Odorizzi navigates trouble for 1st '16 home win

Righty impresses with fastball while escaping jams on way to quality start

Odorizzi navigates trouble for 1st '16 home win

ST. PETERSBURG -- A thought came to Jake Odorizzi three pitches into the first inning of his start on Sunday.

"Change something," he said.

Entering the Rays' 5-2 win, Odorizzi had allowed at least four runs in a single inning five times this season. Adam Jones singled to lead off the game, and Jonathan Schoop followed with a double before Odorizzi had thrown his fourth pitch. He needed to repair the problem on the fly before things spiraled out of control.

He did, coming through with some major damage control. Manny Machado hit a sacrifice fly, then Odorizzi struck out Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo to end the threat, coming away with just one run scoring.

"Just trying to establish the strike zone early, and they're an aggressive team," Odorizzi said. "They put the ball in play, and it doesn't matter if it's the first pitch of the game or the 100th pitch of the game. They're still going to attack it the same way."

Rays manager Kevin Cash felt as though Odorizzi "set the tone" in the first inning, leading to the Rays' victory.

"We're second and third three pitches into the ballgame," Cash said. " ... One guy comes across. But I thought it was an outstanding job to limit the damage there, make some pitches. And then he kind of put it on cruise control.

" ... Today might have been the best day we've seen that fastball up. He got a ton of chase on it. And it didn't seem like many guys could adjust to get on top of it. Outstanding job by Odo."

Odorizzi again dodged trouble in the fifth when the Orioles loaded the bases with two outs. He elected to pitch around Machado to face Davis, retiring the Orioles slugger on a flyout to center for the third out.

Odorizzi escapes a jam

"He didn't panic," Cash said. "I thought he attacked in the fifth. Machado, very smart. He had a good feeling with Chris Davis on deck and didn't want [Machado] to beat him. I think he felt good about his approach and game plan with Davis in his previous at-bat and didn't give Machado much to hit.

"He pitched a little bit to the situation, but the carry that he had on the fastball today was kind of vintage Jake right there. That's what we've kind of seen quite a bit when he's having success."

Odorizzi allowed a solo home run to Pedro Alvarez in the sixth, but he came away with a quality start, recording his first home win since Oct. 1, which snapped a streak of 10 straight home starts without a victory. And the win was his first since June 8 at Arizona.

Odorizzi said he "tried to mix up" his pitches.

"I had a good fastball today," he said. "Just moving it in and out, up and down, just not really giving them a certain area to look. Just putting the ball in play, so just made the big pitches when I needed to. And it was nice to getting back to feeling good out there."

As for the reality of the approaching Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Odorizzi did not seemed fazed, even though he's a hot name linked to many teams as the Rays are projected to be sellers.

"I think everybody's name is out there," said Odorizzi, who has twice been traded. "I've been through it multiple times, so it doesn't really bother me any. I can't speak for other people, that type of thing, but it's familiar territory.

"Usually, there's a lot more smoke than fire a lot of time. ... Whatever happens, happens. I'm happy with the way today went, and now we just have to carry it through the rest of the season."

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.