Countless Major League games are determined every season by how a team performs with two outs. Any team can put a few guys on the base paths, but how does it perform when its back is against the wall? The Orioles scored their first six runs with two outs, and used timely hitting and defense to secure an 8-3 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.
The first inning set the tone of how the game would shake out for both sides. Eric Sogard led off the contest with a double down the right field line, but Pedro Severino gunned down Sogard as he attempted to advance on a sacrifice bunt by Tommy Pham. Orioles starter Dylan Bundy induced a double-play ball from Austin Meadows, and Baltimore quickly stifled an early scoring opportunity.
Baltimore began the bottom of the first with two quick outs, and three more ground balls that could have served as the third. Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander and Renato Núñez all hit balls to the right side that would have been gobbled up with a different defensive alignment. Instead, all three resulted in singles and the Orioles took a one-run lead.
The O’s were down to their last out again in the third before Trey Mancini worked a bases-empty walk. Santander followed with a single to left field, and both runners came around to score on another clutch piece of hitting by Núñez. Núñez turned around a curve ball and placed it into the left-center field gap for a double, and later came around to score on a single by DJ Stewart. The Birds led by four.
The Rays found their way to the scoreboard in the fourth inning after a throwing error by Richie Martin provided an extra out. With one out and one on, Martin charged a ball and fired it well short of first base. The ball bounced past Mancini, and put runners on the corners with still the one out. Kevin Kiermaier singled to bring a runner home, but Bundy came through with another inning-ending double play to limit the damage. This time, Joey Wendle bounced a ball up the middle with the bases loaded to end the threat. The Orioles still led 4-1.
The Orioles halted the Rays momentum, you guessed it, with a little more two-out lightening. After a strikeout and a ground out, Jonathan Villar ripped his 20th home run 443 feet into the left field seats. The solo shot left his bat at 109 MPH, and thrusted Villar into the 20/20 club this season.
Rio Ruiz, who entered the game as an injury replacement for Hanser Alberto, followed with a double to right field, and Santander singled to give the O’s a 6-1 advantage.
Alberto left the game in the third inning after attempting to advance on a pitch in the dirt. The throw to second sailed high, and Sogard jumped to corral the ball above the bag. As Sogard landed and applied the tag, one foot kicked Alberto in the head before Sogard’s other leg came down on Alberto. To add insult to injury, Alberto was eventually ruled out at second.
Bundy ran into some trouble after issuing a leadoff walk in the fifth inning. Pham brought a run in with an RBI-double, and Ji-Man Choi trimmed the lead to three with a sacrifice fly. As Bundy continued to labor, the Orioles dugout became extremely frustrated with the strike zone. Orioles pitching coach Doug Brocail was ejected with two outs in the inning, but Bundy responded with getting Kiermaier to bounce out and end the inning.
The Orioles bullpen took it the rest of the way, with Miguel Castro, Paul Fry and Mychal Givens combining for four scoreless innings. Givens struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth, and Bundy picked up his sixth win of the season.
The Orioles added a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Stevie Wilkerson, and Santander capped the scoring at eight with a solo shot in the seventh. Santander finished an impressive 5-5 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Núñez led the charge with 3 RBIs in a 3-4 effort, and DJ Stewart finished 3-4 with a run batted in.
The Orioles won the final two games of the weekend to force a series split. Baltimore will have the day off tomorrow before playing two games in Washington and a weekend series in Kansas City. If the Orioles hit the way they did today with two-outs, there could be a few more victories ahead.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 25, 2019?
This poll is closed
Renato Núñez (3-4, 3 RBI, R)
Anthony Santander (5-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)
Jonathan Villar (Home run, joins 20/20 club)
Dylan Bundy (5 innings, 2 earned runs, a few dodged bullets)