Rays hit 3 HRs in 9th, rally past Nationals 10-6 for 5-0 start

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WASHINGTON – Luke Raley, Josh Lowe and Yandy Díaz homered in the ninth inning as the undefeated Tampa Bay Rays rallied for a 10-6 win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

Raley hit his third homer in two nights, a liner to left field leading off the ninth against Washington closer Kyle Finnegan (0-1) that tied it at 6. Lowe followed with a shot into the second deck in right-center.

“I got a front-row view of (Raley’s homer),” Lowe said. “Knew it was gone off the bat. Then I went up there just trying to get on base. I got a good pitch to hit and put that one over the fence, and the boys kept it going.”

Not that Lowe was totally surprised by the turn of events.

“He called it today,” Raley said of Lowe predicting the back-to-back homers. “I mean, we’ve thrown it out there a couple of times. It hadn’t happened yet, but today it worked.”

With two on and one out, Díaz capped the outburst with a three-run homer to left-center, ending Finnegan’s outing.

“They were on everything I threw tonight,” Finnegan said. “I tried my best to get it by them and just couldn’t do it.”

Jose Siri also went deep and Randy Arozarena had two RBI doubles for the Rays, who improved to 5-0 and extended the best start in franchise history. They are off to the best start of any team since Baltimore opened 7-0 in 2016.

“It’s like a perfect, well-rounded team,” Raley said. “We have people that do everything. I think everybody can lose some balls. I mean, there’s a lot of power in the clubhouse, with a lot of speed. It’s a really unique group.”

Ryan Thompson (1-0) pitched one inning for the win.

Lane Thomas had three hits and drove in three runs for Washington, and Alex Call added three hits and a walk. The Nationals got 16 hits but went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position.

“We stayed on the ball, we hit the ball. We used the whole field today,” manager Dave Martinez said. “Still need to do a better job of getting that guy in from third base with less than two outs. Those are big runs.”

Tampa Bay starting pitchers had allowed one run over 23 innings in the first four games, but Josh Fleming was touched for five runs on 10 hits and was lifted after the first three Nationals batters reached in the fourth.

Chad Kuhl pitched five innings in his Nationals debut. Signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, Kuhl made the team in spring training. He allowed four runs and four hits, but retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.

Hitters had their way early and the game was tied 4-all after two innings.

After Victor Robles and CJ Abrams singled to start the fourth, Thomas grounded a single to center, scoring Robles to make it 5-4.

Pinch-hitter Luis Garcia doubled home Call in the seventh to make it 6-4 before Arozarena’s double scored Díaz to pull the Rays to 6-5 in the eighth.

“Bats kind of went quiet for a little bit, but stayed at it and really turned it on in the ninth,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “Really putting together a pretty good series.”


Thomas has been among the few bright spots for the Nationals. He’s hit safely in four of five games and is batting .381 with four RBIs while hitting leadoff against left-handers.


The Rays have outscored their opponents 37-11. That plus-26 run differential through five games is the best in club history. The previous high was plus-14 in 2014 and 2020.


Rays LHP Shane McClanahan (1-0), who tossed six shutout innings against the Tigers on opening day, starts the series finale Wednesday. Nationals LHP Patrick Corbin (0-1) allowed three runs in five innings on opening day versus the Braves.

Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

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BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”