Alexander Wells got an unexpected start, and he nearly had a win. Tanner Scott allowed a two-out, two-strike single to Austin Meadows that scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Orioles 5-4 on Wednesday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
With a 4-3 lead in the ninth, Scott (3-4) allowed a leadoff single to Francisco Mejia and struck out Joey Wendle. Mike Zunino walked, and Randy Arozarena lifted a pop to short right field.
First baseman Ryan Mountcastle and second baseman Pat Valaika both chased it, collided, and the ball fell for a single, loading the bases.
“I called it pretty late there,” Mountcastle said. “I didn’t know Pat was over there. Here at the Trop, you can’t really put your head down and run. You’ve got to stare at the ball the whole time so you don’t lose it. I think we were both doing that. It was sort of a tough play for both of us, and unfortunately, collided a little bit and let it fall. It’s a tough play, I think.”
Vidal Bruján struck out, and Meadows singled to center, scoring Mejia and pinch-runner Kevin Kiermaier for the win.
“Tanner’s been throwing the ball great,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That was my first time putting him in the ninth inning in that kind of situation.
“[Tyler Wells] was down today, so Tanner was going to close that game if it was a save situation. We were one strike away. Give Meadows credit for putting the ball in play with two strikes against a left-handed pitcher. That one hurts.”
Collin McHugh (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win for Tampa Bay (57-39).
The Orioles (31-64) nearly had a winning road trip. After winning two of three at Kansas City, they lose two of three at Tampa Bay.
“We’re putting guys in spots they really haven’t been in,” Hyde said. “We don’t have high-end, back of the bullpen guys.”
Wells found out about the start in a phone call at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday night from pitching coach Chris Holt. He called his family back in Australia, who set their alarms for 2 a.m. Thursday morning to catch the game.
“I tried to get some sleep last night,” Wells said. “I’m glad it was a day game because I didn’t have much time to think about anything and just get out there and get going.”
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first. Cedric Mullins led off with a double and scored on Austin Hays’ double.
Arozarena hit Wells’ second pitch for his 12th home run leading off the bottom of the first to tie it, and Wendle’s RBI triple in the second gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead.
Valaika homered against Michael Wacha in the third. It was his second home run, and his first since May 5 when he homered during John Means’ no-hitter.
Mountcastle homered in the fourth, his first since June 28, his 15th of the season to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
Arozarena hit his 13th homer within the backside of the fifth to tie it at 3. Arozarena has seven homers, 17 RBIs and is 17-for-37 (.459) in opposition to the Orioles in eight video games this season.
Mountcastle’s RBI single in opposition to Matt Wisler scored Trey Mancini within the prime of the sixth, and the Orioles led 4-3.
Wells was eliminated after he struck out Brandon Lowe and retired Ji-Man Choi on a liner to left for the primary two outs within the sixth.
“He actually competed,” Hyde stated. “Doesn’t have the fastball that he’s going to blow by folks or the plus-plus stuff. He does compete with what he has and did a pleasant job commanding the baseball after the second inning.”
He allowed three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, placing out seven and strolling two.
“Third inning onwards, I felt quite a bit higher,” Wells stated. “As a substitute of making an attempt to nibble across the plate, I went on the market and attacked the zone, like I usually do.
“Understanding that my stuff can play right here offers me confidence going into my subsequent look.”
Cole Sulser struck out Mejia to finish the sixth. He allowed a one-out triple to Brett Phillips within the seventh, and was changed by Dillon Tate, who struck out Arozarena and retired Bruján on a grounder to 3rd.
Notes: After a day without work on Thursday, the Orioles host the Washington Nationals for 3 video games this weekend. Jorge López (2-12, 6.04) begins on Friday evening. Spenser Watkins (2-0, 1.65) is Saturday evening’s starter. That recreation will start at 6:35 p.m. The Orioles haven’t named their starter for Sunday. The primary 15,000 followers 15 and over will obtain an Orioles’ classic T-shirt on Friday, and a Jim Palmer bobblehead shall be handed out to the primary 20,000 followers 16 and over on Saturday. …Konner Wade (2-1) allowed a run on 4 hits in six innings as Triple-A Norfolk beat Gwinnett 2-1 within the first recreation of a doubleheader. Designated J.C. Escarra hit his third residence run.