Jake Arrieta threw 7 scoreless innings, and Nick Markakis hit a Grand Slam as the Baltimore Orioles won their 4th consecutive game, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 7-0. The Orioles pull back to within a game of .500 at 30-31. With the loss, Tampa Bays falls to 33-30.
1) Wieters showed the quick release in the 1st, and Hardy made a nice play to recover the ball and make a tag.
2) Hardy, again batting leadoff, again gave the O's the early lead with his homer in the 1st. Hardy now has 4 homers in the Month, and his OPS is solidly over .800. In the 2nd, Hardy worked Hellickson for a walk to load the bases. In the 4th, he walked again. Hardy reached base for a 4th time when he was hit in the 6th. In the 8th, he singled reaching base for the 5th time. Hello leadoff hitter!
3) Reynolds got the bat head out in-front agains the Hellickson change-up in the 2nd, doubling into left. This advanced Scott to 3rd with none out to start the inning.
4) I was on 3 different Radio shows this week, and each time was asked about Markakis' struggles. Each time I answered with my honest opinion, that his slump has been the biggest negative on the year. I've also said what I think is obvious - he is too good to hold down forever. I've seen him at the park taking early batting practice. Paul has seen Markakis working in the video room after games. Seeing Markakis hit that 2nd inning Grand Slam, and ending that string of 88 ab's without an extra-bases hits was great to see. To me, the core the O's are building around is Markakis, Jones, Wieters, Matusz, Britton, and Arrieta. Markakis is the elder-statesman of that group, and the one that has received the contract extension. He absolutely needs to lead this team. Let's all hope the Slam tonight is the start of a prolonged hot streak for #21.
4a) Markakis would double in two more runs in the 8th with a drive in to left-center.
5) Arrieta had a nice outing. Struck out the side in the 3rd, got Longoria to hit into a double play to end the 4th. Held the Rays hitless throug the first five innings. After the two lead runners reached in the 6th, Arrieta came back to get the batter he really needed to retire (Brignac) to stymie the Tampa comeback attempt.
5a) Arrieta's final line was 7 innings, 2 hits, 0 er, 3 bb's, 4 k's.
6) Andino slammed a double to CF in the 4th. In the 6th, Tampa had two runners on with 1 out with Damon at the plate. Damon hit a chopper that went off Arrieta's glove, Andino was able to make the adjustment and get the deflection, quickly flipping to Hardy for the force - and who was able to turn the double play. Really spectacular reactions from Andino there. In the 7th, Andino dove towards 1st to knock down a ball and get the out.
7) Pie lined a single in the 6th. This gets mentioned because in his prior at-bat, he fouled a ball off his leg which appeared to hamper Pie as tried to run out a grounder to SS. Just happy Pie was able to stay in the game, even more pleased that he came back with a hit.
8) Uehara looked good in the 8th. Despite putting himself in trouble, Gonzalez managed to get out of the 9th without allowing a run.
1) It was a strong night for Arrieta, with the lone complaints being the leadoff walks to start the game, and in the 7th.
2) I had mixed feelings on Scott's bunt attempts/fakes tonight. With the Rays defense swung around in the pronounced shift; I understand the idea of the dropping a bunt towards 3rd and being handed a 'free' base. Ultimately though, I agree with what Palmer stated. Scott's job is to hit with power, and giving himself up via the bunt would be a win for the Rays.
3) Wieters was 0 for 4, and is now 1 for his last 10. After 9 xbh's in April, Wieters has just 5 xbh's since.
4) Reynolds was not charged with an error in the 6th, but I think he should have been. There was a runner (Fuld) on 2nd, and the batter (Ruggiano) had good speed. Despite the 5-0 lead, Reynolds gave a look towards Fuld and took his eyes off the ball, which went under his glove. What that type of lead, the only play is the batter and making sure you get at-least 1 out.
4a) Reynolds was charged with an error in the 9th when a throw got away from him, on what should have been the 2nd out of the inning.
5) Gonzalez allowed walks to Zobrist and Upton in the 9th. With a 7 run lead, you simply have to throw strikes. You understand Gonzalez had last pitched on the 5th, and before that the 27th, but this is still on him. This forced Gregg to get up, and that is unaccepatable.
1) With runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out in the 2nd, Andino attempted a bunt. Hellickson quickly got off the mound to hold Scott at 3rd, and retire Andino at 1st. You have to swing the bat there. The decision to bunt was just poor.
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