Naturally, he reached base.
The Lakeland, Fla., native is now 8-for-18 with three doubles, three home runs, six RBIs, six walks and five runs scored against the Rays this season. His 1.676 OPS versus the Rays leads the majors.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first after Nick Markakis led off with a single, moved to second on Alex Colome’s wild pitch, took third on Adam Jones’ grounder to the left side and scored on Chris Davis’ grounder into the teeth of the Rays’ infield shift.
Markakis is now 107 hits behind Boog Powell for fifth place on the club’s all-time list. Yes, I’m still counting.
A routine run-scoring ground ball could have a big impact on Game 1.
Lots of baseball left, but it’s worth noting that the Orioles are 28-8 this season when scoring first.
It’s also important to point out that the Rays stormed right back and grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the second against Kevin Gausman, who had allowed two runs in his last three starts totaling 19 innings.
Gausman walked James Loney with one out and Brandon Guyer followed with an RBI double. Guyer scored on Matt Joyce’s single, a bouncer into left field.
Gausman threw 13 pitches in the first and 19 in the second.
Interestingly, Gausman’s fastball was mostly in the 90-94 mph range until he faced No. 9 hitter Jose Molina, who struck out on a 96 mph heater. Gausman topped out at 97 during the at-bat.
Over the last three games before today, the Orioles scored three runs in the first through seventh innings and 10 runs from the eighth until the end.
Wei-Yin Chen opposes former Oriole Erik Bedard on Saturday, and Miguel Gonzalez opposes Alex Cobb in Sunday’s series finale.
Update: Gausman has walked a season-high four batters in four innings and trails 3-1.
Gausman also has hit a batter. He’s fortunate that Caleb Joseph has thrown out two runners trying to steal and Davis made a diving stop to rob Sean Rodriguez in the fourth.
Gausman’s command is off. He’s thrown only 38 of 76 pitches for strikes.
Since tossing six shutout innings against the Rays on June 18 at Tropicana Field, Gausman has thrown one inning and 23 pitches at Triple-A Norfolk and thrown a bullpen session at Double-A Bowie. Must not have kept him sharp.
Maybe that’s just a convenient excuse, but he doesn’t resemble the same pitcher today.
Update II: Gausman is charged with five runs in five-plus innings, with seven hits, four walks, one strikeout, a wild pitch and a hit batter. He threw 95 pitches, 50 for strikes.
Gausman was removed after back-to-back doubles by Guyer and Joyce, and Guyer scored on Sean Rodriguez’s single off Evan Meek.
Update III: Manny Machado hit his fifth home run, and his first since June 6 against Oakland, to reduce the Rays’ lead to 5-2 in the seventh inning.
Reliever Brad Boxberger struck out three in the inning. Just not Machado, who has eight hits in his last 19 at-bats.
The Orioles have scored in the eighth inning or later in seven straight games. They need to keep the streak alive.
Update IV: So much for the streak. The Orioles lose Game 1 to the Rays 5-2.
The Orioles were trying to tie their season high by moving six games above .500. They were 20-14 on May 10.
Meek threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two. Brad Brach threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out four.
Chris Tillman opposes Jake Odorizzi in Game 2.