Brandon Hyde: "I don't think our guys are going to back down"

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It is reasonable to wonder if the trades of Trey Mancini to Houston and Jorge López to Minnesota will derail the Orioles' train, which is looking to have the playoffs as a surprise 2022 destination. It would be an amazing story if they make it, but it was going to be hard enough to pull that off with Mancini and López.

But how can this team do it without them?

The answer is they might not. But this team has surprised us enough already, and shown plenty of heart and guts already, that putting it past them might not be the best play. Sure, it is still a long shot, maybe a longer shot than a few days ago, but the math still works.

They are very much right in the race, and it’s August 3 with 58 games left.

After last night's second straight win in Texas, by an 8-2 score, the Orioles are 53-51 and are just 1 1/2 games out of the last American League playoff spot. The O's lost two key players and responded with two big wins over Texas.

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O's game blog: Jordan Lyles faces Texas as series continues

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After taking the field last night hours after the club traded Trey Mancini, the Orioles will take the field tonight after the club traded closer Jorge López this afternoon to the Minnesota Twins for four minor league pitchers. Tonight they play the second game of a three-game series at Texas.

The Orioles (52-51) beat the Rangers 7-2 last night in the series opener. Cedric Mullins hit a homer on the game’s third pitch – his third leadoff homer of the year. It was his 14th career leadoff home run, the second-most in Orioles history behind Brady Anderson's 44.

The Orioles took a 4-0 lead in the second inning and never trailed in moving over the .500 mark. They matched last year’s win total when they went 52-110.

The Orioles had scored just 10 runs in three games in Cincinnati, and just four runs in losing the last two games at Great American Ball Park and producing just one extra-base hit in those contests.

Catcher Adley Rutschman went 3-for-4 with a walk, two doubles and an RBI Monday night for his second career three-hit game. He reached base a career-high four times. Rutschman is batting .421 (16-for-38) over his past 12 games. Last night was his 13th multi-hit game.

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A look at the pitchers the Orioles got in the Jorge López deal

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In a move designed to obtain future talent for a current All-Star closer, the Orioles today traded right-hander Jorge López to the Minnesota Twins for a package of four pitchers. And yes, they made this move while they are just 2 1/2 games out of the last American League playoff spot.

Here is a bit more on the four players they got from the Twins for López, a player the Orioles acquired via waivers from the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 9, 2020. This season he has recorded 19 saves with a 1.68 ERA.

The O's added left-hander Cade Povich, a third-round pick out of Nebraska in 2021 (No. 98 overall) who has pitched this year at high Single-A Cedar Rapids. He is 6-8 with a 4.46 ERA. In 78 2/3 innings, he has allowed 71 hits and nine homers with 26 walks and 107 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP. He has a 2.97 walk rate and 12.24 strikeout rate.

One scout I spoke with said his fastball averages in the 92 mph range but has touched 96 this season. He also throws a curveball in the high 70s, slider in the 80-81 range and a firm changeup around 84 mph. The scout liked his slider as his best secondary and described him as “polished, college lefty.” He throws a lot of strikes, especially with his fastball and slider, and mixes in the other pitches as chase and putaway offerings.

MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis discussed Povich on MLB Network.

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O's pitching acquisitions move right into their top 12 prospects

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If you could take sentiment out of it – almost impossible to do when it comes to Trey Mancini - the Orioles return in Monday's trade doesn’t look too bad.

A strong farm system got stronger, and now some at-bats opened up for other players like Terrin Vavra, Yusniel Diaz or maybe at some point later Kyle Stowers, as Mancini joins the Houston Astros.

Calling him a rental player after all he has been through and all that he means to the team and town almost seems disrespectful, but from a most technical standpoint, he is a pending free agent that Houston will have for the rest of this season. And possibly no more. It is not impossible to say he and the Orioles could have contract conversations over the winter.

And for Mancini, a beloved figure today and probably forever in Birdland, the Orioles did get two pitchers who show promise for the future. Both have touched 98 mph and were ranked highly for two clubs that have solid pitching development in Houston and Tampa Bay. And they are ranked highly in the now well-regarded O’s farm system.

The Orioles acquired right-hander Seth Johnson, 23, from Tampa Bay, and MLBPipeline.com last night, in an updated O’s top 30 list, rated him No. 8, right behind Stowers and just ahead of Heston Kjerstad. They added right-hander Chayce McDermott, 23, from Houston and ranked him No. 12. He is just behind César Prieto and ahead of Mike Baumann. So the two new guys are already keeping good company there.

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O's game blog: The series opener at Texas

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It got active in Birdland this afternoon with the news of Trey Mancini’s trade to the Houston Astros. But as nightfall arrives, there is a game to play and the Orioles are at Texas tonight to begin a three-game series as their road trip continues.

The Orioles (51-51) lost the last two games at Cincinnati after winning there 6-2 on Friday night. But on Saturday and Sunday their offense produced just four runs on 12 hits and just one extra-base hit. That was Anthony Santander’s homer in the eighth inning yesterday that briefly produced a 2-2 tie with the Reds. But when Brandon Drury homered in the last of the eighth, the Reds took a 3-2 lead, and three outs later had a win by that margin.

The Orioles fell to 22-31 on the road. They ended July going 16-9 with a plus-19 run differential. They fell to 7-8 in rubber-match games.

A win by the Orioles tonight and they would match the win total of last year’s club that went 52-110.

Even with back-to-back losses, the Orioles have won four of seven and 16 of their past 23 games. They have won 21 of 33 and 27 of 43.

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A look at the Mancini trade and some ramifications of it

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He played in 701 games in his time in Birdland. That is a significant number, but Trey Mancini’s impact on the Orioles will go way beyond anything on a stat sheet.

The kid from Florida who was once overlooked by the big colleges in his home state, went to Notre Dame to play college ball. Then he was an eighth-round draft pick by the Orioles in 2013. Picks in round eight don’t often become middle-of-the-order hitters and team leaders, but Mancini did that.

He was loved by Birdland even before he kicked cancer’s butt. Even before he became close friends with Mo Gaba and Baltimore got to see from a distance that beautiful relationship. Even before the Orioles team he played on took on a completely new look and went from a club that made the 2016 playoffs to one that lost 115 games and had to rebuild from the ground up.

He carried himself so well and represented the Orioles so well, on and off the field.

Fans here can now hope this season will end with Mancini maybe playing in the World Series and getting a ring with his new team in Houston.

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Hays gives back through scholarship program and Voth has another good one

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CINCINNATI - Orioles outfielder Austin Hays said he is humbled by O’s fans support of him in his time with the team and now he wants to give back.

He has started “The Austin Hays Scholarship” and some youngsters currently in high school and college can get a $20,000 boost for their education.

It is for kids from low-income families and only for Maryland students. An essay is needed, and applicants can apply for the scholarship through August 28 at go.bold.org/AustinHays.

“I was talking to my agent and we just thought it was a really good time to try and give back to the Baltimore community that has given a lot to me and my family over the years,” Hays told me Sunday before the game in Cincinnati.

“Been around here now since 2016 so it feels like I have gotten so much out of the community and the organization, so I was able to talk to the team and get them to partner with me in donating to the scholarship and they would match it. We can help out an underprivileged kid in the community that is in high school or college and needs a little help trying to pay for school. Not everyone has the same opportunity. Just want to do my part to help the community.”

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O's rally from two runs down, but lose series finale at Cincinnati (updated)

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CINCINNATI – The Orioles rallied to pull out a close game in the late innings in the series opener on Friday night and for most of today, it looked like the team might need something similar in the series finale against Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park.

They were locked in a scoreless duel with Reds top pitching prospect lefty Nick Lodolo. And then they fell behind by two runs. They would get even but they would not get their win.

Brandon Drury's 20th homer of the year was a solo shot with two outs in the eighth off the O's Félix Bautista and that lifted the Reds to a 3-2 win in the series finale.

Drury hit a 1-2 splitter that just had enough to go out in left at 372 feet to snap the 2-2 tie and give the Reds the series win.

Bautista's 1.50 ERA was among the best for relievers as he took the mound today.

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O's game blog: Looking for a series win in Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI – For the Orioles, pitching has told a lot of the story this weekend. The pitching kept the team in the game Friday night until the offense rescued the night with a four-run rally in the ninth. Last night, the pitching put the team in a hole and they could never quite dig out of it in an 8-2 loss.

The Orioles (51-50) and the Reds (39-61) play the rubber match game of this three-game series this afternoon at Great American Ball Park. A win gives the O’s another series victory as they head off to Texas to begin a series there on Monday night.

The Orioles are 14-13-4 in series play this season and 5-8-2 in road series.

Right-hander Austin Voth (1-1, 6.15 ERA) gets the start for the Orioles. After pitching to an ERA of 10.13 for the Washington Nationals, he has been much better with Baltimore. For the Orioles, he is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 games, six of those being starts.

Over 26 2/3 innings for the Birds, he has allowed 26 hits and three homers with 10 walks and 25 strikeouts. He has a 1.350 WHIP with a 3.4 walk rate and 8.4 strikeout rate. The Orioles are 5-1 in his six starts.

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Hyde on Mancini batting leadoff, Hays with props for O's fans in Cincy

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CINCINNATI – The Orioles have used Cedric Mullins as a leadoff hitter this year and also Austin Hays. And today, in the series finale in Cincinnati, Trey Mancini is atop the Orioles batting order for the first time since June 29, 2018.

“He’s not your typical leadoff hitter, but we’re trying to find a little bit of a spark,” manager Brandon Hyde said during his pregame interview session. “Trey is swinging the bat better the last few days. It’s mainly about getting Mancini, (Adley) Rutschman and (Anthony) Santander as many at-bats as possible. You know hopefully, dropping some guys down a little can help get them going. But the main thing is getting those 3 guys up as many times.”

He joked he doesn’t need Mancini to try and turn on any speed batting at the top.

“I told him that even you do have an inside-the-parker, you do not have the green light,” Hyde said.

Mancini has actually batted leadoff 53 times in his career, although it’s been a while so he does have some experience there.

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Jordan Lyles, once traded in late July, on how O's have handled the deadline

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CINCINNATI – Orioles right-hander Jordan Lyles has personal experience with the MLB trade deadline. In 2019, in a late July deal, he was traded from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee and then helped the Brewers make a run to the NL wild card game.

That deal he said, kind of came out of the blue and he had not been among players rumored to be possibly moving at that time.

This year’s deadline is different for the Orioles.

Different in that, rather than be in full sell mode as a rebuilding team, they are a team currently in contention. There are some rumors out there but just not many involving the Orioles. Who knows what that means for next Tuesday, the day of the trade deadline.

For now Lyles believes the Orioles are doing fine with in dealing with any deadline stress, rumors and/or distractions.

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O's allow three homers as Cincinnati wins big to even series (updated)

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CINCINNATI – After getting his 2022 big league season off to a great start, O’s right-hander Dean Kremer has hit a bump in the road. And tonight, his road got really rocky in the last of the fourth.

Leadoff hitter Jonathan India smoked a two-run homer just over the left field wall to highlight a three-run Reds fourth and they went on to beat the Orioles 8-2 at Great American Ball Park. That evens this series at a win each heading into Sunday’s rubber match game.

The Orioles led 2-0 in the first and 2-1 when the Reds came up in the fourth. Then Cincinnati batters started to produce some loud contact off Kremer, who had allowed four hits through three. With one out, Nick Senzel doubled to left, a two-bagger that was 101 mph off the bat. Then right fielder Jake Fraley dumped a single into left for a 2-2 tie. One out later, India’s seventh homer made it a 4-2 lead. He hit a 1-2 pitch, a 93 mph four-seamer, 366 feet and it just got out. Brandon Drury’s 108 mph double followed, but he was stranded when Tommy Pham grounded out.

The loud contact continued in the Reds fifth when Joey Votto led off with his 10th homer (exit velocity of 108 mph) and it became a 5-2 game. After a one-out single, Kremer was lifted.

Then it got weird.

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O's game blog: Looking for another win in Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI – Tonight, in the second game of this series, the Orioles look for their fifth win in six games, and to move three games over the .500 mark as they play at Cincinnati. The Orioles scored four runs in the ninth last night to break a 2-2 tie and beat the Reds 6-2 in the opener of a three-game series and six-game road trip.

Cedric Mullins’ two-run single to center gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead and Trey Mancini’s RBI single that bounced off the second-base bag made it 5-2. Struggling Ryan Mountcastle came through with a sac fly for the 6-2 margin. Jorge López then pitched a 1-2-3 last of the ninth to cap a night of four scoreless innings from the Baltimore bullpen.

The Orioles bullpen has allowed just one earned run in 22 2/3 innings over the past five games. Here are the best bullpen ERAs in the big leagues:

2.72 – Houston
2.89 – New York Yankees
2.99 – Orioles
3.02 – Detroit

The Orioles have had some nice late-inning comebacks and wins this season, and last night was the latest example. With the victory Friday, the Orioles are now at a zero run differential for the season. They have both allowed and scored 421 runs.

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Hyde updating Tyler Wells and notes on Mountcastle and Vavra

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CINCINNATI – Ryan Mountcastle, who went 0-for-4 with a sac fly in the ninth inning Friday night, is not in tonight’s starting lineup for the Orioles, getting a rest day. At least to start. But manager Brandon Hyde hinted during his pregame media session that there could be something else contributing to Mountcastle’s absence from tonight’s lineup.

“He’s banged up,” said Hyde. “We’re getting to that point now where, he’s got lot of at-bats, lot of games under these guys’ belts, and he’s pretty banged up. Just want to give him a day and hopefully he’s available off the bench today.”

When asked whether Mountcastle is just dealing with “bumps and bruises” or anything more significant, Hyde said “bumps and bruises.”

Mountcastle has just two hits his last 31 at-bats over his past eight games. He has not homered his last 19 games. In 22 games this month he is batting .191/.231/.298/.528. and that is after he posted a robust OPS of .959 in June.

Hyde also today had an update on right-hander Tyler Wells, who went on the injured list after his last start, Wednesday against the Rays, when he gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings.

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O's used familiar script to get the road trip off to a strong start

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CINCINNATI – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde had seen this script before. His team’s pitching was pretty good from beginning to end. His team’s offense put together enough quality at-bats late to pull out a win.

This time the Orioles, tied 2-2, needed a four-run ninth inning to beat Cincinnati 6-2 in the opener of a three-game series and six-game road trip.

Now, a year after losing 110 games, the Orioles are 51-49 and at .500 or better at the 100-game mark for the first time since their last playoff season in 2016. And now, as they try to become a surprise playoff entrant for 2022, they are just two games behind Tampa Bay for the final AL playoff spot.

The pitching held up long enough for the offense to show up and the Orioles posted their 23rd comeback win after trailing 2-0 through five innings.

“Our bullpen, we’re down 2-0 and Kyle (Bradish) goes five and we put up zeroes the last four,” said Hyde. “They’ve allowed our offense (to come back), even on nights we’re struggling to be able to stay in the game. We’re dangerous offensively. I still think we can get better offensively. Our at-bats usually later in the game are very good and our bullpen, for me, is the reason. They’ve been great at keeping the score right there.”

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O's score four in the ninth to rally past Cincinnati (updated)

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CINCINNATI – It was another night of good Orioles pitching, but the Birds eventually needed someone to come up with a clutch hit. Tied 2-2 in the ninth tonight, center fielder Cedric Mullins delivered the needed hit.

Mullins produced a two-run single to center to break a 2-2 tie and lift the Orioles to a road-trip opening 6-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the series opener in front of 23,658 at Great American Ball Park.

"I give a lot of credit to our guys throwing and keeping us in games," said Mullins. "You know we had a rough start and Tony came up big to tie the game and I was able to pick up a big hit late. I think it is a matter of staying focused and believing somone will come through."

The O’s were 0-for-9 on the night with runners in scoring position until Mullins drove in his 41st and 42nd RBIs. Righty Buck Farmer was on the mound for Cincinnati to start the ninth in the tie game and walked Ramón Urías. Ryan McKenna pinch ran and scampered to third on a double into the right-field corner by Rougned Odor.

Then after a shallow fly out by Jorge Mateo, Mullins, who was 0-for-4 on the night, singled on a first-pitch changeup. The O's then got some good fortune. Trey Mancini's grounder up the middle hit the second-base bag and went for an RBI single to make it a 5-2 lead.

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O's game blog: The road trip begins in Cincinnati against the Reds

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CINCINNATI – The Orioles begin a six-game road trip tonight that will take them through the trade deadline, which arrives next Tuesday. Tonight, they begin a weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park and then they move onto Texas for three games starting Monday night.

The Orioles (50-49) just took three of four from the Tampa Bay Rays winning 3-0 at home Thursday afternoon as right-hander Jordan Lyles and three relievers teamed on a four-hitter. Lyles improved to 7-8 with a 4.56 ERA, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless against Tampa Bay. It was his second scoreless outing of the year and he has allowed just one home run all season over 53 2/3 innings at Oriole Park.

Félix Bautista got the last four outs – three via strikeouts – to record his third save. Over his past eight games, Bautista has thrown 8 2/3 scoreless and hitless innings with one walk to 14 strikeouts. Opponent batters are 0-for-25 against him in this span.

Trey Mancini’s dramatic, two-run, inside-the-park homer gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead in the Baltimore eighth. It was his 10th homer of the season and first-ever inside-the-park homer. It was the first such homer by an Oriole since Austin Hays at Philadelphia Aug. 11, 2020. And it was the first inside-the-park homer at Oriole Park since Robert Andino did it versus Boston on Sept. 26, 2011.

The Orioles begin this trip having won three of four, four of six and 15 of their last 20 games. They have also won 20 of 30 and 26 of their past 40. The Orioles are 29-19 since June 1 and 43-35 since May 1. They improved to 29-20 at home where they are 12-3 in their past 15 games.

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Brandon Hyde pregame in Cincy on the rotation, Mountcastle and more

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CINCINNATI – As the Orioles begin their latest road trip and look to move two games over the .500 mark tonight, they turn to right-hander Kyle Bradish to make his first big league start in over a month.

Bradish (1-4, 7.38 ERA) rejoins the rotation tonight, coming off the injured list after dealing with right shoulder inflammation. Tonight he makes his first start for the Orioles since allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings on June 18 versus Tampa Bay.

Bradish, who is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two interleague starts, made two rehab outings for Double-A Bowie on July 9 and 14 and pitched eight scoreless allowing just one hit. Last Sunday, in a rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk at Durham, he gave up two runs and four hits over 4 2/3 innings.

In those games Bradish threw 36, 66 and 80 pitches.

“Kyle had his last rehab start a few days ago," manager Brandon Hyde said today in the O's dugout. "He feels well, it went good. We have a need in our rotation right now and it allows us to push back Dean (Kremer) a day which I think is a positive. Hopefully Kyle can come back up here in the big leagues and work ahead in the count and throw strikes. We love his stuff and his stuff definitely plays up here. Now it’s about working ahead in the count.”

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Trey Mancini's teammates on the player, person, trade buzz and that homer

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Not every day at the ballpark is eventful, and not every day is created equal. Yesterday, for instance. It was a special day to be at Camden Yards, especially in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Needing a win to go over .500, take three of four from the Tampa Bay Rays and go 5-5 in a 10-game stretch versus the Yankees and Rays, the Orioles got one. A 3-0 shutout over the Rays to get to 50-49. Game No. 100 comes tonight in Cincinnati and the Orioles will be, at worst, a .500 team contending for a playoff spot.

But when Trey Mancini lifted a fly ball to right field with Austin Hays on second with one out in the O's eighth, it looked like what could be his last at-bat at home as an Oriole would go down F9 in the scorebook. But right fielder Josh Lowe lost the ball in the sun, it hit him in the face and Mancini circled the bases, beating the relay home for a thrilling two-run, inside-the-park homer.

Just when the O’s needed a big hit, they got one. From Mancini. On Mo Gaba Day. On the anniversary of the day Mancini lost his dear friend two years ago. On the day he caught the ceremonial first pitch from Mo’s mom, Sonsy, on Mo Gaba Day at the ballpark.

It was an amazing Mo-ment.

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O's game blog: The homestand finale

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The Orioles' four-game series with Tampa Bay and seven-game homestand conclude today with an early afternoon game versus the Rays.

The Orioles won the first two games of this series by 5-1 and 5-3 scores, and the Rays won 6-4 in 10 innings last night on Randy Arozarena's two-run double in the 10th. 

Tampa Bay (53-45) ended a four-game losing streak and improved to 24-19 versus American League East teams and to 22-27 in road games. The Rays are now 8-6 in extra innings. This season, 55.1 percent (54-of-98) of Tampa Bay’s games have been decided by two runs or fewer, and they are 27-27 in such games. 

The Orioles (49-49) begin play today in fourth in the AL East, 1/2 game ahead of Boston (49-50). The Rays now hold the third wild card spot in the American League and lead Cleveland by 2 1/2 games for that spot, with the Orioles and Chicago White Sox four games back and Boston 4 1/2 out.

The Orioles fell to 7-4 in extra innings and to 3-1 versus the Rays this year in extra-inning games after Wednesday's loss.

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