The Orioles have knocked Tampa's starter out early - but not in the usual fashion. Rays starter Jeff Niemann left tonight's game in the top of the second after getting hit high on the right shoulder by a Miguel Tejada liner. The ball was hit so hard it deflected on the fly right to the first baseman. You could see the concern on Tejada's face as the Rays trainer looked at Niemann, who thew a few warm-up pitches, then left the game. He had retired the first four hitters when he was knocked from the game. He threw just 12 pitches, 10 for strikes. Andy Sonnanstine is now pitching for Tampa. Last year, the righty went 6-9, 6.77 in 22 games, 18 starts. The O's hit him well last season when Sonnanstine was 0-2, 8.40 vs. Baltimore. He gave up 24 hits in 15 innings and a batting average against of .358 last year vs. the Birds. In his career, he is 2-4, 7.29 in nine games, eight starts vs. the Orioles over 42 innings. Update - Brian Matusz gave up two runs after walking the bottom of the order to load the bases with no outs in the last of the third. He did a good job to minimize the damage, but I can't figure out why he seemed to pitch so carefully to hitters 7-8-9 in the Rays order. That's what it looked like anyway. He has already thrown 66 pitches through three frames. He has walked four already, one more than Millwood and Guthrie combined in the first two games. You have to give the kid credit, for not giving up five runs there and for getting Zobrist and Longoria out with two men on base. Hopefully he finds his control as this game goes on.
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