The Baltimore Orioles defeated both the Tampa Bay Rays and the unusually cold April weather at Camden Yards on Wednesday afternoon. By good fortune the game was not an evening affair!
Both teams managed six hits, while the Orioles were able to squeeze out three runs to none for the Rays. The O’s managed to group their hits and walks just enough to eek out three scores on a day when the game-time temperature was 39 degrees, while the Rays’ hits and walks were spread out by Baltimore pitching and defense.
The swing inning was the 4th, where a diving catch by Nick Markakis and throw to second doubled off the runner for a critical double play. Manager Joe Madden took the slow trip to the field, while replays quickly demonstrated that Nick had indeed caught the ball above the ground.
In the bottom of the 4th, the Baltimore Orioles loaded the bases with none out on a leadoff walk to Nelson Cruz and singles by Chris Davis and Adam Jones. For Jones, who was still recovering from the sickness circulating around the Orioles’ clubhouse, the hit was a bunt single in front of Evan Longoria who was playing deep. Matt Wieters scored the first run on a long fly to center that would have been a slam on most any other warmer day. A J.J. Hardy groundout plated the second run.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Baltimore Orioles again loaded the bases on Rays starter Jake Odorizzi with two walks sandwiching a Markakis single. Jones got the third run plated on another infield hit with a swinging bunt. So Jones tallied two hits on balls that probably only went about 75 feet combined. It all led to Buck Showalter talking about the baseball gods in the postgame interview.
But there was nothing flakey about the Orioles pitching. Even with a high pitch count by starter Miguel Gonzalez, his placement was very good – living on the corners all day and being pinched a bit by the plate umpire. And again, as we’ve seen many times with Orioles pitchers, there are the multiple deep counts run up by hitters who foul off innumerable pitches. Even so, Gonzo was able to scatter three hits and three walks and keep the Rays off the board.
Zach Britton gave the Birds three scoreless innings of relief, pitching out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 7th inning. And after giving up a leadoff single in the 9th inning, Tommy Hunter closed out the game to record the save and the shutout.
The win brings the Orioles to a 7-7 record, while dropping the Rays to 7-8. The next four games will be a series in Boston that begins on Friday against the struggling Red Sox.