When Baseball Happens: Orioles Commit Five Errors, Defeat Rays

Most errors the Orioles recorded in a win since 1983

The Tampa Bay Rays once again came back from trailing late in the ballgame, scoring a tying run in the seventh and a go-ahead run in the eighth, but the Baltimore Orioles hit Sergio Romo hard in the ninth inning to take a 5-4 victory and retake the lead in their season series with Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

“Baseball just kinda happened today,” said Romo, who was saddled with the loss.  Romo was a bit of a hard-luck loser despite not recording an out Wednesday night.  All three hits against him came with two strikes, and none were certain base hits upon leaving the bat.

It was left fielder Trey Mancini who delivered what turned out to be the decisive blow, a two run double in the top of the ninth that sent Romo to the dugout without recording an out.  Jose Alvarado made sure the damage was limited to those two runs, but the one run lead was enough for Mychal Givens.

The win takes the Orioles to 8-7 against the Rays this season, and adds to the Rays’ growing number of one run losses, a figure that now stands at 27.

About that bottom of the seventh

The Tampa Bay Rays entered the bottom of the seventh against the Baltimore Orioles trailing 3-2 with Baltimore starting pitcher Andrew Cashner having one of his best outings of the season.  It looked like the Rays were once again headed for the one run loss that has been a defining feature of the 2018 season in St. Petersburg.

It was then that baseball lost its grip on sanity for a few moments.  This is something that just happens during a long season.

With Carlos Gomez on first care of being hit in the wrist, Kevin Kiermaier hit a sharp ground ball to third baseman Renato Nunez.  Nunez fielded it cleanly and threw to shortstop Tim Beckham.  Beckham caught the ball, but neglected to step on second base, and did not produce a throw to first.  What seemed like a tailor-made double play turned out to be a non-play.  Both runners were safe.

Willy Adames, hero of the game Tuesday night with his emphatic walkoff, hit a grounder sharply to Beckham.  Again, the problem was not getting the ball to enter the shortstop’s glove.  Beckham did that just fine, but he slipped on the infield dirt, and once again all runners were safe.  Michael Perez came up next, and hit a sacrifice fly to the shortstop to score Gomez and tie the game at three.

Beckham, who had been extremely effective against the Rays this season at the plate, was intent on giving his former team a run.  He did just that, and nearly more as he got Mallex Smith at first by a hair to end the inning.  Had Smith been safe, and the play was close enough to send umpires to the World War II style field phone that they use for replay, Kevin Kiermaier would have scored at home plate to give the Rays the lead.

They would take the lead anyway, scoring in the eighth when Carlos Gomez knocked home Matt Duffy for the go-ahead run.

Stanek hit hard in first

Ryne Stanek had been thriving in the opener role, but in a long season like that of Major League Baseball one should consider nothing automatic.  Stanek gave up a home run to Tim Beckham on the second at bat of the game, a ball pulled just over the left field fence.  Adam Jones followed that with a more emphatic shot of his own, just the eighth time this season that the Baltimore Orioles have hit back to back home runs.

The Rays’ opener recorded three strikeouts in that first inning, and four in his two inning opening.  He was relieved by lefty Jalen Beeks, acquired from Boston in the deal for Nathan Eovaldi.

Tampa Bay evened the score in the bottom of the first, starting off with a single from Mallex Smith.  Smith stole second and took third on an errant throw, coming around to score on a single by Jake Bauers.  Bauers also stole second base, which proved important when he scored on a Joey Wendle single to tie the game in an up-and-down first.

The Orioles relied on the long ball to get their runs.  Beckham and Jones homered off Stanek.  Mark Trumbo took a ball the other way, going well into the right field seats to give the Orioles their second lead of the night.

The home run to Trumbo was really the only issue that Jalen Beeks had in his role as long reliever.  In five innings, the lefty gave up two hits and struck out three.  It was a strong outing that solidifies him as an option in that post-opener (continuer?) role.

Up next for the Rays

On Thursday night, the Rays will wrap up both the three game series with Baltimore and a nine game homestand.  Another opener will be on the docket for Tampa Bay, with Kevin Cash saying after the game on Wednesday night that it will be

From there, the Rays will head to Toronto for a weekend series with the Blue Jays. Toronto isn’t much better off than Baltimore this season, with a team that was a contender not too long ago looking like they have seen better days.  Like the series with Baltimore, it is a series of AL East teams headed in opposite directions.  The Blue Jays were close to the World Series not long ago, but seem miles away right now.  The Rays have been out of the postseason for a few years, but look to be headed in the right direction.  However, this also implies these are games Tampa Bay should win.  Whatever pressure is on the team is on them against teams they have passed in the standings.

For more on the Rays, Rock Riley talked to Sports Talk Florida Senior Rays Analyst Steve Kinsella about the team’s present and future on Wednesday afternoon.  Rock Riley can be heard on AM 1040 Tampa Bay from 3-6 PM every weekday.

Tim Williams has been covering sports since his days as a student at Northeastern University covering events such as the Beanpot. In the thirteen years since, he has covered college hockey, the NFL, Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour, and the National Hockey League. A native of the Tampa Bay area, Tim has returned home after living much of his life in the northeast, including sixteen years in the Boston area. These days the Managing Editor of Sports Talk Florida can be found on Florida's golf courses when he's not working.