Youthful exuberance beat out wily experience tonight, albeit with some bad luck on Tommy Milone’s side. The Orioles’ starter was able to keep the score close but was driven from the game in the sixth with a deficit, due in part to costly errors in the field and the long ball.
On this particular night, the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow out-pitched the Orioles’ well-traveled lefty Milone while setting a career high in strikeouts with 13. His previous career high was 11 K’s in six innings against the White Sox on April 10th of last year.
Baltimore’s Renato Nunez was responsible for scoring the first run of the game with two outs in the first. He got the bat head around quickly on 1-2 curveball, sending a streaking line drive down the left field line that just barely cleared the fence. 1-0, O’s.
Coming into the game, Tommy Milone had a streak of 21 consecutive innings without issuing a walk. That ended quickly, when University of Maryland alum Brandon Lowe earned a base on balls with two outs in the first. Lowe was stranded when Rays’ shortstop Willy Adames lined out to left, but things would get rockier for Milone in the following inning.
With O’s at the plate and two outs in the second, Ryan Mountcastle worked a walk of his own and was followed by a bloop single to center by Mason Williams. Mountcastle got all the way to third base after getting a good read on the ball and hustling, but Pat Valaika ended the inning with a ground ball out to third.
I’ve been holding back on this comparison for a while, but Mountcastle reminds me of Nolan Reimold in several ways - the batting stance, body type and the fact that he runs the bases like his hair is on fire. They might want to get a more snug fit for Mountcastle’s batting helmet too, because if he’s running the bases it’s either off his head or coming off.
In the Rays’ half of the second, first baseman Jose Martinez hit a grounder to Valaika, who made an errant throw from short that Nunez failed to glove at first. The O’s paid for that error almost immediately when the next batter, Hunter Renfroe, teed off on a two-run home run that landed deep in the left field seats. Manuel Margot made it back-to-back jacks by depositing a solo shot into the left field stands. 3-1, Rays.
Young left-fielder Ryan Mountcastle, appearing at designated hitter tonight for the first time in his Orioles’ career, earned his first ever run batted in with an opposite field single that scored Hanser Alberto. The O’s second baseman had reached on an infield single and advanced to third on a Chance Sisco single before coming around to score on Moutncastle’s hit.
On the pitching side for the O’s, Milone settled down over the next couple innings, retiring the Rays in order in the third, striking out the side in the fourth, and working around an infield single in the fifth.
But after setting down the first batter of the sixth on a line out, Milone induced a ground ball on which Valaika committed his second error of the game. Nunez was pulled off the bag at first by a throw that sailed high and to his left. That was the end of the line for Milone, with his night ending on pitch no. 94.
Over the course of Milone’s start, four runners found their way on base by some means other than a hit, including one free pass, one hit by a pitch, and two that reached base via error. Even though Milone gave up four total runs over 5.1 innings, only two of those runs were earned.
One of those unearned runs scored in the sixth when Travis Lakins allowed a walk, single and sacrifice fly after inheriting a runner from Milone. 4-2, Rays. That wound up being the final run scored in the game.
The Orioles threatened in the ninth with a leadoff single by Alberto, who moved up to second on a groundout by pinch-hitter Ramon Urias. Mountcastle came to the plate with the chance to play hero but failed to put the ball in play, instead striking out on the seventh pitch of the at-bat. The young Oriole finished the night 1-for-3 with an RBI single, a walk and two strikeouts.
Mason Williams then grounded out to strand Alberto at second and end the game.
Tyler Glasnow defeated the O’s by throwing 97 pitches over seven innings, allowing five hits, two runs, one walk, 13 strikeouts and one home run. He was relieved by Jalen Beeks, who pitched 1.1 innings but exited in the ninth with an apparent injury, and Edgar Garcia, who pitched 0.2 innings and earned the save.
Tommy Milone took the tough luck loss for the O’s, which was his fourth of the year, after allowing four runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings on four hits, one walk, six strikeouts and two home runs.