Baltimore Orioles: In a staring contest, the other guy blinked first

The Baltimore Orioles had just about everything possible thrown at them this afternoon – and into this evening. For starters, Spencer Watkins got the start and pitched no part of an inning, as he was hit in the leg by a ground ball. He exited the game, and luckily X-Rays were negative. Watkins’ line: 0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K.

Watkins allowed a few base runners, including Ji-Man Choi, who smacked an RBI-single. Watkins was replaced by Joey Krehbiel, who gave up a three-run homer to Paredes. And before the crowd settled in the Birds trailed 4-0, and they had lost their starting pitcher to injury.

But this team doesn’t quit. A lot of people would look at that first inning and proclaim the game over. Maybe they’d be right. But the Birds had that look of determination on their faces today. Ramon Urias’ RBI-single and Rougned Odor’s RBI-double in the third cut the lead to 4-2. One inning later stamped extended their lead to 5-2 on Kiermaier’s RBI-single, but Tampa was on notice that the O’s weren’t going away today.

And that trend continued. Ryan Mountcastle smacked a solo homer in the fifth to bring the O’s to within two at 5-3. The seventh brought an additional Tampa run, but the O’s bounced right back in the bottom of the inning with Robinson Chirinos reaching on an error, scoring the Birds’ fourth run. For what it’s worth, the Oriole bullpen only gave up two runs after the first inning. That kept the O’s in the game as much as anything else.

As the ninth inning rolled around with the O’s trailing 6-4, the skies darkened. Debris started blowing around the field, as a storm moved in. It was almost like a scene out of THE NATURAL. From Tampa’s perspective, all they had to do was record three outs before the rain set in, and they would win the game and the series.

But by this point they were already deep into a staring contest with the Orioles. With two outs and two runners in scoring position, Austin Hays smacked a two-RBI double which tied the game at six. And like clockwork, the rains came. And we had a 51 minute rain delay.

Neither team scored in the tenth, but the O’s put the winning run at third in the eleventh in the form of Adley Rutschman. That brought Rougned Odor to the plate, and he dribbled a bouncing ball down the first base line…and it made it’s way by the bag, scoring Rutschman. (It was scored as a fielder’s choice and an E3.) And it gave the Orioles a walk off 7-6 victory.

It also ensured that the O’s won the weekend series with Tampa. They went from having lost 15 straight to that team, to taking two-of-three over the weekend. And they did it in a manner straight out of Hollywood. The dramatic tying of the game in the ninth, the foreboding clouds, the rain, etc. They found themselves in a staring contest with Tampa, as I said above. And Tampa blinked first.

The O’s now head out on the road and will open a three-game set tomorrow night against New York at Yankee Stadium. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Gerrit Cole. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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