On Sunday, the Orioles fell behind 3-0 in the first inning and could not overcome the early deficit. Today was quite different.
Down 3-0 in the first on the road against Tampa Bay, the Orioles stormed back with two runs in the fourth and five in the fifth to beat the Rays 7-3 at Tropicana Field.
The Orioles are 75-62 overall, 30-37 on the road and 10-3 versus the Rays as they begin a nine-game road trip in the win column.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez allowed a three-run homer in the first inning to Logan Morrison but was outstanding after that. He pitched a complete-game two-hitter and retired the last 17 batters and 25 of the last 26 he faced today.
Jimenez pitched the Orioles’ first complete game since Sept. 3, 2014 when Miguel Gonzalez shut out the Cincinnati Reds. It was the ninth career complete game for Jimenez and his first since 2011. He improves to 6-11 with an ERA of 6.19. He has pitched to an ERA of 2.70 over his last four starts.
Chris Davis hit his 34th homer and another run scored on a wild pitch in the fourth. An inning later, the Orioles put runners on first and third with no outs, but they were still there two outs later. However, a series of clutch two-out hits followed. They included Davis’ two-run single for a 4-3 lead, Mark Trumbo’s RBI single for a 5-3 edge and Jonathan Schoop’s two-run single for the 7-3 lead.
After going 4-for-30 with runners in scoring position in the series with the Yankees and 7-for-60 over the past 10 games, the Orioles were 4-for-6 with RISP in the fifth inning.
In the second game of this series on Tuesday night, Yovani Gallardo (4-7, 5.62 ERA) faces right-hander Jake Odorizzi (9-5, 3.56 ERA).
Today’s game blog: The Orioles (74-62) begin an important nine-game road trip this afternoon when they play the first of three games against the Tampa Bay Rays. They face a Rays team that is in last place in the division at 58-77, but has a winning record since the All-Star break and is 12-8 its last 20 games.
Tampa Bay is 24-23 since the All-Star break while holding the majors’ third-best run differential at +57. They had an American League-worst -74 run differential before the All-Star break and went 34-54. Over their last 16 wins, they have outscored opponents 118-37.
The Rays went 3-24 from June 16-July 16, the worst 27-game stretch in club history and worst by an AL club in a season since the Tigers began the 2003 season 3-25. Apart from that, they are 55-52.
Tampa Bay just took two of three from first-place Toronto, losing 5-3 on Sunday when going for a sweep. The Rays are 9-7 this year versus the Blue Jays. The Rays are 34-38 at home and 16-8 their last 24 home games.
So any thoughts that the Orioles will just roll through this series are probably off-base. In its last three AL East series, Tamba Bay has gone 2-2 versus Boston, 1-2 against Boston and 2-1 versus Toronto.
On the mound today, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (5-11, 6.46 ERA) faces right-hander Matt Andriese (6-6, 4.19 ERA).
Jimenez has allowed five runs over 17 2/3 innings in his past three starts for an ERA of 2.54, with five walks and 15 strikeouts. In six games since the All-Star break, he is 0-2 with a 3.51 ERA with 11 walks and 22 strikeouts over 25 2/3 innings.
Andriese gave up seven runs and 10 hits in four innings in his last start versus Boston. He allowed career highs in runs and hits and gave up seven extra-base hits. In his past 14 games (seven starts), he is 0-6 with an ERA of 5.47. In six starts in August, Andriese went 0-4 with a 7.76 ERA, allowing nine homers over 29 innings.
Wells wins: Left-handed pitcher Alexander Wells was named the team MVP for this season by the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds. The 19-year-old Wells, from Newcastle, Australia, is 4-5 with a 2.15 ERA over 13 starts.
He has pitched 62 2/3 innings, allowing 48 hits and just one homer. He has walked nine and fanned 50 with a .215 batting average against. Wells allowed zero or one run in seven of his starts. In eight home starts at Ripken Stadium, he went 4-0 with an ERA of 1.66.
More farm notes: Today is the final day of the minor league regular season and no O’s teams will make the playoffs after Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie did last year, with Bowie winning the Eastern League championship.
Norfolk enters play today with a 61-82 record, having gone 33-39 at home and 28-43 on the road. The Tides got off to a slow start this season, as Norfolk found itself with a 21-43 mark after the first 64 games of the year. However, Norfolk has gone 40-39 over its final 79 games.
At 56-85, Bowie will come up short of 60 wins for just the fourth time in 24 years in team history. Also, Bowie’s run of 10 straight seasons at .500 or better will end. This is the Baysox’s first losing year since 2006.
Single-A Delmarva is the only O’s farm club that will finish with a winning record at 72-66. Single-A Frederick is 67-72, Aberdeen is 31-43 and the rookie-level Gulf Coast League O’s went 27-32.
Catcher Yermin Mercedes, who began the year at Delmarva and is now with Frederick, is batting .343 to lead all O’s farmhands. He has enough at-bats to qualify and will win the South Atlantic League batting title, even though he hasn’t been with the Shorebirds since July 30. Frederick’s Aderlin Rodriguez leads the organization in homers with 26 and RBIs with 92. Frederick’s Jay Gonzalez leads the organization with 43 stolen bases.
Among the pitchers, Wells has the best ERA at 2.15. Bowie’s Matthew Grimes leads with 11 wins, Norfolk’s Jason Stoffel with 24 saves and Delmarva’s Cristian Alvarado leads the organization with 148 strikeouts.