ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles couldn’t carry a lead into the ninth inning last night and suffered their seventh walk-off loss of the season, their highest amount since totaling eight in 2014.
There was no save situation after two unearned runs in the eighth tied the game. Mychal Givens didn’t warm up and we’ll never know whether he would have been used with a slim lead.
Givens notched his second career save on Sunday by retiring all four Rangers that he faced. He replaced Paul Fry with two outs in the eighth inning, threw only two pitches while inducing a fly ball from Elvis Andrus and was allowed to come back out for the ninth.
Fly ball, called third strike, pop up and a 9-6 win was secured.
Givens could get the ball again in another save situation, but circumstances might dictate his usage. He won’t necessarily be anointed the closer.
“Could see it again,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I understand what everybody’s saying. Our big thing is trying to create a save situation, OK?
“Mike, I thought, was really together mechanically. With some time off he worked on a few things with Roger (McDowell) and Alan (Mills). He came out and got a big out with very few pitches in the eighth inning and he just continued.”
Givens doesn’t give the impression that he’s campaigning to replace Zach Britton. He wants to pitch in any situation. As long as he’s in the majors.
“Talking to him on the plane, I don’t think it really phased him one way or the other,” Showalter said. “Everybody’s wired a little bit differently. But Mike’s got the type of stuff that could do it. It’s just trying to get that consistency that you need there.
“I’m sure somewhere along the way he’ll get another opportunity to show that he can do it again.”
Givens attracted lots of interest over the winter and again at the non-waiver trade deadline, and teams continue to track him. A scout from another organization is at Tropicana Field to check on multiple Rays, but he’s also writing up Givens.
* Adam Jones made two starts in right field for the Mariners back in 2007, but he’s been used exclusively in center field by the Orioles.
A change might be coming with Jones taking fly balls in right yesterday during batting practice and Cedric Mullins poised to have his contract selected from Triple-A Norfolk. And Jones could be making a permanent move to one of the outfield corners next season.
Jones could leave as a free agent after declining to waive his 10-5 rights and approve a trade to the Phillies. Who fills the leadership void? And is it important to have that one voice in the clubhouse that resonates the loudest?
“First of all, Adam’s not gone, and who knows what the future’s going to bring?” Showalter said. “I’m not going to get into that, but you’re always in need of those people who set a good example and do more than just talk. They show it in the way they play the game.
“When I first got here, one of the conversations I had with Adam, I said, ‘Hey, one of, if not my best players has to play the game right,’” Showalter said. “Otherwise, we’re going to have a problem. And that’s going to be true in any team and what you’re trying to do. And it’s more and more of a challenge, it seems like, every year. But you harken back and we think that everything was different back then. These are the good old days and I try to live in that mindset, that every era, so to speak, had its challenges. We very conveniently forget a lot of those things.
“I’m just excited about getting the good, talented players and leading them in the right direction to put together something special here again.”
* Alex Cobb has allowed one earned run or fewer in three of his last four starts since the break while registering a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings.
Cobb hadn’t surrendered a run in the first inning before last night since June 16 against the Marlins.
The Orioles don’t regret the four-year deal they gave Cobb in spring training. He’s going to provide a steady hand to a rebuilding club.
* The Rays are starting right-hander Ryne Stanek tonight. He’s their “opener.”
Stanek already has made four appearances against the Orioles this season, the last two at the beginning of games. He hasn’t gone more than two innings.
The Red Sox are going with Nathan Eovaldi in Friday night’s series opener at Camden Yards, David Price in Game 1 Saturday - with the Game 2 starter TBD - and Chris Sale on Sunday.