Facing an ace is no easy task, especially when trying to snap a 5-game losing streak. When a team knows after the first inning it will have to score at least 6 runs to win, the task can seem daunting.
Such was the case for the Orioles Friday night in Tampa, as the Rays jumped on Wei-Yin Chen for 5 first inning runs, and coasted to a 5-0 win behind the left arm of David Price.
In the first inning, the Rays picked up a 2-run single from old friend Luke Scott, an RBI sacrifice bunt by Sean Rodriguez, and a 2-run homer from long-time nemesis Hideki Matsui.
The Birds didn’t get their first base runner until Matt Wieters grounded a single to right with one out in the 5th inning.
With 1 out in the 6th, Price issued back-to-back walks to Bill Hall and Robert Andino. Steve Tolleson singled to left to load the bases. JJ Hardy hit what should have been a run scoring fly ball to fairly deep center field, but Tolleson inexplicably tried to tag up and advance to 2nd.
Centerfielder BJ Upton’s strong throw was in plenty of time to nail Tolleson before Hall crossed the plate for an inning-ending double play.
In the 9th against Rays reliever Burke Badenhop, the Orioles collected 3 straight 1-out singles from Hardy, Adam Jones, and Wieters. Rays closer Fernando Rodney was summoned, and with the bases loaded, he struck out Mark Reynolds and got Chris Davis on a grounder to first for his 17th save.
Things get no easier for the Orioles tomorrow. Brian Matusz (4-5, 4.82) will try to snap the season-long 6-game losing streak. He’ll go up against Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 2.83). Game time is 4:10 PM.
- Matt Wieters picked up 2 base hits.
- The night after having his 20-game hitting streak snapped (and being hit by a pitch in the left hand), Adam Jones came back with a 2-hit game.
- Steve Tolleson’s baserunning blunder in the 6th, down 5 runs, is a play that simply cannot happen. The 29-year old utility man has impressed Buck Showalter with his heads-up play and hustle up until now. But with opportunities at a premium and with the roster in a constant state of flux, it won’t take many more plays like that for Tolleson to find himself as a more permanent Norfolk resident.
- For the first time since May 6, the Orioles have fallen out of first place in the AL East.