I’ve covered the Baltimore Orioles since 2009, and this is the first time that I’ve had the opportunity to reference one of my favorite songs, I walk the line, by the great Man in Black himself (Johnny Cash). On paper, the Orioles are a much better team than Tampa. Yet Tampa gave the Birds about all they can handle. And they almost ended up handing the Orioles their first series defeat of the season. But the home team bats last.
Dylan Bundy gave the O’s yet another quality start. However in doing so, he also had his struggles. Yet he found a way to be effective even when he didn’t have his best stuff at his disposal. That shows a lot of maturity, and that’s what all of the great pitchers are always able to to do. Bundy’s line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
The O’s took a 1-0 lead on Ryan Flaherty‘s RBI-single in the second. However by the time the inning ended, the Orioles held a 3-0 lead on one of the most bizzare plays you’ll ever see. Seth Smith knocked an RBI-single that scored Flaherty – so there’s one run. However Smith himself was able to come around to score after Tampa committed two throwing errors on the play.
Needless to say, it was a totally botched play on the part of the Tampa defense. I would argue that it shouldn’t be an RBI because I don’t think Flaherty would have scored if not for the first error. But then again what do I know? – I’m just here to report the news!
Bundy was victim of two solo homers off the bat of Tampa’s Beckham, which brought them to within 3-2. They say that solo home runs don’t hurt you, but again keep in mind that these are the Tampa Rays. Piecemealing runs together one-by-one is their speciality. So that’s a fine way to do things in their book.
Tampa loaded the bases in the eighth, however O’Day only allowed one run as Miller grounded into a force out. But that did tie the game at three, and we played on. And that’s why a team like Tampa can be dangerous. Yes they only score one run here and there, but if they do it enough they work their way back into the game.
And for a short while in the eleventh, it looked like they were going to take the game and the series. Tampa’s Sucre sent a soft broken-bat fly ball the opposite way into right field for a base hit, which scored the go-ahead run. Of course he sent the ball the opposite way and it was a softly-hit ball, because Tampa does everything non-traditionally it seems. But either way it gave them a 4-3 lead in what appeared to be the climaxing moment of the game.
But as ESPN’s Lee Corso would say, not so fast! Before we knew it, Tampa’s closer was struggling in the last of the eleventh, and the O’s suddenly had men on base. Schoop’s sac fly-RBI tied the game at four, erasing Tampa’s vision of winning the game cleanly. Later in the inning Seth Smith strode to the plate again with the bases loaded…
…and on four consecutive pitches, he walked. That forced in the winning run, as the Orioles walked the line to a victory in the game and in the series. Yes folks, the Cash reference is a bit cheesey. But hey, it’s certainly appropriate for once!
This was a big win for the Orioles, as they kept their series victory streak alive. However Tampa wasn’t giving up, and they always put pressure on you. They can make even routine infield ground balls into close plays simply because their hitters hustle out of the box and down the line. But the O’s weren’t giving up either. While Tampa’s pitching decided to peter out at the last minute, the Orioles recognized that, worked the counts, and took advantage. They now head into an off day before heading to NY tomorrow night.