Orioles
Rays
2 - 6 Final
  for this game

Niemann solid in debut as Rays beat Orioles

Apr 13, 2008 - 9:53 PM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- On Sunday, Jeff Niemann and B.J. Upton showed exactly why the Tampa Bay Rays made both first round picks in the major league draft.

Niemann won his major league debut, allowing only one run in six innings, and Upton crushed a three-run homer as the Rays downed the Baltimore Orioles 6-2.

The 6-9 Niemann overcame a shaky start to become the seventh pitcher in club history to win his Rays debut. He was the fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft.

"It's been a very long road and there's been some peaks and valleys," Niemann said. "It's great to be here. Hopefully I'm here to stay."

In six innings, Niemann (1-0) struck out five and walked one.

"He showed a tremendous amount of poise," catcher Mike DiFelice said. "There's no amount of preparation for your first big league game, especially as a starting pitcher.

"You don't know what you'll get. It's a coin toss."

In the first inning Niemann needed 28 pitches to escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam, but recovered to retire 14 of the next 15 batters until Nick Markakis' lead-off homer in the sixth.

"That was huge to get out of the first without allowing a run," Niemann said. "There definitely was some luck involved. I'm glad the luck was on my side."

Upton's three-run homer capped a six-run fifth inning and chased Baltimore starter Brian Burres (1-1), who did not allow a hit until imploding in the fifth.

Rookie Evan Longoria led off the inning with a walk and Justin Ruggiano and DiFelice followed with singles to load the bases.

After Burres got Jason Bartlett on a shallow fly to left, Akinori Iwamura broke the scoreless tie with an RBI single and Carl Crawford followed with a two-run single to make it 3-0.

One out later, Upton's three-run homer made it 6-0.

"Well, walking the leadoff man never helps," Burres said. "I wasn't hitting the spots really well and the pitches started to get a little more hittable. I didn't get my fastball back down in the zone.

"It stayed up and they kept getting those base hits. They just hit the pitches that were up in the zone and not much you can do about it now."

Upton, the second overall pick in the 2002 draft, is one of three first-round picks on the Rays' current roster.

"We've brought up the young guys and they're surrounded by a lot of other young guys," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "They're a big part of the future. It's good to see them get off to a good start."

Besides his sixth-inning home run, Markakis had another RBI on a one-out bases-loaded walk in the seventh, pulling the Orioles to within 6-2. However, the Orioles could not come any closer as Kevin Millar and Aubrey Huff struck out.

"I thought we had him (Niemann) right where he wanted him (in the first)," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "The guy looked tentative, he was having problems getting his pitches to cross for strikes and we had the right guys up there.

"It would have been nice to put three on the board in the first and I think that would have set the tone for the game."

The victory gave the Rays a series win against the Orioles and lifted the team out of the American League East cellar. Tampa Bay collected all six of its hits and six runs in the fifth inning and have scored in only three of their last 17 frames.

Brian Roberts and Millar each had two hits for the Orioles, who are 1-4 in the their last five after starting 6-1.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BALTIMORE 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 8 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 x 6 6 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BAL - BRIAN BURRES, RANDOR BIERD (5TH), JIM JOHNSON (8TH) AND
    GUILLERMO QUIROZ
    TAM - JEFF NIEMANN, J.P. HOWELL (7TH), DAN WHEELER
    (7TH), TREVER MILLER (7TH), AL RE

    Apr 13 4:32 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO NICK MARKAKIS SCORED GUILLERMO QUIROZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, N MARKAKIS ON FIRST, B ROBERTS ON SECOND, B
    FAHEY ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2
    TAMPA BAY 6 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: K MILLAR (.233, 1-FOR-3)

    Orioles 2, Rays 6  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 13 3:57 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY NICK MARKAKIS (1) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF JEFF NIEMANN.
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 1, TAMPA BAY 6
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: K MILLAR (.238, 1-FOR-2)

    Orioles 1, Rays 6  Top 6, 0 OutsApr 13 3:27 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 75 roots

    Orioles 0, Rays 6  Top 6, 0 OutsApr 13 3:24 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY B.J. UPTON (1) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF BRIAN BURRES SCORED AKINORI IWAMURA AND CARL CRAWFORD.
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0, TAMPA BAY 6
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: J GOMES (.261, 0-FOR-2)

    Orioles 0, Rays 6  Bot 5, 0 OutsApr 13 3:15 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARL CRAWFORD SCORED JUSTIN RUGGIANO AND MIKE
    DIFELICE.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C CRAWFORD ON FIRST, A IWAMURA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
    TAMPA BAY 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.220, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Orioles 0, Rays 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsApr 13 3:07 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY AKINORI IWAMURA SCORED EVAN LONGORIA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A IWAMURA ON FIRST, M DIFELICE ON SECOND, J
    RUGGIANO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
    TAMPA BAY 1 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.196, 0-FOR-2)

    Orioles 0, Rays 1  Bot 5, 0 OutsApr 13 3:05 PM
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    Orioles 0, Rays 0  Bot 5, 0 OutsApr 13 2:55 PM
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    Orioles 0, Rays 0  Top 5, 0 OutsApr 13 2:49 PM