In a well played (though not well umpired), crisp two hours and 29 minutes, the Orioles downed the Rays 2-1. The loss dropped the home town boys to 71-77, while moving the O's to within two games of .500.
For the Rays, Erasmo Ramirez was hit around a bit more than his last time out, when he carried a no-hitter into the seventh against the Yankees. In his seven innings of work today, he gave up nine hits to go with his four strikeouts -- but surrendered just single runs in the first and sixth thanks to good command and solid defense behind him. Of Ramirez's 86 pitches, 65 went for strikes, and he allowed no walks.
As for the defense, though stalwart Evan Longoria got the day off from the hot corner, the infield turned a couple nifty 5-4-3 double plays, including one that featured a nice pickup on the short hop by Richie Shaffer. Who I still don't know why he isn't playing more. I mean, does Cash think we save service time by sitting him half the time, and then pinch hitting for him with Grady Sizemore the other half? Which he again did today? But whatever. End rant.
The O's got things going early, with Manny Machado laying down a one out bunt single in the first. But he was only able to make it to third on drive in the gap by Chris Davis thanks to a great read and quick, strong throw back in from Kevin Kiermaier. Unfortunately, Adam Jones was able to drive him in with a ground out shortly thereafter.
After a lead off single by Guyer in the bottom of the frame, the Rays tied it up when Richie Shaffer collected his first non-homer RBI on a sinking liner to left that eluded Steve Pearce, scoring Guyer all the way from first. Richie would be stranded there when Wei-Yin Chen sandwiched a couple strikeouts around a Logan Forsythe groundout. On the day, Chen was very sharp, going seven innings and giving up just the one run on six hits, while striking out seven and walking no one. In fact, no pitchers issued any walks all day. That's how you cram a game with 16 hits into two and a half hours.
The final margin was settled in the sixth. Chris Davis, who was 3 for 4 on the night, collected his second double to start the inning. Two pitches later, Adam Jones singled to right and pushed across the eventual winning run.
The Rays did mount a few challenges, hitting three (3) [Three!!!] foul ball home runs, and putting runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh. Also, Brandon Guyer set a new Rays hit-by-pitch record in the third, taking one off the back thigh in classic Guyer fashion. It was his 15th of the year.
There was some excitement in the 8th when the Rays were victimized by a garbage call from home plate umpire Dale Scott. Mikie Mahtook, on to pinch run after Grady Sizemore (who was pinch hitting for Richie Shaffer because I don't know why) was hit in the knee with a Darren O'Day pitch, swiped second thanks to a great slide. But on a terrible interference call, Mahtook was sent back to first and Evan Longoria was called out for interfering with Matt Wieters.
Notes: 1) This play made me miss Brian Anderson. While DeWayne rose to the occasion in taking umbrage to the call, he was clearly missing his partner. I love Todd, but he doesn't do indignation well. 2) About the call itself: Evan Longoria swung at the pitch, and 3) While he does lose a balance a little, Evan never left the batters box, and even squatted on the follow through. Now, this is always entirely a judgment call by the umpire. But a hitter has to be allowed to swing the bat in a normal fashion, which is all Longoria did. Any "interference" (what little there might have been) was initiated by Wieters. On the next pitch (of course) Mahtook was caught stealing, ending the rally and effectively ending the game.
But draft picks though!
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