Matt Harvey found out the hard way tonight what the Baltimore Orioles and Orioles fans have known for some time. This in terms of how Tampa wins games on broken bat and softly hit singles. Of the first nine hits Tampa had, only three were solidly hit and squared up. Harvey’s line: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 1 K.
Now you don’t lose 13-6 and blame softly hit balls. However Tampa set the tone for the game in the second inning, putting six runs on the board. The box score says that those runs came on homers. So again you can’t truly blame a couple of broken bat singles. But those homers were three-run homers due to softly hit balls and broken bat singles.
After Tampa ran it to 8-0 in the third with a two-run homer by Zunino, the Birds got on the board in the last of the third on an RBI-single by Austin Hays. So at least they weren’t about to totally roll over. Not that anyone expected that they would.
Before the game the Orioles had promoted Stevie Wilkerson back to the big league club, DFAing Rio Ruiz. And Wilkerson produced immediately, with an RBI-single in the fourth. The O’s would also get a run on a force out by Austin Hays in that inning, as well as a man RBI-single by Trey Mancini.
However Tampa wasn’t having any comeback. They’d get three insurance runs before the end of the game, including a second two-run homer by Zunino. DJ Stewart and Pat Valaika would add garbage time RBI-singles in the last of the ninth, and the O’s dropped game one of the series, 13-6.
Tampa finds ways to get on base. Where as the Orioles are hitting the ball hard and those balls are finding gloves, Tampa flat out doesn’t care. A softly hit base hit counts the same as one hit square. And it’s true.
Once they get guys on base, they’re good at getting them in. Usually by way of homers. And that’s what we saw tonight.