Baltimore Orioles: Late rally lifts Birds over Tampa

The Baltimore Orioles made their first visit to Port Charlotte this afternoon to take on the Tampa Rays. John Means got the start for the Birds, and with decent numbers at that. Means’ line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB. 5 K.

However in Means’ opinion that stat line is deceiving. He said after concluding his day of game work that his last outing was better:

I think I probably felt a little better last outing, actually. This outing is one of those where you see the box score, you see the strikeouts and you think it’s a good outing. I just didn’t really have as much feel for my curveball. I couldn’t really dump that in for a strike, but I still felt good, I still feel strong.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

I’d be careful if I were Means. There are potentially a couple of roster spots on the line, and he turned in a great stat line this afternoon. His “honesty” could be just the thing that plays him out of one of those slots if he isn’t careful!

The scoring in the game didn’t commence until after Means had exited the game. Tampa scored in the last of the fourth on a HBP, a walk with the bases loaded, and an RBI-groundout by Wong. Your typical Tampa ways of scoring against the Orioles. Both in the past and here in spring of 2019.

However the O’s fought back. Anthony Santander smacked a solo homer in the fifth, in a harbinger of what was to come for the O’s. Later in the inning Cedric Mullins would also smack a two-run homer, tying the game at three. Today’s game was very much about power for the Birds.

However two sac fly-RBI in the last of the fifth gave Tampa the lead back. Not only did they get the lead back, but they got a two-run lead back. Which obviously is harder to overcome from the Orioles’ perspective. But…

…the O’s were up to the challenge. The Birds opened up the eighth inning with a single and two walks to load the bases. That brought Yusniel Diaz to the plate, and he smacked a two-RBI double to give the Orioles a 7-5 lead. If the spring that Diaz is having is any indication, the Birds were right to include him in last year’s Machado trade. Diaz is hitting .409 with a homer – pretty good as far as spring stats go. The O’s would tack on two more in the ninth on a two-run homer by Mike Yastremski, and Tampa would score a run in garbage time (in the last of the ninth) on an errant throw on a steal attempt. Ultimately the Birds took this one, 9-6.

The Birds will head to Bradenton tomorrow to take on Pittsburgh. Mike Wright Jr. gets the start for the O’s, with Pittsburgh yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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