Written by Chris Slade
The Orioles kicked off their series in Tampa tonight at 7:05 ET with Wei-Yin Chen opposing Jake Odorizzi. The Rays scored first in the 2nd on a solo home run from Yunel Escobar. They went up 3-0 in the 4th when Ryan Hanigan hit a 2-run homer. The Orioles responded with a 2-run homer from Adam Jones to cut the lead to 3-2. The O's then tied it up in the 8th on an RBI infield single from Nelson Cruz. Tampa went back up in the bottom of the 8th thanks to a pinch hit two run bomb from Jerry Sands. The top of the 9th brough Delmon Young to the plate as a pinch hitter and he hit a solo homer but the Orioles ultimately fell 5-4.
Wei-Yin Chen was his usual self today and gave the Orioles a quality start despite the long ball troubles. He threw strikes and worked ahead to most o the Rays hitters, only issuing one free pass on the day. His fastball lacks much life to it though, and as usual, if it caught to much of the plate, right handed batters were able to take advantage. The two home runs allowed to Yunel Escobar and Ryan Hanigan only accounted for three runs, so Chen was able to keep the damage to a minimum tonight and give the Orioles a chance at a win.
Final Line: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 3 K, No Decision
Darren O'Day recorded the final out of the 7th inning and picked up two outs, including a swinging strikeout of Ben Zobrist, before exiting with lefty David DeJesus at the plate.
Brian Matusz entered to face DeJesus but wound up facing righty Jerry Sands, a power hitting outfielder the Rays recently called up. Sands deposited on a 2-0 high, middle fastball for a two run home run that gave the Rays a 5-3 lead. Matusz takes the loss.
The Orioles scored four runs on eight hits tonight. Jake Odorizzi wasn't spectacular but he was effective over his first five innings of work before hot-hitting Adam Jones sent him on his way after depositing a two run bomb into the bleachers. Nick Markakis had a nice night in the leadoff spot, hitting a double and a single, walking, and scoring two runs. JJ Hardy recorded the other two-hit night, with a pair of singles.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
J.J. Hardy made his 8th error of the season, on a bouncing throw over to first in the 8th inning that Chris Davis wasn't able to handle on the pick attempt.
Key Moments In The Game
During the 8th inning the Orioles managed to load the bases with one out and get the tying run in on an infield single from Nelson Cruz. But, JJ Hardy proceeded to strikeout and Steve Pearce proceeded to gorundout after barely missing what could have been a game changing doubled smoked down the line that stayed foul.
Jerry Sands coming up big as a pinch hitter for the Rays in the 8th, hitting the game winning homer.
Other Notes/ Musings
The Trop isn't known as a bandbox but tonight five balls left the ballpark.
It was extremely frustrating to see Joe Madden's decision to respond double pinch hit and send a righty up to bat against Brian Matusz pay off so beautifully. It's tough to blame Buck on this one for taking O'Day out. If David DeJesus hits a bomb, then people go ballistoc over why the lefty specialist wasn't brought in.
The Tommy John epidemic continues in baseball as Matt Wieters will officially undergo Tommy John surgery. Tough break for him and the O's.
Delmon Young's pinch hit blast in the 9th was clutch but unfortunately came with no one on. That's the second pinch hit homer the Orioles have hit with Steve Pearce having the other. #ProfessionalHitters
O's will look to even the series tomorrow night with Miguel Gonzalez and former Oriole lefty Erik Bedard on the mound.
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