Orioles try to rally, but Rays respond (O’s lose 9-8)

The Orioles were down, 7-1, and appeared to have no chance against Rays starter James Shields, but the momentum swung dramatically.

Three runs scored in the sixth and two more came across in the seventh, leaving the Orioles behind 7-6 as we headed to the top of the eighth.

Troy Patton was cruising along, having retired all six batters he faced. He fanned Chris Gimenez leading off the eighth, giving the left-hander a career-high five strikeouts, but Elliot Johnson and Ben Zobrist hit back-to-back home runs to expand Tampa Bay’s lead to 9-6.

The bullpen had retired 30 of 31 batters in this series before the home runs.

The Orioles scored two unearned runs in the seventh after another Rays error in this series, this one by second baseman Will Rhymes. Nick Markakis doubled in two runs off reliever Jake McGee, but Adam Jones struck out with the tying run on second base.

Markakis has two doubles and three RBIs today.

Xavier Avery is 0-for-4 in his major league debut. I thought manager Buck Showalter might pinch hit for him in the seventh with two on and none out, and with Wilson Betemit on the bench. Avery wasn’t bunting, and he took a called third strike.

Update: Nick Johnson hit his second homer in three games to leave the Orioles trailing, 9-7, as we head to the top of the ninth.

Pretty big tack-on runs by the Rays in the top of the eighth.

Update II: Another Tampa Bay error, this one on first baseman Carlos Pena, allowed Ryan Flaherty to score with two outs in the ninth, but Sean Rodriguez made a backhanded stop of Matt Wieters’ grounder and bounced a throw that Pena scooped out of the dirt. Game over.

Rays 9, Orioles 8.

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