If you would have told someone that the Baltimore Orioles would get ten hits and force Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price out of the game after five innings, then odds are that person would tell you the Orioles would win. Baltimore stranded 15 runners last night as they dropped the series opener 4-3 to the Rays.
Baltimore made Price (7-5) work for every out he got last night as the O’s were consistently putting runners on base and in scoring position. They managed to accrue ten hits off of the former Cy Young Award winner, but could only manage two runs. The Birds even got a runner to third base with one out or less in four consecutive innings and failed to score against Price.
It was not just Price that the Orioles had opportunities against as they ended up going 2-14 with runners in scoring position for the game. It is quite obvious that when you get 14 opportunities to hit with the possibility of someone scoring on a single that you need to score more than three runs. It was strikeout after pop out when Baltimore would come up with a runner on third with less than two outs; in fact we are pretty certain that the Orioles just stranded the Oriole Bird on the dugout.
Danny Valencia, who was called up before the start of the game due to his 7-10 performance against Price during his career, continued his success against the Rays starter and ended going 3-4 with a double and RBI in the game. Matt Wieters also had a nice day at the plate going 3-5 with a home run, double and two RBI, and JJ Hardy also had a three hit game with three singles in five at bats in his return from back spasms.
Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (14-4) did not have his best outing of the season, but did find a way to limit the damage in several situations and wound up going six innings, while allowing four runs on five hits, one walk and five strikeouts while throwing 107 pitches, 73 of which were for strikes.Baltimore's bullpen tossed three scoreless innings in relief.
The anticipation of this crucial series was high, and the game was certainly exciting, but was a game of wasted opportunities for the Birds. Baltimore will look to even the series tonight as they send Miguel Gonzalez (8-5) to the mound against Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (7-2).
With the loss, the Birds obviously lost a game to the Rays, but also ended up losing a game to the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s as both teams also won. Baltimore will desperately need a win tonight.
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