The Baltimore Orioles didn’t defeat the Tampa Rays this evening at Tropicana Field. I mean…they did, but they didn’t. Until they did again. If you’re confused, it was that type of game. And the unsung hero was Mike Wright.
Andrew Cashner turned in yet another quality start for the Orioles, but ended up with a no decision. Cashner’s line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (1 earned), 1 BB, 2 K. Overall, the defense failed Orioles’ pitching this evening. Yet as a team, the Orioles overcame their own shoddy defense.
The O’s led the game off with back-to-back home runs on back-to-back pitches by Tim Beckham and Adam Jones. However Tampa came right back and tied it at two in the last of the first on RBI-singles by Bauer and Wendle. Sandwiched between those was a throwing error, the first of five committed by the Orioles in the game. However the O’s got the lead back in the fourth on a solo homer by Mark Trumbo.
As is par for the course for them, Tampa thought small while the Orioles had eyeballs the size of quarters at the plate. But the Birds left two runners on base in the seventh, only to watch Tampa catch just about every break in the book in the bottom of the inning. Beckham committed an error by slipping on the infield dirt with a runner on and one out – a play that would have had the Orioles out of the inning had the double-play been turned. But you can never assume the double-play; so at worst, it should have been a runner on first with two outs.
Perez’s subsequent sac fly-RBI tied the game back up at three. One inning later, Gomez’s RBI-double (a softly-hit ball, I might add) gave Tampa a 4-3 lead. The speedy Gomez simply got around first base expediently, and was able to slide in safely at second. Needless to say, given the fact that it was late in the game, that felt like a death blow for the Birds in this game…
…that is, until it wasn’t. First off, Tampa had a shot at making that into a big inning. However Mike Wright shut them down to close out the inning, which as I said above made him one of the unsung hero’s of this game. He did give up a run, however Tampa’s runs can be so fluky that you can almost look past that. He got the Orioles out of the inning and kept the game at a one-run margin.
The Birds put two runners in scoring position with nobody down in the top of the ninth. Trey Mancini came to the plate, and proved to be clutch. His two-RBI double gave the Birds a 5-4 lead. The O’s did make it interesting in the top of the ninth. Through errors they allowed the go-ahead run to get on base, but they were able to record the final out and close out a 5-4 win.
Make no mistake that Wright’s effort in the eighth saved the game for the Orioles. Or won it for them – depending on how you look at it. Most game stories are going to talk about Mancini among others – along with Cashner. But make no mistake that Mike Wright’s effort shouldn’t go unnoticed.
The series at Tropicana Field concludes tomorrow night. David Hess gets the start for the Orioles, and Tampa is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.