Where else can a team be credited with a home run when a ball hits a "C ring" above the outfield? Carlos Pena set the Devil Rays' single-season home run record with a two-run shot in the seventh that broke a 4-4 tie. His homer, off reliever Jim Hoey, struck one of the circular catwalks inside Tropicana Field as right fielder Nick Markakis tried to camp under the ball near the wall. He played the carom and threw toward the infield, but Pena recorded his 35th homer.
It's a start
Never before had left-hander Kurt Birkins started a major league game until last night, but it probably felt like a long relief outing. Birkins went four innings, allowing four runs and six hits and throwing 71 pitches, 41 for strikes. He left with the score tied. The Orioles gave him a 4-0 lead, but Tampa Bay scored three runs in the third after loading the bases with none out - getting the last two runs on Delmon Young's two-out single, and another run in the fourth on Dioner Navarro's single.
The Orioles didn't hit many balls hard against Devil Rays starter James Shields while scoring four runs in the third inning. Melvin Mora reached on an infield hit, diving into first base to beat shortstop Josh Wilson's throw. Tike Redman's bat shattered on a looping single to left. After Brian Roberts reached on Wilson's error - on a ball that should have resulted in a double play - Corey Patterson grounded a single into left to score two runs. Miguel Tejada added a sacrifice fly.
The Orioles send out one of their rookie starters tonight, but he seems like a veteran compared to some others. Jeremy Guthrie makes his 30th appearance tonight, and his 24th start, opposite Tampa Bay left-hander Scott Kazmir. Guthrie has been vulnerable to home runs over the second half. Kazmir has won his past two starts against the Orioles, though he allowed four earned runs (five total) in five innings last week. Overall, he's won four of his past five starts.