In his pre-game comments to the beat reporters, Buck Showalter talked about trying to mix things up, hence a lineup with three catchers spread across the field in various capacities and Manny Machado making his first major league start at shortstop. O's starter Wei-Yin Chen was also looking to flip the script. While Chen has far and away been the best starter for the O's this year, he's had his troubles against the Rays and would have little margin for error against Chris Archer, who's enjoying a breakout campaign. To continue a theme, Archer has had his own historical troubles with the O's.
Archer's command didn't look to be terribly sharp in the early going. Manny took him deep to start the bottom of the first, but Kevin Kiermaier made a home run robbing grab. It's tempting to say that that play tells you pretty much all you need to know about this game (series/week/month...what have you), but...yeah. Archer would go on to walk three, the Orioles were hitting him hard, but, as has been the case all too often this season, they failed to capitalize. Would it come back to haunt them? A shiny nickel for you if you answered yes.
In the top of the 4th, Chen allowed a two out single and then a two run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera to make for a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead. The O's threatened their own rally in the bottom of the inning as Steve Clevenger reached on a bungled fly ball by Joey Butler, Caleb Joseph walked and Machado legged out an infield single, but Gerardo Parra struck out with the bases loaded. The misery continued for Chen who allowed a run on a double play followed by a solo shot from Evan Longoria, the 21st solo homer of the year allowed by Chen. Brach came on in relief shortly thereafter, while Chris Archer would survive the bottom half of the inning as he was pushing 100 pitches.
Matt Andriese took the hill for the Rays in the bottom of the seventh and allowed the O's the high end of their summer 0-3 run nightly quota. Particularly encouraging was Adam Jones working a count and punching a run scoring single and Steve Clevenger actually driving in multiple runs with two outs and the bases loaded. These were things that happened, but the Orioles remained in a 6-3 hole. Unfortunately, after failing to challenge Alex Colome and Brad Boxberger, that's how things would end.
If there are positives to be taken away here, it was encouraging to see Manny Machado credibly field his position in contrast to last week's disaster and to see young Jason Garcia notch another scoreless inning. Since being recalled, the only runs Garcia has allowed were in mop duty during the 15-2 fiasco versus Minnesota.
The Orioles ended August 11-18 leaving little hope for a September surge.