“If I was the Orioles, I’d be really upset giving up two runs in three games and only winning two,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “They’ve got to be leaving here very upset about that.”
Gonzalez, who allowed a career-high seven runs in 2 2/3 innings in his last start against the Rays (56-52) just 11 days ago, went seven innings for the first time since his first career start, a seven-inning, one-run, three-hit effort in Anaheim.
He said he was energized by pitching against Price.
“He’s always been a great pitcher,” Gonzalez said. “He did a great job today and I like someone that is out there and he’s aggressive, so I’m going to be aggressive, too. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to keep working and keep getting better.”
After allowing a B.J. Upton double on his second batter of the game, Gonzalez didn’t allow another hit until the Carlos Pena’s single to lead off the seventh inning. He did strand three runners in scoring position, two of them placed there by walks.
After Darren O’Day pitched a perfect eighth, Showalter went with a lefty-vs.-lefty matchup to open the ninth, inserting Troy Patton to pitch against Matt Joyce, but Joyce reached on a nubber to the left of home plate that Patton charged and threw wildly, drawing Reynolds off the bag.
But after pinch hitter Sean Rodriguez bunted Joyce over to second, Orioles right-hander Luis Ayala stranded the winning run at second. Jeff Keppinger hit a comebacker to the mound and Ayala caught Joyce in a rundown between second and third. Keppinger was able to reach second in the rundown, and Pena was intentionally walked, but Ayala needed just three pitches — low 90s fastballs — to strike out Ryan Roberts swinging.
The Orioles bullpen tossed three scoreless innings, capped by Jim Johnson’s perfect 10th inning for his 32nd save of the season.
“During the season, we’ve won a lot of games in extra innings, so I think we have a great bullpen and a great team,” Ayala said. “The difference between a lot of baseball [teams] is who makes great plays in tough situations. We’re trying to do our best.”