Backed into a corner due to several defensive mishaps, the Orioles appeared to be on their way to another avoidable defeat. Instead, the team rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth inning to reclaim the lead and pull out a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay.
Mark Trumbo led off the ninth with a single, and was replaced by pinch runner Jace Peterson. Danny Valencia followed with a single of his own to right-center field, and Peterson advanced to third without a throw. Joey Rickard came in to run for Valencia, and quickly stole second to give the Orioles two runners in scoring position with nobody out.
Trey Mancini stepped up and delivered a clutch hit for Baltimore. The left fielder laced a double just out of reach from a diving Mallex Smith in left field. The ball bounced on the warning track, and both pinch runners came around to score with ease.
Mychal Givens came in to shut the door for Baltimore in the bottom of the ninth. Willy Adames lined out to short on the first pitch that he saw, and Michael Perez popped out to right field for the first two outs. Givens got Smith to roll over on a ground ball to second base that should have ended the game, but Jonathan Villar booted the ball and Smith reached safely.
Naturally, Smith tested Caleb Joseph with a steal of second, and Joseph’s throw sailed over the bag. Smith advanced to third on the error, which was the orioles fifth (FIFTH!) of the night, to put the tying run 90 feet away. But Givens got Matt Duffy to line out to Villar, and the Orioles somehow came away with a victory.
Mike Wright earned the win in relief, Givens notched the save, and Baltimore snuck away with a victory in one of the sloppiest games its played in recent memory.
With one out in the top of the first, Tim Beckham lined a 2-1 fastball over the left field fence to provide Baltimore a one run lead. The blast, Beckham’s second in as many games, represented the best of Beckham. Perhaps the Rays, the team that drafted him first overall in 2008, were beginning to regret giving up Beckham at last year’s trade deadline. Then the shortstop picked up his glove.
Beckham committed multiple errors, and failed to make routine plays throughout the game that nearly ended up costing Baltimore the contest.
Adam Jones lined the first pitch he saw after Beckham’s solo shot into the stands to provide the Orioles a two-run lead, but the advantage quickly evaporated in the bottom of the first. Smith led off with a single for Tampa, and eventually stole second. Joseph’s throw flew over Beckham at the bag, and Smith advanced to third. Jake Bauers drove in Smith, and also attempted to steal second. This time, Joseph made a perfect throw, but Beckham inexplicably dropped the ball. Joey Wendle plated Bauers with a single to left, and the Orioles lead left as quickly as it appeared.
Mark Trumbo reclaimed the lead with a lead off homer in the fourth inning. Trumbo continued his strong second half going 2-4, and the outfielder/first baseman/DH may be gaining the attention of teams looking to pick up a bat before the end of the month.
Orioles starter Andrew Cashner pitched well, and the Orioles held the lead until the bottom of the seventh inning. Cashner plunked Carlos Gomez, who has now been hit by a pitch 18 times this season, with one out in the inning. Cashner induced a potential double play ball to third, but Beckham did not immediately cover second base. Renato Nunez eventually fired the ball to second, but Beckham somehow did not touch the bag, and both runners reached safely. Beckham was charged with an error for not stepping on the base.
Adames hit a deep ground ball to shortstop, but Beckham slipped before he threw to first, and Adames reached safely. Perez followed with a pop fly to shallow left field that Beckham chased down. But Gomez tagged, and Beckham’s throw home sailed well up the first base line. Suddenly, the game was tied. Cashner’s final line read seven innings, four hits, one earned run and a no decision.
The Rays took their only lead of the game in the eighth. After Duffy and Wendle singled, Gomez scored Duffy with a single to right field. Danny Valencia let the ball drop in right field, and fired a heads up throw to second that should have ended the inning, except Beckham was covering the bag. Beckham somehow missed the tag, and Gomez slid safely into second. Fortunately for the Orioles, Kevin Kiermaier lined out to end the inning.
The Orioles should have lost this game. Anytime a team commits five errors, the deserve to lose. The game further exposed the lack of efficiency on defense in Baltimore, and will bring greater attention to the fact that Tim Beckham cannot be trusted to play even at an average level at shortstop.
Unfortunately, these issues will not be fixed this season. The Orioles got away with one tonight in Tampa Bay, so we might as well try to enjoy the win.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Wednesday, August 8?
This poll is closed
Mark Trumbo (2-4, solo home run)
Trey Mancini (2-4, clutch 2-RBI double)
Andrew Cashner (7 innings, four hits, one earned run)
Tim Beckham (Lol, jk)