5/18/2013 9:55 P.M. ET
Ramos 'getting comfortable' as Rays' long-relief man
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Cesar Ramos was impressive while appearing in four of the Rays' 10 games during the last homestand after pitching in only three of the previous 17 games.
"[Ramos has] been good. He's been really good," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "... Very aggressive in the zone, really a good sinking movement on the fastball. Excellent slow curveball. He's been pitching really well. [It looks like] he feels very comfortable."
Ramos also said that he's "getting comfortable."
"That's helped me relax a little more when I set," Ramos said. "I think I was being a little too tense and that was causing me to be inconsistent. And now when I set, I just relax my shoulders a little bit more and good things have been happening."
There isn't a lot of glory in being a team's long man out of the bullpen, but Ramos has been heroic lately. He threw 2 1/3 innings of perfect relief on May 11 in a win over the Padres and on Wednesday against the Red Sox he pitched three scoreless innings, a high watermark for any Rays reliever this season. The latter appearance helped save the bullpen, which might go unnoticed by some fans, but not the rest of the bullpen.
"Most of the people don't see that," Joel Peralta said. "Most of the people see the back of the bullpen. [Jake] McGee, [Fernando] Rodney and Peralta. People don't understand that everybody is important in the bullpen. ... What they do is valuable to the team and to us in the bullpen."
Because Ramos has been so impressive, Maddon has been asked on occasion if Ramos could be used in a more significant role when he sees work in moments where the game is on the line.
"Everybody has different roles," Maddon said. "He has fulfilled his role. ... To put him in in the latter part of the game, that may occur when it's needed, but right now [long relief is] the role he's needed in, and he's done a great job with it so far."
Ramos is fine with the idea of continuing in his current role.
"I just like any assignment," Ramos said. "Any time you go in the game, you want to put up a zero. And when I go into the game, that's just my mindset even if it's just one hitter, or an inning, two innings, three innings, five innings. Whatever. I just want to put up a zero every time I'm out there and get everybody out.
"You take what you get. We have a lot of great arms and they have their roles, and they just keep going. It's fun watching them go at it in those high-level situations. Time will come when it does. But for now, my time's been with what's going on and I'm happy with it."
Molina exits game with hamstring injury
BALTIMORE -- Jose Molina left Saturday's game vs. the Orioles due to a tight left hamstring.
The Rays catcher said he was fine after the game, and he does not expect to miss any time.
When Molina hit his second double of the game, he pulled into second base without sliding and still managed to avoid the tag. Moments later, Jose Lobaton was sent in to pinch run for Molina.
Hellickson sets bittersweet mark in Friday's win
BALTIMORE -- Jeremy Hellickson tied a club record Friday night for most runs allowed in a win, when he yielded eight in 7 2/3 innings in the Rays' 12-10 win over the Orioles.
The right-hander tied the mark of Victor Zambrano, who beat the Red Sox, 15-9, at Fenway Park on July 24, 2003.
It was also the most earned runs allowed by a Major League pitcher in a win since Andy Pettitte of the Yankees surrendered eight in an 11-10 win at Baltimore on Sept. 29, 2007.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a Major League starting pitcher went seven or more innings, allowed eight earned runs or more and still picked up a win was Britt Burns of the Chicago White Sox on July 13, 1985. Burns went all the way in a 10-8 win at Baltimore.
"It's probably my ugliest win," Hellickson said.
• Tampa Bay is in Baltimore the day of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday for the fourth time in club history and the first since 2003. Entering Saturday's contest, the Rays held a 2-1 advantage against the Orioles on the day of the big horse race. The Rays won in 1998 and '03 when Real Quiet and Funny Cide won, respectively, and they lost when War Emblem won in '02.
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Friday night's 12-10 Rays win was the first game in the Major Leagues this season when each team scored 10 or more runs. It was the first 12-10 win in Rays history.
• Former Rays shortstop Reid Brignac went from the Rockies to the Yankees for cash on Saturday. Maddon said he was happy for Brignac, and he added that he thought he would be able to handle New York since he's familiar with playing in the American League East from his days with the Rays.
• Peralta retired the side in order in the ninth inning of Friday night's Rays win over the Orioles. He did so by facing the 3-4-5 hitters in the Orioles' lineup. In his Rays career (2011-13), he has faced the opponents' 3-4-5 batters more than any other spots in the order, and he has held them to a .189 average.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.