The Baltimore Orioles asked Tyler Wells to be their stopper tonight. Not in the usual sense, however. This all in the context of having lost 15 straight games to Tampa. Wells made one bad pitch in his outing. Wells’ line: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
The one bad pitch Wells made was to Zunino in the fifth inning. It resulted in a three-run homer, giving Tampa a 3-0 lead. For what it’s worth, it’s the second consecutive series in which an opponent had hit the foul pole at Camden Yards.
The Birds did fight back, however. Tyler Nevin scored on a Wild Pitch in the last of the seventh. Robinson Chirinos would reach on an error later in the inning, scoring Ramon Urias. Trey Mancini would add a run-scoring single, tying the game at four.
The O’s always fight back. And that’s a great aspect of this team. There’s no doubt that it means a lot. However even in fighting back, it often means nothing unless you can finish the job.
The game went to extra innings, and Tampa of course started the tenth with a runner on second base, per MLB rules. And in the most Tampa Rays manner possible, they burned the O’s. Phillips smacked a very soft bloop RBI-double to right field. It shouldn’t have been a double; but it was hit so softly that he was able to make it to second base.
Phillips would later score on Diaz’s RBI-single. But again, the Orioles fought back. They loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of that tenth inning, and Anthony Santander’s two-RBI single tied the game.
Funny thing about extra innings though; it isn’t sudden death (unless the home team takes the lead). So we played on, as the teams swapped RBI-singles in the 11th – off the bat of Austin Hays for the O’s. And the 12th yielded no runs, as the game remained in a 6-6 tie.
I tell people that (in my opinion) when baseball games go past the 12th inning they enter the “twilight zone.” weird things are capable of occurring. Luckily nothing overly weird happened last night at Camden Yards. Except Rougned Odor smacking a walk off two-run homer to give the O’s an 8-6 victory over Tampa.
And maybe that’s weird enough, as Tampa had won 15 straight games against the Orioles. So losing to them had to feel strange; especially in such dramatic fashion. But sometimes you need to enter the Twilight Zone in order to win the race. The Orioles did that last night.
The series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Kyle Bradish gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jeffrey Springs. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.