Tuesday night the Devil Rays successfully eliminated Monday night's devastating loss and came away with a 6-4 win over the Orioles in front of a crowd of 9,575 at Tropicana Field.
"We have to really work in 24-hour segments around here," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, making a pop culture reference. "This is a different version of the show '24.' Things change so rapidly around here. ... This has happened several times already this year. We've lost a tough game and come back the next night and played a pretty good game."
On Monday night, the Rays let a six-run lead evaporate into a 9-7 loss. On Tuesday, the team appeared to sleepwalk through the early going, when O's starter Steve Trachsel faced the minimum through three innings. Then the Rays sent 11 batters to the plate in the six-run fourth inning.
Rocco Baldelli walked to lead off the fourth, and he delivered a two-out, bases-loaded single to score two in his second trip to the plate, pushing the Rays' lead to 6-1. Sandwiched in between were an RBI double by Brendan Harris, RBI singles by Ty Wigginton and Delmon Young and a sacrifice fly by Carlos Pena.
Said Trachsel of the fourth inning: "I just couldn't stop the bleeding."
Maddon called Trachsel a "command pitcher."
"He tries to get you to go after balls in the dirt, balls inside the zone a little bit, but we laid off them," he said. "That's a good thing. We have to do that to compete in this division and score the kind of runs we need to score. We can't always go up there swinging at everything all the time."
Meanwhile, Rays starter Casey Fossum gave the team a quality start, allowing three runs in seven-plus innings to pick up his first win since Aug. 5, 2006.
"It's good to get that first one out of the way," Fossum said. "Hopefully I'll get a lot more. ... It's just a matter of building off my last two starts and getting better."
Fossum seemed most pleased with his control Tuesday night.
"My control was pinpoint today," he said. "I felt like I was throwing in and out, changing speeds really well and they were just pounding my sinker into the ground."
The Orioles scored first when Brian Roberts led off the game with a single, stole second and third and then came home on Nick Markakis' groundout to second base. Fossum then posted six straight scoreless innings with a little help from his friends on defense, especially Young in right field, who flagged down Roberts' sinking line drive in the sixth and threw to first base to double off Freddie Bynum.
"He can do that," Maddon said. "There's a lot of guys on our team who are able to beat you other than with their bat. They can beat you with their gloves, they can beat you with their legs. ... He's looking for it all the time. He wants to throw. He is proud of his arm, and he should be. It was a perfect throw to first base."
The O's made it interesting in the eighth after Jay Gibbons led off the inning with a single and Alberto Castillo drew a walk to chase Fossum. Brian Stokes came on to pitch to pinch-hitter John Knott, who proceeded to deposit a Stokes offering into the left-field stands to cut the Rays' lead to 6-4. For Knott, the blast was the first home run of his career.
Baltimore has "a nice calmness about them offensively," Maddon said. "They're veteran hitters. They look like they're never in trouble. And that's the one thing I can say about the Baltimore hitters. They're very professional."
Stokes did not allow the O's to score again in the eighth. Al Reyes came in to pitch a scoreless ninth to pick up his fifth save in five opportunities on the season.
"The good thing about baseball is you get to play the next day -- forget about yesterday," Fossum said. "I think we did that. We got to business early, jumped on them early and Al closed it out greatly."
On Thursday against the Rangers, James Shields ended a streak of 11 straight games, dating back to Sept. 27, in which a Rays starter was unable to record a win. Fossum's victory gives Rays starters three wins on the season, and the left-hander hopes the tide has turned.
"It's kind of like [the starters are] feeding off of each other," Fossum said. "We want to do better than the guy before. All five of us are pretty competitive people, whether it's video games or whatever we play. We're very competitive and we want to do better than the next guy. Hopefully [Wednesday's starter Scott Kazmir] comes out tomorrow and does better than me."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.