A week from now, the two teams will play to start the regular season. One of them will win that game. Hopefully it will be the Orioles. For today, they'll have to settle for the tie in a game that doesn't count. A four-run third inning helped propel the O's to a lead that held for much of the game, though Wesley Wright surrendered three runs in the ninth to send the game to an extra inning.
The Orioles lineup looked sort of like a regular lineup, although there probably won't be very many games that see first baseman Ryan Flaherty on the lineup card. Players like Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, and Chris Davis weren't on the trip. Most of those who did play were either starters or players with a strong chance of being reserves. So when that lineup ends up with 13 hits in a game started by Rays rotation candidate Matt Andriese, we'll take it.
In the four-run third, the O's got the party started with a single off the bat of Delmon Young. Travis Snider followed with a walk and Jonathan Schoop drove in Young with a double all before any outs were recorded. Ryans Flaherty and Lavarnway followed with an RBI groundout and a strikeout, respectively, before a Rays error allowed another run to score. Alejandro De Aza plated a fourth run with an RBI triple.
Andriese pitched three innings for the Rays, giving up eight hits and two walks to O's batters. He surrendered five runs, though only three were earned due to the John Jaso error. Of course, three runs in three innings is not so good either.
Because it was so close to the regular season, the O's didn't employ one of their usual starters against a division opponent. Zach Davies, likely headed for Norfolk's rotation, got the start for the O's. He pitched 3.1 innings before being relieved, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out four. The lone run that Davies allowed came on a home run hit in the fourth inning by Evan Longoria.
Seven of the nine O's starters ended up with a base hit. That was everyone except for Snider and Lavarnway. Young and De Aza both had multi-hit games. De Aza drove in two of the Orioles' six runs. I think he wants to get some playing time when the season starts, you guys.
Rule 5 pick Logan Verrett pitched the fifth and sixth innings for the O's. Verrett gave up four hits and a walk in that time, with two runs crossing the plate. Only one was earned; a runner advanced on a play due to a Nolan Reimold bobble in left field and that led to the unearned run.
The score held there, a 6-3 lead for the O's, until the ninth inning, when Wright coughed up the Orioles' lead. Though Wright struck out three in the inning, he also allowed a walk and a single with one out, then gave up a three-run home run to Joey Butler. Wright walked the next batter, Jake Elmore, who stole second to put himself in scoring position, but Wright struck out Joey Rickard to end the inning.
The tenth inning was something of an adventure. The Orioles had a batter called out for being out of the basepaths while running to first base. That dead ball deprived them of a chance to get a runner to third base. In the bottom of the tenth, pitched by Jean Escat, the Rays ended up with men on second and third base with only one out.
If the game had been blown in the tenth by Escat, that wouldn't have augured much for the regular season, but Escat nonetheless acquitted himself well in the end, getting a strikeout for the second out and a grounder to second to close out the game with the tie.
Next up for the Orioles will be another game against the Rays tomorrow. That will be a split squad of Rays in Sarasota. The game will not be on television or radio at all, not even if you subscribe to anything. Tie game one day, game with no broadcast whatsoever the next. Spring training is awesome. At least it's almost over and real baseball is only a week away.