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Rays' rally falls short; fall to Orioles 4-3

Too little too late from the Rays as a ninth inning rally falls just short of tying the game against the Baltimore Orioles

Brian Blanco

The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night behind three home runs, two by center fielder Adam Jones. Ryan Webb was the winning pitcher for Baltimore with Brandon Gomes taking the loss for the Rays.

The Orioles would score first on a solo home run hit by Adam Jones on first pitch fastball from Rays starter Cesar Ramos to lead off the second inning. Shortstop J.J. Hardy then reached on a Ben Zobrist error to begin an Orioles threat. Delmon Young struck out looking looking for the first out of the inning but Ramos then walked Steve Pearce to give the Orioles men on first and second with one out. Pearce was erased on when Jonathan Schoop grounded into a fielder's choice. Ramos escaped with no further damage when catcher Caleb Joseph grounded out to end the inning.

James Loney led off the bottom of the second with a walk but was erased when Wil Myers grounded into a double play. The Rays would go quietly in the second.

Ramos issued a leadoff walk to Markakis to begin the top of the third inning but he was eliminated by a fantastic 4-6-3 double play turned by Zobrist and Yunel Escobar.

Adam Jones struck again to leadoff the top of the fourth, hitting another first pitch- this time a changeup- into center field over Desmond Jennings's head, giving the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

Matt Joyce singled to begin the bottom of the fourth inning. Longoria grounded into a would be double play that the Rays escaped because Joyce was in motion on the pitch, giving the Rays a man on second with one out. Loney and Myers both failed to drive in Joyce leaving the score 2-0 in favor of the Orioles.

David DeJesus brought the Rays back to within a run with a leadoff homer to right in the fifth inning. 2-1 Orioles.

The Rays would tie the game with a two out rally in the bottom of the sixth inning started by Loney getting hit by a pitch in the knee. Myers then singled, moving Loney up to second. That signaled the end for Orioles starter Bud Norris's night, departing after 5.2 innings and 101 pitches. Brian Matusz entered the game, bringing Sean Rodriguez out to pinch hit for DeJesus. The move worked: Rodriguez singled to center, scoring Loney as Jones's throw to home skipped away from the catcher Joseph, allowing Myers and Rodriguez to move up to third and second. Matusz departed, having only thrown two pitches and been charged with a blown save. Ryan Webb entered the game for the Orioles and retired Yunel Escobar on a grounder to second.

The tie did not last long however.

The Orioles scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning on a Jonathan Schoop homerun to left following a Pearce single off of Rays reliever Brandon Gomes.

Webb and fellow reliever Zach Britton combined to shut down the Rays offense, getting seven consecutive outs, six on grounders, from the end of the sixth to the end of the eighth innings.

Jake McGee and Josh Lueke would keep the Orioles off of the scoreboard in the eighth and ninth innings, the latter getting some fielding help on a grounder fielded by Ben Zobrist, who ranged to the shortstop side of second base to collect the ball and throw out Adam Jones at first.

Orioles' closer Tommy Hunter entered the game in the ninth inning and promptly gave up a leadoff a double to left center to Myers, giving the Rays a runner in scoring position with no outs down 4-2. Rodriguez struck out looking on a full count pitch, bringing Escobar to the plate. Escobar would single to center, but Jones quickly fielded the ball and, not wanting to test Jones's arm, Myers was held up at third base, giving the Rays runners at the corners with one out. Logan Forsythe came on to pinch run for Escobar. Ryan Hanigan would continue the rally, singling home Myers and moving Forsythe to third with only one out. Brandon Guyer came out to pinch run for Hanigan, representing the winning run. Zobrist lined out to J.J. Hardy, giving Desmond Jennings a last chance to drive in the tying or winning run. Jennings shot a liner back up the middle- only for it to be caught by Hunter, ending the game in Rays' defeat.


-Cesar Ramos was once again very efficient with his pitch count. He threw 72 pitches, 45 for strikes, in 5.2 innings. Norris, Baltimore's starter, also went 5.2 innings but threw 101 pitches, 55 for strikes.

-If it seemed like there were a lot of leadoff walks/hits today, there were. Each team put the leadoff batter on base in the first four innings of the game. The Rays put the leadoff man on in the first five innings and six innings overall. They only scored runs in two of those innings however.

- David Price takes on Ubaldo Jimenez tomorrow as the Rays look to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Orioles.