The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 in the opening game of their series. The Rays improve to 71-52 overall and move to 30-29 on the road. The Boston Red Sox are playing the San Francisco Giants on the West Coast and at worst the Rays will remain 1-game out of first place in the AL East.
The game was tedious in nearly each and every frame as the Orioles kept plugging the bases but were unable to deliver the knockout punch. Through the first 8 innings they had left 14 men on base and were just 2 for 14 runners in scoring position.
It was the first time in Rays franchise history that the pitching staff had given up 15 or more hits and only allowed 3 runs. The last time the Orioles had a game where they had 15 or more hits and scored 3 runs or less was on August 7, 2007.
There have been three games this season where a team has had 15 or more hits and scored 3 or fewer runs. On June 8th the Miami Marlins pushed across only 2 runs on 16 hits but walked away with a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets. On June 13th the Phillies needed 15 hits to score 3 runs in defeating the Minnesota Twins 3-2. On July 24th the San Francisco Giants were unable to capitalize on their 15 hits falling to the Cincinnati Reds 8-3.
David Price (7-5, 3.29 ERA) worked the first 5 innings allowing 2R/ER on 10 hits striking out 6 and walking 2. The Orioles kept plugging the bases but were unable to deliver the knockout blow stranding 10 base runners including 7 in scoring position. Since coming off the disabled list he had averaged a ridiculously low 11.6 pitches per inning and tonight he made 99 pitches in his 5 innings of work an average of 19.8 pitches per inning.
The Rays got an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a solo home run by Evan Longoria. For Longoria it was further evidence that he is out of his slump as it was his 11th extra base hit over his last 12 games (7 doubles, 4 HR).
The Rays extended their lead to 2-0 in the top of the second on a clutch 2-out RBI single by Kelly Johnson. The Orioles cut the lead in half in the bottom of the 2nd on a Danny Valencia RBI double and they tied the game on a Matt Wieters RBI double.
The Rays took a 4-2 lead in the top of the 4th inning on a 2-run home run by Matt Joyce.
David Price and the Rays bullpen were forced to work hard to protect the lead. In the 4th inning the Orioles put the first two runners on before Price retired Brian Roberts on a fly out and with runners on the corners struck out both Manny Machado and Chris Davis to end the threat.
The Orioles continued to apply the pressure by loading the bases in the bottom of the 5th with 2-outs but Price got Steve Pearce to ground into a fielders choice to end the inning.
After Jamey Wright worked a scoreless 6th inning Joel Peralta came in to work the 7th and was greeted by a solo home run off the bat of Matt Wieters to cut the Rays lead to 4-3. After retiring the next two batters Peralta allowed back to back singles to put runners on the corners and Jake McGee came in from the bullpen and retired Brian Roberts on a fielders choice to end the inning.
The Rays had an opportunity to extend their lead in the top half of the 8th inning loading the bases with nobody out against Francisco Rodriguez. Yunel Escobar sent a screaming line drive directly at Chris Davis who made the grab and threw Wil Myers out at 2nd base for the double play. Brian Matusz came in and retired pinch hitter Jason Bourgeois to end the inning.
McGee stayed on to work the 8th inning and once again the Orioles had an opportunity to deliver a big hit. With 1-out in the inning Chris Davis sent an opposite field fly ball that Jason Bourgeois tracked down but was unable to hold on to and Davis moved into 2nd base with a double. McGee buckled down and struck out both Adam Jones and Matt Wieters to end the inning.
The Rays caught a break when Casilla was erased on a caught stealing but Rodney walked Nick Markakis to put the tying run back on base.
Danny Valencia stepped to the plate having reached base all four of his previous plate appearances including a double, two singles, and a walk but Rodney struck him out for the 2nd out of the inning.
Nate McLouth came to the plate and Rodney fell behind 2-0 before retiring him on a ground out to Ben Zobrist to end the game as Rodney picked up his 28th save on the year.