Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's pitching matchup featured Bud Norris versus Rays lefty Cesar Ramos. The Orioles scored their first run when Adam Jones hit a dead center bomb in the 2nd inning. If some is good, more is better. Jones hit another dead center solo bomb in the 4th to give the O's a 2-0 lead. The Rays got on the board in the 5th with a David DeJesus solo home run and were able to tie it up in the 6th on an RBI single by Sean Rodriguez. Jonathan Schoop came up with a runner on and two outs in the 7th and gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead with one clutch swing of the bat.
Bud Norris pitched a decent game and was mostly able to hold the patient Rays bats at bay despite allowing four walks. He started out the 1st on an impressive note, striking out Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce. After walking James Loney in the 2nd, Norris induced a key double play to erase the runner from first. Bud cruised through the next two innings before David DeJesus touched him up for a solo homer in the 5th. After walking Ryan Hanigan, Norris was able to work out of the 5th without further damage, striking out Desmond Jennings to end the inning. Bud fell short of a quality start when he was removed with two outs in the 6th inning with runners on first and second.
Final Line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, ND
Brian Matusz was brought on to face one hitter in the 6th and failed, allowing an RBI single to Sean Rodriguez.
Ryan Webb got the Orioles out of the 6th with a Yunel Escobar groundout. He stayed on for the 7th and retired the side in order via the groundout.
Zach Britton pitched the 8th inning, retiring the side in order highlighted by a swinging strike three to Evan Longoria.
Tommy Hunter entered the 9th and once again, was up to his usual antics. He allowed three hits and a run to score but worked out of the jam to notch the save.
Adam Jones accounted for half of the Oriole offense with his two home runs. Other than Jones, Cesar Ramos did a nice job of working ahead in the count and changing speeds effectively to keep the Orioles bats in check over his 5.2 innings of work. The only other hit he allowed to an Oriole batter was a leadoff single by Nick Markakis in the 1st.
Jonathan Schoop had just one hit but it proved to be the biggest in the game as his two-run homer gave the Orioles a lead they would not relinquish. Steve Pearce singled prior to Schoop's at bat in the 7th and accounted for the third Oriole run.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
Jonathan Schoop made several nice plays in the field at second, showing off impressive range for someone his size.
An Adam Jones throwing error in the 6th allowed Wil Myers to reach third on the RBI single by Rodriguez.
Key Moments In The Game
With the game tied, a runner on first, and a quick 0-2 count on Jonathan Schoop, Rays reliever Brandon Gomes made a crucial mistake with a high and inside fastball which Schoop deposited a missile of a home run with to give the Orioles the lead.
Once again, "Don Stanhouse" made for uncomfortable 9th, allowing three hits and a run to score, before coming up with two key line outs to shortstop and pitcher to secure the win.
Other Notes/ Musings
Hunter's antics in the 9th are going to cost the Orioles sooner or later, I hate to say it. One has to wonder if Zach Britton is the more ideal closer option given the way he has domianted so far with his power sinker.
Caleb Joseph handled himself fine behind the plate tonight in his MLB debut but went 0-for-3 at the plate. We may see him in the lineup again tomorrow with another lefty on the mound.
Orioles go for the road sweep tomorrow! Hopefully, Ubaldo Jimenez can build off his last start, a gem in Minnesota. He'll need to with David Price as the opposing pitcher for the Rays.
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