Getting guys on base can lead to any number of ways to score, as the Baltimore Orioles found out yesterday afternoon. When guys get to third base they’re going to score on a passed ball – which is how the O’s ended up falling to Tampa yesterday. But we’ll get to that in a moment. The O’s got another great outing from a starter, this time Kevin Gausman. For the second consecutive game, a supberb outing was wasted on a loss. Gausman’s line: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 7 K.
Gausman had a trying third inning, but after that you could see him buckle down and proceed to get guys out. Now admittedly scoring more than two runs would help that one inning not to stick out so much. However what Gausman was able to do in that third inning as limit the damage fairly well. And that’s a very positive sign both for the Orioles (in terms of the future), and for Gausman in terms of being on a would-be post season roster.
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The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Chris Davis’ solo homer which came on the first pitch of the game. Similar to Gausman, Tampa starter Drew Smyly proceeded to dominate Oriole bats from that point forward. As I said yesterday, good pitching will generally shut down good hitting. And that’s what we saw across-the-board yesterday. Tampa tied the score at one in the last of the third with a sac fly-RBI by Evan Longoria. Wil Myers proceeded to give them the least later in the inning with an RBI-single.
Nick Hundley led off the seventh with a long single, and on a play in which I feel the Baltimore Orioles missed an opportunity. Hundley’s shot appeared to careem of the yellow stripe on the outfield wall and back onto the field of play. My personal opinion was that the replay was fairly conclusive, and that the Orioles could have very successfully challenged that call to have it ruled a home run. However Showalter opted not to challenge the play, which again given how close the game ended up being – I felt was a mistake.
However the O’s still had a trick or two up their sleeves. Steve Pearce led off the eighth with a walk, and was promptly lifted for pinch-runner Quentin Berry – who proceeded to play chicken with Tampa pitcher Jake McGee. Eventually, McGee tried to throw to first and ended up throwing it over the first baseman’s head; allowing Berry to get to second base. Berry would later score on a Nelson Cruz RBI-single, and the Orioles had tied the score at two.
McGee’s errant throw was what one might call a fluke play. So needless to say, live by the fluke die by the fluke at times. Ryan Flaherty allowed Yuniel Escobar to reach base leading off the last of the ninth when Chris Davis couldn’t handle his errant throw. Following a sacrifice bunt the Birds opted to walk Ben Zobrist – would would take second base on defensive indifference. Buck Showalter then summoned Andrew Miller to the mound, and his first pitch resulted in Hundley’s passed ball which won the game for Tampa.
Again, once guys get on base any number of things can happen. The loss was tagged on Brad Brach, however of course that’s an unearned run. The series concludes this afternoon where the O’s will try to salvage one at the Trop this weekend with Bud Norris on the mound. He’ll be opposed by Jeremy Hellickson.