Bottom-feeding Baltimore battles back against Bay-area boys, beats Rays 11-10 in extra innings

Tampa Bay tallied four in the top of the sixth with some good ol’-fashioned grind-‘em-out runs, Rays-style. Jason Bartlett stretched a well-hit ball into a double to lead off. After Evan Longoria’s unproductive pop out to second, Carlos Pena singled, moving JB to third; Bartlett scored and Pena advanced to second on a wild pitch by Baltimore starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. Matt Joyce walked, prompting Arrieta’s exit from the game; reliever Jason Berken got a ground ball from Willy Aybar, but a throwing error from former-Devil Ray Ty Wigginton to second allowed Pena to score, Joyce to movie into third and Aybar to reach second base. John Jaso singled, scoring Joyce and Aybar, before B.J. Upton flied out to center and Reid Brignac struck out. Tampa Bay would leave the inning leading 6-4.


[image-1]The Rays put up two more in the seventh; with the bases loaded after three walks, pinch-hitting Gabe Kapler struck out on a blown call on a checked swing. Fortunately, Aybar’s single brought home Zobrist and Longoria before Jaso grounded out. Baltimore scored thrice in the bottom half to bring it within one, 8-7. The top of the eighth lasted just long enough for Reid Brignac to crush a 2-0 pitch, restoring the two-run lead with a solo home run. The Orioles scored twice on three consecutive hits in the bottom of the ninth inning to send this one to extras.


With nothing doing through two extra frames, the twelfth inning saw the first offensive production. With one out, Pena walked; he stole second and moved into third on a throwing error by C Craig Tatum. It’s a good thing too, because C-Los was dead in the water on that steal if not for the error. After that lucky break, Pena scored on Aybar’s single. But those damned Orioles tied it back up in the bottom of the inning.


With Lance Cormier in as the Rays’ seventh pitcher of the game, Cesar Izturis reached with a base on balls to lead off the bottom of the 13th inning; Felix Pie’s sacrifice fly moved him to second before former-Devil Ray Julio Lugo’s single gave Baltimore the walk-off win.


I’m too damn tired to be cute about this so I’ll get right to the point: this game sucked. The Rays had no business losing after coming back to take what should have been a commanding 8-4 lead. A costly mistake by Ben Zobrist allowed two runs which brought Baltimore back into the game; Miguel Tejada’s double in the bottom of the seventh went off his glove, scoring Tatum and Pie. If not for that, this game is over in regulation. Speaking of game-changing screw-ups, Rafael Soriano was clearly on the shelf too long. He came on in the ninth and allowed the three straight hits to score two in a very uncharacteristic performance.


This is another one in which Tampa Bay managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Is that a tired cliché? Yes. Do I care? No; besides the fact that it’s a perfect fit, I’m too damn tired to bother coming up with something better and don’t care enough about what you think… I mean, that says it perfectly? Yeah, let’s go with take number two. Apparently this game lasted beyond the Rays’ bedtime too…


Better insight to follow in the morning, rather, later this morning.


EDIT:


Is it the end of the world? No, just like any game taken in a single game context is very small. However, letting easy wins slip away is turning into a pattern, which is a major cause for concern. You can make excuses about this being "just one game" as much as you want, but it's not just one game; it's the third game in five starts that the Rays should have nailed shut but failed to do so. The loss takes on a different meaning now, huh? All you myopic apologists and local morning sports radio personnel need to wake up to that fact (yes that's for someone in particular).


A glance into the void


[image-2]As absolutely nothing was happening in the first few extra innings, I felt the need to compile a collection of my own observations and random thoughts:


This game saw Carl Crawford exit early, as he took a ball to the, well, balls. CC was picked off at first after reaching base on a fielder’s choice where Ben Zobrist was thrown out at second in the first inning. I’m sure Carl wishes he had lined or popped out instead. Apparently hitting a guy in the nuts gets you an out. I think it should get the guy a free run, or at least a free shot at the sonofabitch who threw it. But I guess that’s just me, thinking as someone who’s quite attached to his own testicles.


This just in: cooking hotdogs on a George Foreman just feels wrong. Shame on me, I just didn’t want to fire up the grill for 3 measly frankfurters, but plugging in a cord seemed like a viable option. The results are the same, but I feel lessened, as if losing some of my primal nature by resorting to modern convenience to prepare my processed-protein-parts sustenance. P.S. A shot of Jameson 12 Year in the middle of the 10th inning does not make those dogs stay down any easier.


Umpire Mike Riley, who’d made some poor calls throughout the evening, had taken two fouled pitches on the mask in extra innings. Must resist the urge to tie “umpire sucking,” “balls to the face” and “a long one” together in a mess of double entendres… Too late…

Yeah, when the game goes into extras, I get time to have some alliterative fun. So apparently the baseball gods didn’t think I needed any sleep Tuesday night, or the beginning of Wednesday morning for that matter, as the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles battled for 13 innings, with Baltimore coming out the victor, 11-10. This was another one of those outings where the Rays should have easily won and instead exhausted themselves handing the game to the other team (Friday night in New York ring a bell?).

A game that was defined early on by long balls was ended by one team playing a little small ball. The first six runs of the game came off of solo shots, two by the Rays and four by the Orioles, including three on consecutive at-bats in the bottom of the second inning. The Rays’ early homers came off the bats of B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce in the third and fourth innings, respectively.

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