Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's game got under way at 7 ET with Alex Cobb and Wei-Yin Chen on the mound. An Evan Longoria RBI single gave the Rays a 1-0 lead in the 1st. The Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the 4th when Caleb Joseph drove in two with a single. Longoria drove in another run with a double in the 5th. Jonathan Schoop gave the O's a lead again in the 6th with an RBI single. Nelson Cruz increased the lead to 4-2 with an RBI double in the 7th. That would be the final score as the O's secured a series split at the least.
Wei-Yin Chen walked a tightrope between a mediocre outing and a bad outing tonight. Thankfully, he settled for a mediocre one. His usual first pitch strike command just wasn't there tonight and the Rays were able to take advantage, reaching base ten times over his 4.2 innings of work. Some timely defense that included an out at the plate helped Chen escape the 1st inning with just one run allowed. More timely defense in the 2nd invovling another out at the plate allowed Chen to escape with no runs allowed. His 3rd and 4th innings were relatively solid aside from a pair of walks. The Rays threatened again in the 5th. After Evan Longoria drove in a run on a double and with Chen's pitch count up to 91, he was hooked with two outs, falling short of qualifying for a win.
Final Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, No Decision
Brad Brach took over for Chen and struck out Wil Myers to end the inning. He stayed on to pitch a scoreless 5th and 6th and picked up a win in this game to improve his record to 5-0.
Tommy Hunter worked the 7th and rebounded from his last outing with a scoreless inning of work, including a big strikeout of Evan Longoria.
Andrew Miller and his windmiller delivery entered in the 8th inning and set down the side in order. He's lived up to the hype I'd say. Yet to have a bad outing with the O's.
Zach Britton entered in the 9th for the save and got what he was looking for, retiring the side in order with two groundout and a called strike threee.
The bats didn't rely on the long ball tonight but still clawed their way to four runs which proved enough for a victory. Alex Cobb is a tough pitcher to the face and the bats did an excellent job of grinding out at bats against him and running up his pitch count. With timely hitting, they were able to pick up two runs against him and knocked him out after just four innings with his pitch count sitting at 92.
From there, Jonathan Schoop gave the Orioles a lead when he drove in a run on a single in the 7th and Nelson Cruz provided insurance with his RBI double in the 7th.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
Two key plays were made at home plate in the first two innings. The first one came on a double play in the first when Steve Pearce made a heads up throw to home to nab Desmond Jennings who attempted to score on Logan Forsythe's grounder to third.
On a weak grounder up the middle in the 2nd, Adam Jones fielded the ball and unleashed a cannon to home plate to prevent Ryan Hanigan from scoring.
Key Moments In The Game
The two key defensive plays mentioned above not only prevent runs from scoring but also ended the inning, playing a crucial role in Wei-Yin Chen's damage control efforts. Had the game got out of hand early one, the O's may not have come back to win.
Other Notes/ Musings
A battle of talented youngsters will take place at the Yard tomorrow night. Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly are on the mound.
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