It’s tough to win when you give up 11 extra-base hits. That’s part of how Tampa was able to defeat the Baltimore Orioles yesterday by the score of 12-7. The other part of it is that in many of those cases there were people on base, hence the 12 runs. In fairness to starter Miguel Gonzalez, not all of those runs came off of him. However Gonzalez wasn’t able to cut it yesterday, as his command just wasn’t there – much in the same manner as Wei-Yin Chen on Saturday. Gonzalez’s line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 2 K.
Ben Zobrist‘s RBI-double in the first inning gave Tampa an early lead, and they opened that lead up to 2-0 on Matt Joyce‘s solo homer in the third. However the Orioles battled – at first, that is. Steve Pearce‘s RBI-single in the last of the third cut Tampa’s lead in half, and Manny Machado smacked a two-run homer in the fourth to give the O’s a 3-2 lead. But Tampa refuses to give up, much like the Orioles – and they tied it in the fifth when Ben Zobrist smacked a solo homer.
As I said, at first the Orioles battled in this game. With the score tied 3-3 and Nick Markakis at third base in the fifth inning, Tampa starter Alex Cobb uncorked a wild pitch that put the Orioles back in the lead at 4-3. But Tampa’s seven-run sixth inning (which included two homers) ended the Orioles’ period of having the lead for good, and effectively ended the game. They would also tack on two more on a Matt Joyce two-run homer, and after seven innings the Orioles traile 12-4.
The silver lining in a sense is that the O’s did put some pressure on Tampa at the end. Ryan Flaherty smacked a three-run home run in the last of the ninth, and at one point the Birds had the tying run on deck. But that ended up being too little too late, and Tampa notched a 12-7 lead (in a game whereby the final score probably indicated that the game was closer than it truly was).
The Birds dropped three-of-four to Tampa on a bad weekend all-around for the top part of the AL East. MASN analyst an former Oriole Rick Dempsey made a great point about Miguel
Gonzalez after the game: he allowed Tampa to take over the tempo of the game. The Orioles were battling early on in this game, and each time they’d smack their way back into it Gonzalez would almost allow Tampa to lull him to sleep on the mound. Tampa is a frustratingly patient team, and they have no problem taking a walk. They like it when the game moves slowly. So Gonzalez should have pressed the issue a bit, as should have the O’s as a team. It just didn’t happen yesterday.
When I say that Tampa has no problem taking a walk, it goes beyond that. They look at a walk as a potential way to score one run. And that’s how they operate; one run at a time. Their attitude is that if they score one, that means the other team has to score two to beat them. They may not necessarily look for the big inning, they just look to operate one base runner an one run at a time. And in doing so, they often frustrate their opponent which works them into recording big innings.
Nevertheless, the Orioles now have to move on from this and get ready to tackle Texas who comes into Camden Yards tonight. Ubaldo Jimenez will get the starting nod for the Orioles, who are suddenly a team that desperately needs a quality start. He’ll be opposed by former Oriole Joe Saunders.