Orioles right-hander Mike Wright delivered his second straight scoreless start to begin his major league career Saturday. But it ended up an afterthought in a 13-inning, 1-0 loss to the Miami Marlins that featured another sparkling big league debut by an Orioles pitcher and the startling ejection of lefty Brian Matusz for having a "foreign substance" on his right forearm.
Wright threw seven scoreless innings, bringing his total to 14 1/3 as a major leaguer, but he might have been upstaged by another dart-throwing rookie. U.S. Naval Academy alumnus Oliver Drake made his major league debut and threw three scoreless innings, struck out Giancarlo Stanton and made an excellent defensive play that kept the game alive.
And yet the night may be remembered in Orioles lore as the game in which Matusz was tossed in the 12th for having a foreign substance on his arm.
After two outs in the bottom of the 12th, Marlins manager Dan Jennings, in just his sixth game since leaving his general manager post to be Miami's skipper, approached the umpiring crew. Moments later, crew chief Paul Emmel walked toward Matusz and touched the pitcher's right arm. The umps then called for manager Buck Showalter, gave an explanation and Matusz walked off the mound.
A similar situation happened Thursday when Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith was ejected for having a combination of sunscreen and rosin on his non-throwing arm. Smith was subsequently suspended eight games -- so Matusz could be facing a suspension as well.
Matusz and Showalter didn't put up much of a fight; the decision forced T.J. McFarland into the game and he had to take his warmup pitches on the mound.
McFarland (0-1) struck out Christian Yelich to end the 12th, but lost it in the 13th on a bases-loaded, two-out single by Martin Prado. Showalter chose to intentionally walk Stanton to face Prado, who lined a ball into the right-center gap to snap the Marlins' eight-game losing streak. Adeiny Hechavarria scored to end the game nine minutes before the four-hour mark.
The Orioles (19-21) had a chance to get back to .500 for the first time since May 5. The Marlins (17-27) won for the first time in six tries under Jennings. The Orioles are now 1-1 in extra-inning contests this season.
After shutting out the Los Angeles Angels for 7 1/3 innings Sunday, Wright didn't yield a run in seven innings against the Marlins.
The last time an Orioles rookie began his career with that many scoreless innings was in September 1978 when right-hander Dave Ford, then 21, produced 15 straight zeros in his only two appearances of that season.
Wright wasn't the only rookie who shined.
Drake, who was called up Saturday and made his major league debut with a scoreless inning in the bottom of the ninth. In the 10th, he allowed two one-out singles and a fielder's choice.
With two outs, Drake made a tremendous play to push the game to the 11th.
On a 1-2 count, Drake threw a changeup that bounced in the dirt. Catcher Caleb Joseph blocked it, but the ball scooted away. Adeiny Hechavarria tried to score from third, but Joseph quickly grabbed the ball and threw to Drake, who blocked the plate with his foot and tagged Hechavarria on the arm.
Home plate umpire Jordan Baker called Hechavarria out, and a replay confirmed the decision.
The 25-year-old Wright, who was promoted May 13, was brilliant again. He gave up one hit in his first five innings Saturday. The first walk and the first hit-batter of his career happened in the fifth, but he kept the game scoreless with an inning-ending groundout.
The Orioles offense, however, didn't make it easy on Wright.
Marlins starter Dan Haren allowed two base runners in three of his first four innings, but the Orioles couldn't take advantage of the opportunities. They stranded seven runners and were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position through five innings.
With two outs in the sixth, Travis Snider doubled over Yelich's head in left field. Haren intentionally walked Joseph to face Wright, who singled to center.
It was the Orioles' first hit in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position, and it was delivered by a rookie who hadn't hit since the fall of his freshman year in college, more than six years ago.
The euphoria lasted a nanosecond. Snider attempted to score, diving and rolling headfirst at the plate while center fielder Marcell Ozuna threw a perfect strike to catcher J.T. Realmuto.
The ball reached the plate first and Realmuto appeared to tag out Snider for the third out. Replays showed that Snider might have rolled around the tag and touched home first, but the Orioles didn't challenge the ruling. There likely wouldn't have been enough evidence to overturn Baker's call.
That was it for Haren, who allowed seven hits and three walks in six scoreless innings The 34-year-old struck out six batters, including Chris Davis three times, in the no-decision.
He was outpitched by Wright, but the result was the same.
A former third-round draft pick of the Orioles in 2011, Wright faced the minimum through four innings. The only hit he allowed was a single to right by Yelich in the third. Yelich tried to take second when the hit bounced out of Delmon Young's glove. The right fielder recovered and threw to shortstop J.J. Hardy at second. Hardy held the tag as Yelich slid off the bag. Yelich originally was ruled safe, but the Orioles challenged the call and, after 2 minutes, 54 seconds, it was overturned.
The Marlins had a few opportunities, but Wright kept them off the board. In the seventh, he threw a 96-mph high fastball past pinch hitter Mike Morse with runners on the corners for his final out of the game.
Overall, Wright allowed three hits, three walks (two intentional) and struck out six while hitting a batter. In his two big league starts, Wright has given up seven hits, walked three and struck out 12 in 14 1/3 innings.