People like to say that all wins and all losses count the same. That's not true at all. Yes, the record books will only care about the record after 162 games, but where the Rays stand at the end of this week will go a long way toward determining whether or not the team improves or gets worse at the deadline. So when the Rays trade Kevin Jepsen, and then lose more games in September than they would otherwise, it will be in part the fault of this game.
Erasmo Ramirez pitched into the eighth but he was unable to escape the one big inning. He received no support from the Rays offense, other than a solo home run off the bat of Curt Casali. Let's take a look at the third.
J.J. Hardy lead off the third inning. He took two fastballs for a strike, and then appeared to see a slider on the outer edge very well. It was slightly up though still not a bad pitch, but Hardy leaned over the plate and lined it back through the middle for a single. Ramirez continued to attack with his fastball and got up 0-2 on Travis Snider, eventually putting him away with a fly ball off an outside changeup for the first out.
He lost the zone a bit to Jonathan Schoop getting himself into a 3-1 count where he was forced to throw a fastball in the zone. The result was a sinking line drive into center field. Kevin Kiermaier charged, dove, and had in the base of his glove, but it bounced loose as he hit the ground putting runners at first and second. Ramirez was back in attack mode against David Lough, but his fastball got slapped the other way for a grounder against the shift and yet another single.
So after one good piece of hitting by Hardy, and two balls in play that found holes, and Ramirez was in something of a spot: bases loaded, one out, Chris Davis up. Now he pitched carefully: slider onto the hands for a strike; fastball outside for a ball; fastball challenging Davis at the top of the strike zone swung at and missed; fastball taken at the top of the strike zone for strike three.
Well, that's wrong. It wasn't strike three. It was called a ball. Maybe it was, but Davis is a tall man. That call really could have gone either way, it may have been the coin flip that decided the game, as Ramirez's next pitch was a slider below the zone that ran the count full, followed by a fastball on the outer third of the zone that Chris Davis unloaded on for a grand slam.
The fifth run for the Orioles came on one of the least-well-hit triples-turned-inside-the-park-home runs you're likely to ever see. David Lough hit a sharp single down the first base line, which ate up James Loney. It may have actually bounced off him, as it looked like it took a slight deflection, heading further into the foul ground in right field. Steven Souza Jr. had a long way to run for it, and Lough decided to head for third. Logan Forsythe was the relay man, and he had a chance to get the runner with a strong throw, but he missed wide, and Lough was able to round third and come home on the error.