ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles’ road trip just got a whole lot worse.
Manny Machado was taken off the field on a stretcher, his left leg immobilized, after tripping over first base in the top of the seventh inning. He appeared to suffer an injury to his knee.
Machado let out a scream and laid on his side while athletic trainers Richie Bancells and Brian Ebel and manager Buck Showalter raced out of the dugout. First base coach Wayne Kirby immediately ran to Machado, who had tears in his eyes as he finally turned on his back.
A cart was brought onto the field, but Machado was wheeled off on a stretcher. It appeared that an air cast was placed on his knee.
Machado beat out a grounder to second base - initially ruled an error before being changed to a hit - and his left foot came down on the side of the bag. His knee buckled and his ankle turned.
Machado also hit the bag awkwardly during Saturday’s game, but he avoided an injury. He wasn’t as fortunate today.
Players in both dugouts had concerned expressions on their faces while Machado was on the ground. Second baseman Brian Roberts slammed his hand against the padded dugout railing a few times and lowered his head. A few of the Rays knelt on the turf.
The crowd remained quiet until breaking out in applause as Machado was lifted onto the stretcher and again when he came off the field.
Showalter patted Machado on the chest a few times and rubbed his shoulder before walking back to the dugout. Suddenly, a losing streak and the wild card race seem unimportant.
Alexi Casilla pinch-ran for Machado, who has started all 156 games this season and 207 straight since being recalled on Aug. 9, 2012. Casilla was thrown out at the plate on Nick Markakis’ single, keeping the score 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh.
Machado has 54 multi-hit games this season. He’s 2-for-4 today to raise his average to .283 with 14 homers and 71 RBIs.
The Orioles will provide an update on his condition later today.
Update: Wil Myers’ bloop single into right field off Darren O’Day with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning scored two runs, both charged to Brian Matusz, and tied the game 4-4.
Casilla almost made a remarkable diving catch, but his head slammed into Markakis’ knee and the ball popped out of his glove. Casilla stayed down while Markakis frantically motioned for Bancells and Ebel.
Casilla stayed in the game after walking to second base and talking to Bancells, Ebel and Showalter.
Update II: Casilla is out of the game as we move to the bottom of the eighth. Flaherty goes back to second base and Danny Valencia is playing third.
Tommy Hunter is pitching with the score tied 4-4. Matt Wieters led off the top of the eight with a double and was thrown out going to third. Nate McLouth actually reached on a bunt double, the ball rolling into shallow right field while Rays second baseman Tim Beckham broke toward first.
It’s been a strange day. This game can’t end soon enough.
Update III: Pinch-hitter James Loney led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off home run off Hunter.
Hunter tried to get a 96 mph fastball past Loney, who launched it into the right field seats.
The Rays swept the Orioles in this four-game series.