ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Jake Arrieta retired the first nine batters he faced today, striking out three along the way.
Then came the fourth inning, and a different set of results for Arrieta.
Carlos Pena led off with a walk and B.J. Upton singled. We wouldn’t have a historic day at Tropicana Field unless the Rays cracked 25,000 in attendance.
Matt Joyce followed with a fly ball to center field to score Pena. Adam Jones sailed a throw over third baseman Steve Tolleson’s head, allowing Upton to score and giving the Rays a 2-1 lead.
Jones turned his back as soon as the ball left his hand. He knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.
Meanwhile, Arrieta failed to back up third base. He drifted near the Orioles’ dugout, but not in the proper position.
Luke Scott fouled out to end the inning, and Arrieta almost collided with first baseman Mark Reynolds along the first-base line.
It’s not often that you see a pitcher chase a pop up in foul territory. Reynolds certainly had no idea Arrieta was barreling down on him.
The Rays have been held to one hit, but they’ve seen two Jake Arrietas today to go with their two runs.
The Orioles stranded six runners in the first four innings, but Reynolds singled with two outs in the fifth to score Endy Chavez, who reached on shortstop Elliot Johnson’s throwing error.
Orioles 2, Rays 2.
Matt Wieters walked to keep the rally alive, and Reynolds collected his second hit of the day.
Before today, Reynolds was batting .300 in his last 12 games since May 4.
Update: Arrieta was charged with four runs and only two hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked four, struck out three and threw a wild pitch. He threw 83 pitches, 41 for strikes.
Arrieta walked the bases loaded in the fifth and B.J. Upton doubled after getting ahead 3-1 in the count. He smoked a ball down the third-base line, and it deflected off Tolleson’s glove.
In his last three starts, Arrieta has allowed 14 earned runs (15 total) and 16 hits in 14 2/3 innings. He’s walked 10 and struck out 10.
Arrieta hasn’t cleared the sixth inning in his last three starts and four of five. The exception came in Washington, when he held the Nationals to one run over seven innings on May 18. His ERA is 7.96 in his last six starts. He hasn’t won since May 2.
Arrieta’s got great stuff. The results, with a few exceptions, aren’t matching it.
Update II: The Orioles are playing perhaps their worst fundamental game of the season.
They’ve committed three errors, including Wieters’ errant pickoff throw at third base. Wieters has six errors, a single-season career high. Tolleson’s error allowed another run to score in sixth, as the Rays opened up an 8-2 lead.
Endy Chavez bobbled a ball in left field and still threw home, allowing Elliot Johnson to advance to second base.
The Orioles have a scheduled day off tomorrow. They look off today.
Update III: Mark Reynolds hit his third home run of the season, and his first since May 5, but the Orioles fell out of a first-place tie with Tampa Bay after today’s 8-4 loss.
Reynolds had three hits to raise his average to .218. He also drove in two runs.
Wieters singled in a run with two outs in the ninth, giving him three hits today and six in the series. He’s batting .244.
The Orioles have no shot at winning their fourth consecutive road series. They have three games remaining in Boston before returning home.
Did they lose Adam Jones? Nick Johnson pinch-hit for him with two on and one out in the ninth inning. We’ll find out later whether Jones’ wrist is hurting.