Rays 5, Orioles 4: US beats Ghana, Sands beats Orioles

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It's not a short story I swear to God.

How do you feel about this game, Rays fan?

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haha you are wearing the wrong shirt but yes i can see your point

If you were busy watching the World Cup, first off, good for you, I heard that was a fun game, and I'm totally not bitter I missed it, I'm not, stop asking. The most exciting play of the game was Jerry Sands' two-run home run in the eighth inning. I could show you the GIF of the home run right off the bat (baseball pun) but I won't, because you won't read the rest of the recap and I worked so hard on it. Bands don't play their hits at the start of the concert. Sure you could scroll down (and I even marked the section where the Rays take the lead as "The Rays Take the Lead") but you're cool and I trust you.

Innings 1-3

Yunel Escobar got the memo from the USMNT that scoring early is super great. I am assuming this is true because I missed the game. I may have mentioned that. He started it off with a one-out home run to left field that was an absolute laser.

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Bat flip and everything. Evan Longoria followed this up with a hard hit fly ball to center that I thought was gone, but it found the deepest part of the park near that Bermurda Triangle where home run balls go to die. He ended up with a double and was stranded on second after a Ben Zobrist strikeout and a James Loney foulout. Jake Odorizzi had a relatively uneventful first inning, with the only high tension point coming from 10-pitch strikeout of Manny Machado.

In the top of the second J.J. Hardy singled and David Lough drew an 11 (!) pitch walk with two outs but KODOR was able to strikeout Ryan Flaherty to end any threat. In the third Nick Markakis drew a four-pitch walk but the Orioles stranded him at first. The Rays would mirror the Orioles in the bottom of the inning, as Longoria also drew a walk and was stranded there. Not much doing for the first third of the game, as both Wei-Yin Chen and Odorizzi were able to work around runners on base and leave men stranded when they needed to.

Innings 4-6

In the fourth, the Rays finally struck again. After setting down the O's in order, Loney doubled to left field on a full count and Sean Rodriguez was able to bunt him over to third. Unfortunately, Logan Forsythe hit a ball to center that wasn't deep enough for Loney to tag up. The Rays were, for the umpteenth time this season, in danger of leaving a man stranded in scoring position. But with two outs and a full count, Ryan Hanigan delivered:

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I like how he holds his bat out at an arm's length and then flips it while it's fully extended for maximum spin. Rays up 3-0. History almost repeats itself in the fifth. O's go down 1-2-3, and Jennings hits a leadoff ground rule double. Alas, there were no more heroics this inning, as Chen mows through the heart of the Rays' order with 7 straight strikes.

In the sixth the O's strike back. Going by the eye test here, Odorizzi seemed to lose control his command. He allowed a double to Nick Markakis after retiring the last 8 Orioles batters in order. Odorizzi got Machado to fly out but threw a high and meaty fastball to Adam Jones, who ate it up. This would be the last batter of Odor's night, and he would walk off the field after pitching a respectable 5.1 innings and allowing two walks and three hits, one of which happened to be a two-run homer. Brad Boxberger would come in and retire Crush Davis and Nelson Cruz to stop the bleeding. In the bottom of the inning the Rays, for the first inning all game, don't put a man on base. Hanigan and Jones essentially go tit for tat in the middle innings with two-run homers. 3-2 Rays.

Innings 7-9

In the seventh Joel Peralta would get the call and provide some self-induced high-leverage innings that only Joel Peralta can give. A leadoff hit by J.J. Hardy coupled with a David Lough sac bunt would put a runner in scoring position with just one out. When Peralta is on, he can typically work around these early base hits or walks that he always seems to give up, and can buckle down and pick up strikeouts. Two years ago, it seemed like that's all he did, and tonight, it's exactly what he did do, striking out Ryan Flaherty and Caleb Joseph to end the inning.

In the eighth, the Rays would relinquish their lead. Grant Balfour would enter and promptly give up back-to-back singles. After falling behind Adam Jones 3-0, he gave up a line drive that just so happened to be hit right at our 5 WAR OF Kevin Kiermaier. Maddon would call to the bullpen for Jack McGee, but McGee walked Chris Davis on pitches that were close and could have gone either way to load the bases.

On an 0-1 count, Nelson Cruz hit a high chopper that was mere inches away from hitting the edge of home plate and being a foul ball. A true Baltimore chop, by the time Longoria fielded it and could make a play, all the runners were safe. Game tied, 3-3. McGee would then buckle down and strikeout Hardy and get Steve Pearce (who, holy cow, has been just one of the many O's hitters to hammer the Rays this year), to ground out. He got pretty lucky on the pitch before, as Pearce hit a screaming line drive to left that just barely (by like a foot, maybe less) stayed foul. Nonetheless, the O's were denied a lead which seemed predestined after Balfour gave up those leadoff singles.

The Rays Take the Lead

Evan Longoria draws a leadoff walk, but Zobrist and Loney are retired things seem to lose steam. Maddon calls to Dejesus to pinch hit for S-Rod, which leads to Buck Showalter replacing Darren O'Day with Brian Matusz, which forces Joe Maddon's hand and leads to Jerry Sands being called to pinch hit for the pinch hitter. Matusz has been a monster against left handed hitting but is weak against righties, with an OPS allowed this year of .875. Jerry Sands, on a 2-0 pitch, shows the kind of power we've all been waiting for:

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I have no idea how that stayed fair, but baseball is a game of inches and the Rays inch past the Orioles to take a 5-3 lead.

In the top of the ninth Oviedo comes in and allows a home run to Delmon Young but who cares, because he retired everyone else and the Rays come out ahead in the end, 5-4.

did you know there was a soccer game tonight? can someone tell me what hap-

ok yes thank you

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