Written by Lee Tackett
David Dejesus hit a one out single to right center off Bud Norris as the Rays beat the Orioles in 18 innings. Neither team scored from the 7th inning on as the Rays moved further ahead in the Wild Card race.
The Rays wasted no time getting to starter Jason Hammel. David Dejesus led the game off with a double to the right center gap and came around to score on a nearly identical shot from Ben Zobrist. Evan Longoria followed with a single to put runners at the corners, then a batter later, Oriole killer Matt Joyce laced a ball ruled an error through Chris Davis to bring home Zobrist. Hammel recovered with two consecutive ground ball outs, but the Rays were out to a 2-0 lead.
Hammel was unable to miss any Rays’ barrels in the second inning either. Jose Molina led the inning off with a double down the left field line and came around to score on a Dejesus sacrifice fly to extend the deficit to 3. Hammel threw up zeroes in the next 3 innings to conclude his outing. He was not “on” by any means, but kept the team in the game during his five innings of work.
Final Line: 5 IP 6 H 3 R 2 ER 0 BB 3 K
Troy Patton entered in the sixth for his just his third appearance of the month and issued a leadoff walk to Sean Rodriguez but retired the next two before giving way to Francisco Rodriguez, who induced a fly out to end the threat.
Kevin Gausman came on for the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Yunel Escobar, who moved up to second on a wild pitch. Gausman struck out Dejesus, but hung a change up to Zobrist, who singled home the tying run. Gausman worked out of the inning, but the damage was done with the game tied.
Tommy Hunter twirled a 3 up 3 down eighth. He gave up a leadoff single to Desmond Jennings to start the ninth, but sat down the next 3 to force free baseball.
Darren O’Day worked a perfect 10th. Brian Matusz and Josh Stinson combined to strike out the side in the 11th. Stinson also blanked the Rays in the 12th and 13th.
T.J. McFarland came on for the 14th and walked two but threw up a zero. Things got a bit dicey in the 15th, as the Rays loaded the bases with two outs, but McFarland coaxed a ground out from former first overall pick Tim Beckham to end the inning.
Bud Norris fared better in his second relief appearance with the Birds. He allowed a two out single, but navigated a zero in the 16th. Norris allowed another base runner in the 17th but finished the inning unscathed. Norris’s fortunes turned in the 18th. Desmond Jennings hit a one out double into the left field corner and scores two batters later.
The Orioles put runners on base in each of the first four innings and came away empty, but things finally turned in the fifth. Michael Morse began the inning with a walk then Brian Roberts and Manny Machado added back to back singles to load the bases with no one out. Adam Jones hit a slow chopper to third that Longoria couldn’t come up with to drive in the Orioles’ first run. However, the O’s were unable to take full advantage. After Chris Davis struck out looking on a debatable call, Danny Valencia grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play.
Matt Wieters grabbed his second hit of the day with a leadoff double in the sixth that chased David Price. Wieters scored two batters later on a Nick Markakis ground out to pull the Orioles within 1.
Roberts worked a 10 pitch walk off Jake McGee to start the seventh then Machado took a pitch off the hand to put two on with none out. Joe Maddon brought in Alex Torres to put out the fire and Jones greeted him with a double off the left field wall to tie the game. Torres struck out Davis on a filthy change up for the first out but Valencia lifted a sacrifice fly to center to put the O’s ahead 4-3.
The Orioles moved the go ahead run to second in the ninth in the form of Davis, but Valencia grounded out to end the inning.
There’s a significant gap between the ninth and the end of the game because the Orioles mustered nothing in the form of offense during that period.
The Joyce double in the first seemed to confuse Davis and basically went right through his legs. Whether it was the spin on the ball or the hop, Davis never had his glove in the right position, and a run came in as a result. Had he gloved the ball, it was likely a double play.
Hunter wore a line drive from Zobrist in the shoulder and recovered to make the play to end the ninth inning. Good use of his wide frame.
Roberts may have checked out early due to the late hours of the game. In the 15th, Roberts threw away a double play, then muffed a ground ball, also eliminating a double play. Thankfully he made the final out of the inning.
Fairly evident, the Dejesus single ended a very drawn out affair.
Observations and Musings
-This was the longest game in Rays and Orioles history, whatever that’s worth.
-Gary Thorne really hit his stride in about the 12th inning and did a great job of keeping things fun during a very arduous game.
-The O’s struggled mightily to put together quality at bats against the Tampa relievers. Not that pitch counts matter with the bullpen, but there was a lot of weak contact on swings early in the count. The offense was never able to put pressure on the Rays defense even by getting men on base.
-I hate questioning managerial decisions, but at some point during essentially the second game that was played tonight, I’m surprised Buck didn’t go to his bench. No Ryan Flaherty and Steve Pearce aren’t world beaters, but there comes a point where changing things up for the sake of a different look makes sense.
-Going forward, both teams are spent pitching wise. It either becomes a back breaking or a galvanizing loss. It’s either win 3 straight or a winning season with out the playoffs. Simple as that.
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