In a game that could help decide the Rays’ place in the postseason, it was bound to be dramatic no matter what. But why not add some extra interest with a tie game for the bulk of the outing and both teams pulling their starters relatively early? Or do you want plenty of home runs? Well, this game had both.
The game saw Zack Littell against Dean Kremer.
Brandon Lowe got things started nice and early for the Rays as he hit a solo home run to get the team on the board in the first.
This Dawg just passed Carl Crawford on the Rays all-time home run list. pic.twitter.com/u7NlfbCqmP— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 17, 2023
It wasn’t until the fourth that the Orioles got one back with a single from Austin Hays that scored Ryan O’Hearn. Thing stayed tied until the bottom of the seventh when the Rays decided they didn’t feel like playing an extra-innings game today.
Tristan Gray hit his first MLB home run to break the tie, and then immediately after that Christian Bethancourt hit a home run of his own.
This was a fantastic couple of minutes in all of our lives. pic.twitter.com/XdJ0Zymv9I— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 17, 2023
Cash wasn’t going to take chances with the lead, bringing Pete Fairbanks in for the bottom of the eighth. It was a good idea, with Fairbanks getting two outs, but then he gave up a home run to Adley Rutschman. Fairbanks did get out of the inning with only the one run, but it would go into the ninth with a very close score.
In the top of the ninth Josh Lowe scored, but the O’s asked for a review and the call of safe was overturned. Hoping that one doesn’t come back to haunt. For what it’s worth at this point in the game Texas is going to lost their game against the Guardians no matter how things shake out, so the Rays will clinch regardless of the score, but it would be nice to win it.
Fairbanks was back out for the ninth. And once again with two outs things went wrong as Fairbanks allowed a single to Austin Hays, who was replaced by pinch-runner Jorge Mateo, then an Adam Frazier double scored Mateo to re-tie the game.
In the top of the tenth a pinch-hitting Harold Ramirez scored ghost runner Manuel Margot to re-take the lead once more. (update: at this point Texas has lost and the Rays have secured their postseason spot).
Armstrong was out of the pen for the Rays, hoping to double-secure the clinch with an actual win. Aaaaand with two outs a single up the middle by Rutschman scored ghost runner Hicks and the game was tied once again.
The Rays were scoreless in the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the inning Jake Diekman was next out of the pen. There were some general questions regarding what Adley Rutschman was doing on base as the ghost runner, but apparently there was a logical reason for this that I didn’t really pay much attention to the explanation for, but basically: it’s allowed. Rutschman scored on a sac fly, and it was quite possibly the lamest clinch day in recent history, but at least the Rays are postseason bound.
Final: Orioles 5, Rays 4