BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 12: Fans watch the eighth inning from the seats in the outfield during the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 12, 2011.
The Tampa Bay Rays came to Baltimore as a team fighting for a playoff spot. Fresh off a sweep of the Boston Red Sox, the Rays started tonight just 3.5 back in the wild card. The Orioles, on the other hand, are simply playing out the string, trying to avoid 100 losses. Was there ever any doubt which team would prevail?
Zach Britton got through the first two innings without much trouble, walking one in each inning. But he had a really tough third, throwing thirty-six pitches en route to giving up three runs on three hits and a walk. By the time third inning ended, Britton had walked three and thrown sixth-nine pitches, and the Orioles were in a 3-0 hole. He lasted two more innings, with one more run scoring on a sacrifice fly from Johnny Damon. His final line was 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K.
Britton was relieved by Jeremy Accardo, who is still not good at pitching. He gave up a run in 1.1 innings before being bailed out by Zach Phillips, who worked around some bad defense from Chris Davis for another good outing. Jason Berken and Chris Jakubauskas followed that with one scoreless inning each.
Even if the pitching had been good tonight, the offense didn't give the team a chance to win. They scored just two runs off of Jeff Niemann, who pitched 7.2 innings. Their first run came in the fifth inning. With one out, Mark Reynolds walked and Kyle Hudson singled, setting the table for Robert Andino. Andino doubled to knock in Reynolds, and with two on base and one out, the Orioles choked away the chance to score any more.
The second Orioles run was courtesy of Matt Wieters home run, hit in the sixth inning. His 18th of the year, it was a bomb to center. It landed in the O's bullpen, and though it didn't exactly get the Orioles back in the game, it was nice to see.
Unfortunately it was one of the only nice things to happen in tonight's game. After the home run, the O's had exactly one more base runner thanks to a walk from Nick Markakis in the eighth. Joel Peralta earned the save for the Rays, striking out the side in the ninth.