ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles are 1-0 in games when dogs are allowed inside Tropicana Field, DJ Kitty bobbleheads are given out and The Wiggles perform a concert in center field.
No need to bother Elias with that one.
It’s a day that Taylor Teagarden won’t soon forget. His two-out RBI double off Rays reliever Joel Peralta broke a scoreless tie in the 10th.
“Definitely don’t want to swing at something that’s out of the zone right there, because I had seen all his pitches at that point,” Teagarden said. “At that point, I was just trying to bear down in the strike zone and hopefully get a good pitch to handle. I saw a split. He threw me a curveball earlier in the at-bat. I fouled off a few fastballs. Right there, we had the runner in motion. The ball’s going to have to go in the gap to score. I wasn’t thinking about that. Just trying to put an easy swing on it and put the ball in play, and hopefully it falls in.”
And hope it doesn’t hop the fence for a ground-rule double that would have stopped Mark Reynolds at third base.
“As soon as I saw it was in the gap and the outfielders couldn’t catch it, I knew we were going to score,” Teagarden said. “That was the first thing on my mind.”
So, what does it say about the Orioles that they’ve won 11 straight extra-inning games and 10 straight one-run games?
“For one, it shows how good our bullpen is late in the games,” Teagarden said. “Luis (Ayala) came in and did a great job, Jimmy (Johnson) shut the door right there, Miguel (Gonzalez) had an outstanding outing. Sometimes, it’s going to be a little tougher to score runs. Like today, (David) Price was outstanding, but as long as you can hang around, anything can happen. You get a two-out double out of your nine-hole hitter, you know you can win games. You’ve got to have everyone contribute and kind of survive the game. Don’t let it slip away and bear down as the innings keep building up.”
As I’ve pointed out a few times today, Teagarden has a walk-off home run and tie-breaking RBI double among his three hits this season. Is it because he’s a veteran who’s comfortable in clutch situations?
“I don’t know how much that is to it,” he said. “I’ve just gotten a couple hits late in games and it’s helped us win games. I’m just trying to do the best I can whenever I’m in there and today was a huge game for us, trying to pick up a second win from these guys with their best pitcher on the mound. We’ll take that. It was a good road trip. Just got to keep this momentum going through the homestand.”
Teagarden did a nice job with Gonzalez, who blanked the Rays over seven innings.
“He’s always capable of that,” Teagarden said. “Today, he was great. His fastball had some life on it, his split-finger was really good. We didn’t have to throw it too much, and when we did, we got a lot of swings and misses. He was throwing strikes for the most part and for the stuff he had today, he had to battle at times and he just did a great job. I was really happy with what he showed out there and it’s something to build on going forward.”
Gonzalez turned in the finest start of his brief major league career, but he said he’s actually felt better on the mound.
“My sinker was working real well today and my splitter as well,” he said. “Slider was good. Teagarden did a great job back there and also getting that double in the 10th inning to win the game. Give him props for that.
“I stayed within myself and stayed confident. Kept the ball down and went with it.”
Gonzalez didn’t expect to be showered with runs while Price was on the mound.
“Of course, I knew it was going to be a tough ballgame,” he said. “I stayed with him. The good thing is we got the win and I’m happy for that. Our relievers did a great job again, and we went from there. A 1-0 ballgame. It was great.
“He’s always been a great pitcher. He did a great job today. He’s aggressive, so I’m going to be aggressive, too. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to keep working and keep getting better.”
Somehow, Gonzalez managed to avoid having any thoughts about his first start against the Rays, when he allowed seven runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings.
“Yeah, I wasn’t thinking about the last outing when I faced them,” he said. “Just came in and pounded the zone and worked ahead. Got the results.
“We have a great team. We battle. We’re not going to give up. We’re going to keep working hard and keep getting better. And things are going to work out for us.
“We’re all confident and we have the team to do it, so just keep working and keep getting better and things are going to go well.”