The Orioles, who went 17-22 in one-run games last year, have dropped two close ones to start the 2010 season after Wednesday’s second straight, 4-3 loss vs. Tampa.
Evan Longoria’s solo homer in the 8th gave the Rays a 4-2 lead and insurance that offset a Garrett Atkins RBI double in the 9th. Longoria’s two-run double in the 5th put Tampa ahead 3-2.
The RISP stat tonight: The Orioles were 1 for 12 batting with runners in scoring position Tuesday and Wednesday were just a little better at 2 for 9. That’s 3 for 21 the first two games, a .143 batting average.
In the first two games of this series, Baltimore has scored a total of six runs on 17 hits with a team average of .239. After getting three homers and seven extra-base hits last night, the O’s picked up just one for extra bases on Wednesday.
Steve’s analysis: Another frustrating night for the home team, another one-run loss. Making it tougher to take - Longoria’s two-run double just out of Reimold’s reach and Meredith put a pitch right in the middle of the plate to Longoria in the 8th.
Probably the best news of the night was Guthrie’s solid 6 1/3 innings. He was really good early, something that was a problem last year and pitched into the seventh. Many nights the outing he gave the club tonight would be a winning effort.
No pressure on Brian Matusz tomorrow as they look to avoid a season-opening sweep.
Matt the man: Rays starter Matt Garza gave up just four hits tonight, only two after the first inning.
Garza’s line: 8IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 2B, 9K....114 pitches
Garza is now 7-1, 2.67 in his career vs. the Birds.
After pitching to a spring ERA of 7.40, Jeremy Guthrie gave the Orioles a solid outing, allowing three runs over 6 1/3, but he did take the loss.
Guthrie, who allowed 25 percent of his runs last year in the first inning, tonight retired the side in order in the first on just nine pitches.
The O’s Matt the man: Matt Wieters went 2 for 4 tonight and is 4 for 8 through two games. Adam Jones is 4 for 9 while Brian Roberts is 0 for 10 to date.
Tonight’s attendance was 15,220.
After two games, O’s starters ERA is 3.97 and the bullpen ERA is 5.40.
In the series finale on Thursday night, LHP Brian Matusz (5-2, 4.63) pitches for the Birds. vs. RHP Jeff Niemann (13-6, 3.94). Both were strong in spring training as Matusz worked to an ERA of 2.59 and Niemann was at 2.49.
In his last three starts last year, the 23-year-old Matusz went 3-0, 2.57. Niemann was 2-2, 6.75 in five starts last year vs. the Orioles, who batted .351 vs. the righty in 2009.
Brian Roberts is 8 for 18 with two homers vs. Niemann while Nick Markakis is 6 for 16. Matt Wieters hit .714 last year vs. Niemann, going 5 for 7 with a double and three RBI.