The Baltimore Orioles managed to get something positive out of their weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays, winning the third game 10-7 after losing the previous two games.
The offense finally came alive after being stymied by stingy Rays pitching on Friday and Saturday, only able to score 2 runs in both games combined. The onslaught started early, as doubles by J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones plated two runs before O’s starter Chris Tillman even took the mound. In the second inning, it continued, as a sacrifice fly by Alexi Casilla scored Danny Valencia from third. Then, two more doubles, one each by league-leader Manny Machado and Hardy drove in Steve Pearce and then Machado to make the score 5-0. The Rays got one run back in the bottom of the 2nd on a Desmond Jennings infield single, but it would not phase the Birds much, as a Casilla single with the bases loaded in the 3rd would make the score 7-1, and a subsequent sac-fly from Nick Markakis would tack on one more run before the inning was over. A solo shot from Jones in the 4th, his 12th of the season, and a double/RBI from Markakis in the 7th would round out the Orioles offense for the day.
Rays starter Matt Moore had himself a particularly rough outing, finding himself responsible for 9 of the O’s 10 runs (8 earned) and only lasting 5 innings, seeing his ERA jump drastically from 2.95 to 3.78 in the process. He dropped to 8-2 on the season. Tillman, on the other hand, pitched well, going 6 strong innings while allowing only 2 earned runs (3 total) on 4 hits. His ERA currently sits at a respectable 3.89, the lowest of the entire O’s beleaguered rotation, and he improved his record to 6-2.
The Rays almost mounted a comeback, getting homers from Ben Zobrist and Sam Fuld in the 4th and 8th, respectively. Kelly Johnson, Luke Scott, and Jose Lobaton also had late RBIs for Tampa, Lobaton’s coming on a single in the 9th inning that brought home Fuld, and cut the O’s once insurmountable lead to 3. It came off of Jim Johnson, who replaced Tommy Hunter after Hunter struggled and allowed the potential tying run to come to the plate. Johnson would recover, however, and got Kelly Johnson to pop up to Hardy at shortstop for the game’s final out. The closer was awarded with his 21st save of the year.
The Orioles will try to keep up their offensive attack when they take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Monday night, back at the comfy confines of Camden Yards. This is an important stretch for Baltimore, as after their series against a thus-far disappointing Angels team, they will stay at home for a critical four-game set against the AL-East leading Boston Red Sox.
Freddy Garcia (2-3), who got roughed up in his last start, is expected to take the hill tonight for Baltimore against Angels’ ace Jered Weaver (1-1) in his third start since April 7th, when a rocket off the bat of Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland fractured his left elbow. The game is expected to start at 7:10 ET, barring any inclement weather.