SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles loaded the bases three times tonight without scoring, including the eighth inning when the first three batters reached. They put two runners in scoring position with two outs in the ninth and came away empty.
It served as the recipe for a 1-1 tie with the Twins.
The game ended after regulation instead of the teams playing a 10th inning. No one complained.
Jake Ring struck out to send everyone home and make the Orioles 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. They stranded 14.
Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes Jr. retired six of the seven batters he faced and allowed one run and one hit, a groundball double down the left field line by Kennys Vargas.
“Very professional, does a lot of little things well,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Good start for him. I thought we pitched well today for the most part. I was happy with him. As advertised. Kind of carried over a lot of things that we liked about him.
“He’s got a talented hand, he’s got some good body control, he’s very athletic and he can locate pitches. The thing you can’t test analytically, he’s got some moxie. He’s got a feel for the competition.”
He’s also got a sidearm slider that barely registers on the gun.
“A guy like him, you can’t really have an ego about pitching,” Showalter said. “If he was smug, he’d say, ‘Check out the numbers.’ It’s a matter of seeing if it will play at the next levels. He’s a guy who’s going to do a lot of little things to potentially make you trust him.”
Catcher Austin Wynns entered the game in the top of the seventh inning and homered off left-hander Gabriel Moya in the bottom half to tie the game. Chance Sisco, also competing for a backup job, hit a three-run homer yesterday and had a passed ball today in Clearwater.
Asked about Wynns’ homer, Showalter said, “I almost called that. I was getting ready to call that one and I didn’t get it out of my mouth, so I don’t get credit for it.
“He doesn’t have to show you. It’s just a quiet ... That’s what people like about him. He’s engaged all the time. You can tell he really loves what he’s doing and he’s not going to leave any stone unturned to try to make it happen.
“People like him. Pitchers like him, managers like him that he’s played for. And that comes from a lot of things he brings. He’s got a chance to be a real trustworthy player.”
Manny Machado had two hits for the Orioles, including a leadoff single in the sixth that was followed by an Adam Jones single. Trey Mancini was robbed of an extra-base hit and at least one RBI on a nice running catch by right fielder LaMonte Wade, Mark Trumbo struck out, Craig Gentry walked to load the bases and Joey Rickard struck out.
Wade attended St. Paul’s and the University of Maryland.
Trumbo had an infield hit, walk and fielding error tonight.
Beckham finally had a chance to field a ball with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, fielded it cleanly and made the throw across the diamond. It was only a matter of time.
Showalter removed his starters in the top of the seventh inning. Left-hander Tanner Scott retired the side in order with a strikeout.
Tim Melville tossed two scoreless innings and Stefan Crichton escaped a jam in the eighth by getting a double play after a walk and single. Left-hander Josh Edgin retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.
Dylan Bundy served up a grand slam against the Phillies in Clearwater and was charged with five runs in two innings in a 9-6 loss.
“I thought Dylan was good over there today,” Showalter said. “He got a wind-blown home run and four or five pitches that were strikes that were called balls. It’s that time of year for umpires, too.”
Note: Austin Hays hasn’t played due to a sore lat. He took batting practice today and will serve as the designated hitter Sunday against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.