The Orioles failed to reach .500 tonight because they couldn’t make some plays in the field and Kevin Gregg couldn’t nail down the save. The Rays were better defensively - left fielder Justin Ruggiano robbed J.J. Hardy of a home run and shortstop Reid Brignac robbed him of a two-run single - and the Orioles fell to 3-5 in extra-inning games.
“We were battling a good club there,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Down 3-0, worked our way back. Jeremy (Guthrie) kept it close. Had a chance to beat (David) Price. I’m proud of the way our guys kept battling. He was carrying good stuff tonight.”
The Orioles wasted two home runs from Mark Reynolds.
“He’s starting to swing the bat like we thought that he had the potential to,” Showalter said. “He’s going to have his periods, but he’s not missing many mistakes right now.”
The bullpen had a 1.00 ERA in the last 11 games and 36 innings before tonight. Jim Johnson allowed an unearned run, Gregg gave up an earned run and Jeremy Accardo took the loss after surrendering two earned runs in the 11th.
Asked about the bullpen, Showalter said, “I guess the run off J.J. was unearned. I’ll take it. And Koji (Uehara) pitched good. Kevin was a pitch away. He’s been pitching real well for us and will again. Jeremy had some trouble there, but other than that, I thought the bullpen was pretty solid for the most part tonight.
“The play their shortstop made on Hardy, I thought that was a big play. Could have opened it up a little bit for us and given us a margin for error. Defense I think more than anything might have been the difference maker for us tonight - a couple plays, really three plays we didn’t quite make.”
Felix Pie ran down Ben Zobrist’s fly ball near the left field line in the ninth, but he couldn’t make the lunging catch. Zobrist had a triple and scored the tying run on Casey Kotchman’s two-out single.
“That’s a tough play,” Showalter said. “He went a long way, and Felix, he’s made so many good plays for us. He got real close to it and almost made it. Just like Jonesy (Adam Jones) in the first inning almost made that play. They make those plays so many times and turn a hit into an out. It just wasn’t there tonight.”
Showalter chose to have Accardo pitch to Evan Longoria in the 11th with a runner on third and one out. Longoria singled home the go-ahead run and scored on Kotchman’s double.
“Kotchman’s probably their hottest hitter,” Showalter said. “Didn’t exactly center the ball, fisted the ball over the field. But he’s strong. We had to play the infield in. But we got through that same situation earlier in the game and were a pitch away. That’s why he’s hitting behind him. You take one of your best track record guys and put a hot hitter behind him.”
The Orioles missed Derrek Lee’s glove at first base tonight.
“I wouldn’t hang it all around Brandon (Snyder),” Showalter said. “Some tough plays and just wasn’t there for him. Obviously, Derrek’s been playing in the big leagues a long time and has been doing that for a long, long time, and hopefully Brandon has a bright future where he’ll be able to be that type of player one day. And he has that potential to be.”