Written by Chris Slade
Today's afternoon game got under way at 4:05 ET and featured a pair of lefties in Wei-Yin Chen and former Oriole Erik Bedard. The Rays hit three home runs off Chen to jump out to a 5-0 lead by the 5th while Bedard dealt against his old team. Desmond Jennings led off the game with a solo shot. Logan Forsythe hit a two-run shot in the 2nd, his first home run of the season. The third home run came in the 4th inning, another two-run shot off the bat of Kevin Keirmaier. The Orioles finally got on the board in the 6th when Nick Markakis hit a solo shot off Bedard. With Bedard still pitching in the 8th, the Orioles cut the lead to 5-3 thanks to a two-run homer from Manny Machado. Adam Jones made it a 5-4 game with an RBI single. That's all the Orioles had in them today though, as they were retired in order in the 9th and handed a 5-4 loss.
Wei-Yin Chen has gopher ball issues creep up on him in outing where his fastball command isn't pinpoint in hitters counts and that's exactly what happened today. He made three crucial mistakes that allowed the Rays to tag him for five earned runs with three swings of the bat. He couldn't keep his fastball down consistently enough and his slider didn't have its usual bite to it which allowed left handed hitter Kevin Keirmaier to connect with it for a two-run homer in the 4th. Overall, it was a disappointing outing from Chen who entered this game witha pretty solid track record versus the Rays.
Final Line: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K,
Brad Brach took over for Chen in the 4th and also pitched the 5th, retiring all five batters he faced in order.
Tommy Hunter worked a scoreless 6th and punched out Desmond Jennings looking in the process.
The highlight of the relief corps today goes to Ryan Webb's inning of work in the 7th in which he struck out Ben Zobrist, Brandon Guyer, and Evan Longoria in order.
T.J. McFarland tossed a scoreless inning of relief in the 8th, and punched out a pair of hitters. He has quietly pitched very well for the Orioles lately in a variety of situations.
The Rays threatened to add an insurance run against Darren O'Day in the 8th when Ben Zobrist tripled with one out but O'Day worked out of it without Zobrist scoring.
Erik Bedard hasn't gone more than six innings in any start all year but was on his A game today against his former ballclub, of course. Bedard had excellent control of his three-pitch mix and didn't walk a single batter in his outing. The Orioles were limited to just two hits over the first five innings until Nick Markakis ended the shutout bid with a solo tank in the 6th inning. Bedard remained in the game in the 8th inning but finally ran out of gas, allowing a leadoff single to J.J. Hardy, followed by a two-run shot off the left field foul pole by Manny Machado.
The big bats of Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones, both of which destroy left handed pitching, were held silent by Bedard today. However, Jonesy did come through in the 8th with an RBI single off Jake McGee to cut the Rays lead to 5-4.
J.J. Hardy and Markakis finished with the lone multi-hit games on offense.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
The Orioles played an error free game on defense this afternoon.
J.J. Hardy showed nice range and made an accurate thow over to first where Chris Davis made a nice pick to get the hustling Brandon Guyer out on a groundball in the 4th.
Key Moments In The Game
The Orioles finally chasing Bedard in the 8th while putting three big runs on the board put them back in the game. Unfortunately, they fell short in this one.
Other Notes/ Musings
It figures Erik Bedard tosses one of his best outings of the year against the O's. I'm just glad Manny got him out of their with that big two-run homer. I was starting to worry he may go the distance.
Holding Nelson Cruz, a .420 hitter against lefties and the major league leader in homers, was arguably one of the key factors in the Rays coming away with a win in this one. That, and the five early runs they obtained off Chen.
The Orioles bullpen has allowed just 1 ER in their last 29.2 innings combined. Is that good?
Delmon Young singled today and is now 7-for-13 as a pinch hitter. That's worthy of a roster spot to me.
The Orioles will go for the series split tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 ET. Alex Cobb and Miguel Gonzalez are your scheduled starters.
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