Tonight's game was over pretty much as soon as it started. Miguel Gonzalez, simply put, was a disaster. He faced nineteen batters in just 2 ⅔ innings pitched, giving up seven runs before giving way to the relief corps, which only provided a bit of relief. Although it's not like the offense helped out, scoring just one run against Rays starter David Price.
The tone for the evening was set with the very first pitch of the ball game. Desmond Jennings put it over the left field wall for a home run, and that was just the beginning of the what was the most absurd half-inning I've witnessed in ages.
The second batter of the game, B.J. Upton, hit a ground ball to third base that Wilson Betemit gloved, but he couldn't make the play. The play was ridiculously scored a single, but Gonzalez bounced back with two outs and looked like he might get out of it.
He did not. Instead he walked Jeff Keppinger, then induced a ground ball to second base. Hooray, we're saved! Nope. The ball went right under Omar Quintanilla's glove! Isn't he supposed to be good at defense? This was somehow not called an error but a single, with the explanation on MLB Gameday: "Carlos Pena singles on a sharp ground ball to Nick Markakis, deflected by second baseman Omar Quintanilla." I mean, WHAT? Upton scored on the "hit."
Next up to the plate was Ryan (not Brian) Roberts, and Gonzalez hit him to load the bases. Ok, Gonzo, that's ok! Just get this last out! Or...hit Jose Lobatan to knock in the game's third run of the inning. The ninth batter in the Rays lineup, Elliot Johnson, piled on with a single to left field that knocked in two more runs. Thankfully as the throw came home, Johnson wandered too far around first base and Taylor Teagarden was able to gun him down for the third out.
In the bottom of the first inning, Markakis and J.J. Hardy tried to keep things interested as back-to-back singles, with a wild pitch from David Price in between, led to a run. But Adam Jones hit into a double play and Matt Wieters struck out to end the inning, and that was all she wrote for the Orioles offense tonight. Price went on to pitch six more innings without allowing another run, scattering a few singles but never letting the O's back into the game. He struck out ten Orioles without allowing a walk.
Gonzalez pitched a 1-2-3 second inning, but immediately found himself in trouble in the third. After a leadoff single to Matt Joyce, Gonzo again got two outs but couldn't close the door. Roberts homered to make the score 7-1, and Gonzalez lost all control. Lobatan singled and then Gonzalez walked Johnson and hit Jennings, loading the bases. Buck Showalter (and the rest of us) and seen enough, and the second he stepped out of the dugout to pull Gonzalez the place erupted in cheers. That's gotta be bad for your emotional state, huh?
Matt Lindstrom replaced Gonzalez and got a fly out to end the inning. Lindstrom walked a batter in the fourth inning but faced just three batters thanks to a double play, but he walked the first two batters in the fifth ahead of Lobaton, who picked that exact moment to hit his first major-league homer. Lindstrom retired the next three batters to end the inning, and that was all we'd see of him, thank goodness.
Kevin Gregg, Luis Ayala, Troy Patton, and Pedro Strop pitched the final four (thankfully scoreless) innings for the O's, while J.P. Howell and Burke Badenhop closed things out for the Rays.
The loss clinches a losing series for the Orioles and gives the teams matching 51-47 records. The O's will try to avoid the sweep and third place tomorrow afternoon.