Second inning dooms Orioles in 7-1 loss (Blach optioned)

As he stood outside the clubhouse for his pregame media scrum, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde talked about the importance of left-hander Ty Blach providing length tonight. Of the need to protect a "beat up" bullpen.

Hyde has one fewer reliever with a four-man bench, and he used three last night following the rain delay. He's being careful with Hunter Harvey.

He didn't issue a challenge to Blach. More like a plea.

"It's a little dicey," Hyde said. "I'm going to keep him out there as long as he can possibly go."

Blach-PW-sidebar.jpgBlach in black didn't work out. He lasted only four innings, allowing all seven of his runs in the second, and the Orioles lost again to the Rays, tonight by a 7-1 score before an announced crowd of 14,762 at Camden Yards.

Rays starter Trevor Richards allowed only two hits in six scoreless innings and the Orioles fell to 41-88 overall and 20-46 at home. They've dropped 15 of 18 games and avoided their eighth shutout of the season on Jonathan Villar's home run in the eighth inning.

Eleven batters strolled to the plate in the second inning, and Austin Meadows capped the scoring with his first career grand slam. Blach produced the following:

Walk, strikeout, single, RBI double for Kevin Kiermaier, strikeout, two-run single for Mike Zunino, walk, infield hit, Meadows slam, double, popup.

The infield single for Tommy Pham was a killer. Hanser Alberto made a diving stop, jumped to his feet and fumbled the ball. The Rays kept batting and Blach served up the pitching staff's 261st home run to extend the major league record set last night.

The Rays tried to expand their lead in the fourth on Jesús Aguilar's two-out double, but Pham was thrown out at the plate after DJ Stewart retrieved the ball in the left field corner and hit Villar as the cutoff man.

Blach has made three starts with the Orioles since they claimed him off waivers from the Giants on Aug. 3, and he's allowed 18 earned runs (19 total) and 21 hits in 13 1/3 innings.

Hyde said he'd prefer to stay with his five current starters after rosters expand next month, but any stretch of poor outings is going to lead him to consider changes.

The Orioles turned double plays in the fifth and sixth innings with Dillon Tate on the mound. Tate was recalled today while reliever Shawn Armstrong went on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain.

Going three innings made Tate a hero of sorts. He didn't let the game get out of hand. A position player didn't take the mound.

For a while it appeared that the Orioles were headed in that direction.

Anthony Santander doubled with two outs in the first inning and the Orioles didn't get another hit until Stewart doubled with two outs in the fourth. Stewart singled off reliever Aaron Slegers with one out in the seventh, but the shutout bid remained intact.

Villar cleared the center field fence against Slegers with two outs in the eighth for his 18th home run.

Gabriel Ynoa retired all six batters he faced, and had four strikeouts

A banged-up bullpen did its job. Blach was scored upon in only one inning. But it made all the difference.

Update: The Orioles optioned Blach after the game. They need a fresh arm and they don't need a fifth starter with two off-days next week.

Hyde said Armstrong should be ready to come off the injured list after 10 days.

"I don't see him missing much time after the 10 days," Hyde said. "He got checked out today. The medical people feel confident that he should be OK after the 10 days is up."

Hyde on the one bad inning: "Before the grand slam I thought there were just some unlucky things that happened. Zunino, the two-out bloop to right for a single, the chopper down the left field line. (Blach) was making pitches, trying to limit the damage, and then the grand slam, obviously, was a big blow. But threw a couple nice innings after that.

"Dillon Tate threw three great innings and Gabby Ynoa two really good innings. So those last five innings were some of the best innings we've pitched all year. They were aggressive and our guys were making pitches early in the count and got some double play balls. Nice defense. So yeah, just one bad inning."

Hyde on Tate: "It's a 94-97 at times tonight sinker, with a slider. I thought he threw Meadows some really good changeups. Obviously has a really good arm. Now it's about not walking guys and being able to get groundball double plays like he did tonight and being more consistent with his pitches. But he's got the stuff to pitch in this league and I thought he looked great tonight.

Tate on good results and covering three innings: "I think covering the innings portion is the most important thing. In that situation you're just supposed to come up and eat innings for the team, and I was glad I was able to do that."

Tate on what he learned in Triple-A: "I think it was more so about being aggressive up there and attacking the hitters with my best stuff, and to the best locations, so getting more reps with that helped."

Tate on whether he's enjoying relief role:

"It's been good. Can't complain. Just looking to help the team more and more any way I can."

Tate again on results vs. innings: "The results are good, but it's a team game and everything like that, so getting those innings covered was the biggest thing tonight, and just save some more arms and get some more wins down the road with some guys because guys are fresher. So that's what it's all about."

Blach on second inning: "I just felt like the longer the inning got, the worse my execution got, and I couldn't put them away with two outs there. Two outs, one run in, you can deal with that. I couldn't make a pitch with two outs."

Blach on recovery after second: "You've just got to get back in the strike zone and attack and try to let the defense make plays for you."

Blach on his three Orioles starts: "I feel like the numbers don't necessarily show how well I threw the first two outings. Today I got two outs and I've just got to make one more pitch somehow and get through that inning. For the most part, I feel like I'm really close, but the numbers haven't shown it."

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