When the day starts with a serious concern that Chris Tillman is going to no-hit you, you know that the rest of the game is not going to go particularly well.
And not particularly well, it went.
Innings 1-3: Cy Tillman keeps the Rays guessing
Moore's pitch sequencing to Manny Machado in the first was particularly excellent. He started Manny off with a changeup on the outside for a strike, went a bit wild with his 94 mph fastball (which SunSports kept unironically registering as "heat"), and finished off Machado with another wicked changeup, coaxing a ground ball to Miller. Then he struck out Adam Jones with a 95 mph (!) fastball high-and-inside. A very nice inning that allowed Moore to show off his offspeed stuff.
In the second Moore seemed to lose control a little bit. Moore started the inning by getting a ground ball out of Chris Davis, who can send a ball over the fence by sneezing on it. Davis hit it against the shift but Longoria was basically impeccably placed, needing to move maybe 8 inches to his left to snare it. That said, J.J. Hardy later managed to line a ball between two fielders on the left side, squeezing between the defensive placement. The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.
Moore seemed to throw the ball all over the strike zone a little more this inning, walking Mark Trumbo on five pitches. Luckily, the Rays seemed to be everywhere they needed to be. Hard-hit balls were caught, and over-aggressive Orioles swung at some mistakes from Moore.
Tillman, too, seemed to catch whatever it was that Moore had, bouncing offspeed pitches and being generally wild. The Rays helped him out with some bad swings though, although with a pretty wonky call that kept poor, beleagured Logan Morrison off the basepaths.
Letting Morrison work a full count and then calling this pitch has to be the second-cruelest thing an umpire has ever done.
Moore went back to the work in the third, striking out Schoop and Joey Rickard. He also kept Manny Machado on the ground, giving him nothing above the belly button in the strike zone that he can send over the left field fence. Tillman, too, recovered. Whatever strange supernatural veil of inaccuracy that descended over the Trop in the second was gone by the third.
Innings 4-6: Joey F***in' Rickard
Moore worked a clean fourth but not before Steven Souza Jr. did a thing:
Off the bat it felt like a home run, but not only did it stay in the park, Souza was able to track it down and make some kind of ridiculous Superman catch reminiscent of whatever Billy Hamilton did last night. The Rays also threatened in the fourth (even collecting a hit!), putting the first two men on base. Despite the fast start, Longo flew out (which advanced the runners), BSD struck out swinging for the moon, and Jennings popped the ball up the elevator chute to leave the runners stranded.
In the fifth, things unraveled. Moore quickly got the first two outs of the innings, but the number 8 and 9 men reached base, bringing up former Ray and current Rule 5 draft pick Joey Rickard. On the very first pitch of the AB, Rickard (who had swung at both first pitches in his first two appearances) inexplicably got a fastball right down the middle from Moore. He sent it to the left field bleachers.
Logan Morrison (!) led off the sixth with a hit, his first hit since 2005. Despite the efforts of the spark plug Morrison, nothing came of that.
Innings 7-9: Masters of the tease
It's easy to forget that the Rays only scored a handful of runs against this beleaguered Baltimore rotation, considering that the Rays took the first few games. Only ten runs were scored by either team this whole series, and the O's scored 3 of them tonight. Tonight, Cy Tillman quashed any offensive uprising.
Longoria got a hit in the ninth to lead off, was replaced on a FC by Brandon Guyer, who scored on a Steve Pearce single. It was the Rays' first hit w/ RISP in 16 chances in this series. With two outs, Steven Souza entered as the potential tying run, but he grounded out (not for lack of hustle) to end the game.
Matt Moore only allowed three hits, but unfortunately one of them left the yard. Ryan Webb and Dana Eveland pitched two perfect innings in relief.
Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Manny Machado, and Chris Davis go a collective 0-15, but it only takes one guy to make a big impact in this stupid game for morons. Rays outhit the O's 4-3, but it only takes one big hit to make a big impact in this idiotic game for simpletons. Mark Trumbo's hitting streak goes the way of the dodos, but the O's win this unbelievably pointless game nonetheless.
Tomorrow is an off-day, and on Friday Aaron Sanchez faces off against Smyly at home. That's all (s)he wrote.
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