps their most consequential challenge of the season, which overturned what would have been the go-ahead run in the 11th inning of a 13-6, 15-inning loss to the Red Sox on Friday night.

With nobody out and runners on the corners, Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded up the middle into the shift. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria fired home, causing Devin Marrero to rethink his decision to advance and head back to third. Catcher Jesus Sucre chased him back toward the bag, but Marrero juked backward and ran home as Sucre continued to third to try to tag the trailing runner, Blake Swihart.

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Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays happy to be home after Hurricane Irma

Players reach out to Tampa Bay community recovering from storm

Rays happy to be home after Hurricane Irma

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays are glad to be home and happy that Hurricane Irma did not cause too much damage to the Tampa Bay area.

"It's good [to be home]," Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Friday's series opener against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field. "Nice to have an off-day [Thursday] and get things situated back at the house. Like I said in New York, I feel like most of the guys, from what I heard, we were all pretty fortunate. Hopefully the Bay area was just as fortunate. I know most of the power is back on, but still there's some homes without it. Hopefully that gets turned on pretty quick."

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy expects to be ready for '18 season

Rays shortstop recovering from second Achilles surgery

Duffy expects to be ready for '18 season

ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Duffy said on Friday that he will not play this season, but the Rays shortstop believes he'll be ready for 2018.

"The plan is looking toward instructional league," said Duffy, who began the season on the disabled list while trying to recover from Achilles surgery and later had a second surgery. "The goal is to not have any reservations going into Spring Training, and having as normal an offseason as possible."

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jesse Sanchez

Sanchez taken 2nd in DR Winter League draft

First five Dominican Winter League picks among MLB's Top 100 prospects

Sanchez taken 2nd in DR Winter League draft

Some of the biggest -- and youngest -- stars in the game are going home for the winter. The Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana, also known as the Dominican Republic Winter League, will be waiting for them when they arrive.

On Thursday, the league held its annual rookie draft in front of 500 fans, family and friends in a mall lobby in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The draft, which is for players in Class A Advanced or higher, who had not been previously selected by a winter league team, was broadcast live on national television and online.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Rays' postseason chances dwindling?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers questions from fans

Inbox: Rays' postseason chances dwindling?

Right now, it's not looking so good for the Rays' chances of making the postseason. What do you think went wrong?
-- Brad S., Jacksonville, Fla.

First, this year's team was starting from a pretty low place -- 68 wins. As the old saying goes, "You are what your record says you are." So first, you think about improving. Then once the Rays began playing some pretty good baseball this season, the idea of winning the division and, at the very least, earning a postseason spot seemed real. Credit Tampa Bay's management for making some moves to try to push the team over the top, too.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Durham claims Governors' Cup Finals

Durham claims Governors' Cup Finals

Strong offensive performances by Willy Adames, Jake Bauers and Daniel Robertson powered Triple-A Durham to an International League title on Friday as the Bulls edged Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 6-4, in Game 4 of the Governors' Cup Finals.

The title marked the fifth in franchise history for Durham, which won both of its best-of-five postseason series, 3-1.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays make it interesting but drop finale in NY

Rays make it interesting but drop finale in NY

NEW YORK -- With the effects of Hurricane Irma relocating this series to Citi Field, the Yankees had a prime opportunity to capitalize on playing road games in their home city. They did just that, concluding their "visit" with a 3-2 victory over the Rays on Wednesday, taking two of three in the series.

A three-run second inning, highlighted by Brett Gardner's two-run single, and another strong showing from one of baseball's best bullpens paved the way for the win.

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Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York and covered the Rays on Wednesday.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Honeywell fans 10 for Durham in Game 3

Honeywell fans 10 for Durham in Game 3

Brent Honeywell's knack for excelling on the biggest of stages was on full display Thursday as he pitched Triple-A Durham to a 6-2 win over Scranton in Game 3 of the Governors' Cup Finals.

Honeywell, Tampa Bay's top prospect and No. 12 on the Top 100, recorded his first six outs via the strikeout en route to fanning 10 batters in six scoreless innings. He scattered five hits and walked one while throwing 68 of his 96 pitches for strikes in the victory, which gives Durham a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-five finals.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.