Despite waiting out a delay of roughly one and a half hours, the Orioles and Phillies played in a steady rain that fell throughout the early innings and lingered into the middle of the game. The sparse crowd of fans in the stands looked pretty miserable at the beginning, many of them covered in ponchos or clutching umbrellas in an attempt to stay dry.
On the field, right-hander Zach Eflin got off to a fast start for the Phils. He needed only 12 pitches to set down the Orioles in the first on a fly out and a pair of strikeouts. He flashed some serious heat too, striking out Manny Machado on a 96 mph fastball.
Not to be outdone, Alex Cobb retired the Phillies in order on ten pitches in the bottom half of the inning.
But the zeros didn’t last long. Mark Trumbo took the first pitch he saw in the second inning, a 94 mph fastball, and launched it deep into the seats in center field. 1-0, Orioles. Trumbo has rediscovered his home run swing recently. He’s hit six home runs in his last 46 at-bats before tonight, which is good for a .652 slugging percentage over that time span.
Eflin was striking out Orioles hitters early and often. After registering two more strikeouts in the second, he had four total through the first two innings. In the third, he stranded Chance Sisco at second base after a leadoff double by inducing three straight groundouts.
After retiring the first six Phillies hitters in a row, Cobb allowed a couple of runs in the third. With two outs and runners on first and second, Rhys Hoskins smacked a double off the wall in left field that Trey Mancini failed to corral, scoring two runs. 2-1, Phillies.
Off the bat, it looked like Hoskins’ double had a chance to leave the park. Mancini tracked it as he raced backwards and turned around to play the ball off the wall, but it bounced past him, leaving Adam Jones to clean up the play.
But the O’s got a run right back in the very next inning when Machado scored after a bloop single to right by Trumbo and an error by outfielder Nick Williams. Tie game, 2-2. But not for long.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Phillies would retake the lead on a walk to Nick Williams and a run-scoring triple by Andrew Knapp. 3-2, Phillies. But Alex Cobb retired the next eight Phillies in a row after Knapp’s hit, including a five pitch sixth inning.
There was a rare sight in the top of the fifth — a base hit by an Orioles pitcher. Alex Cobb lined a single into center field with one out, but he was left on base after Tim Beckham and Jones were retired in order.
In spite of the dreary weather, the first part of the game had a crisp pace, as though the two starting pitchers were trying to make up for time lost during the rain delay. And although both teams traded the lead frequently early on, it actually turned out to be a real pitcher’s duel at Citizens Bank Park.
Cobb had a quality start, but the Phillies loaded the bases in the seventh inning with two outs and chased him from the game. Left-hander Paul Fry came in and promptly got a ground ball to first to end the threat. Cobb’s final pitching line was 6.2 innings, four hits, three runs, three walks, one hit by pitch and five strikeouts.
Tommy Hunter came on to replace Eflin in the top of the eighth for the Phils. Eflin’s final pitching line was seven innings, five hits, two runs, zero walks and six strikeouts — just a bit better than Cobb.
The Orioles had one of their best scoring chances of the night in the eighth when they had the bases loaded and two outs. Beckham started things off with a one out single to center. After Jones lined out, Beckham advanced to second and then third on wild pitches by reliever Seranthony Dominguez, who then walked Machado and Trumbo back-to-back.
Chris Davis came to the plate with the bases juiced and laced a ground ball to the opposite field. But the Phillies got a defensive play that saved the game. Just when the ball looked like it would get out of the infield, third baseman Maikel Franco dove to his right, snared it and fired to first from one knee to nab Davis. The Orioles even challenged the call at first, but to no avail. It was that kind of night.
In the ninth, Jonathan Schoop reached second base with one out on an infield single and a throwing error by second baseman Cesar Hernandez. Sisco had a chance to tie the game for the O’s, but he struck out on a 98 mph fastball. Jace Peterson pinch hit for pitcher Ryan Meisinger and he too struck out on a 98 mph fastball.
On the night, the Orioles were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and they left seven men on base. The O’s actually outhit the Phillies, 7 to 5, and had fewer errors, 2 to 1, but they still lost by one run.
The Orioles will send Yefry Ramirez to the mound for tomorrow afternoon’s 4:05 PM series finale against Aaron Nola and the Phillies.