xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Orioles fall to Rays, 4-2, suffer just second defeat away from Camden Yards

José Iglesias, the Orioles’ veteran shortstop and lineup stabilizer, traveled with the team to face the Tampa Bay Rays in hopes of being activated off the injured list as early as Wednesday.

Manager Brandon Hyde will welcome that moment. In his absence, Hyde has had to choose between the glove of Andrew Velazquez or the bat of Pat Valaika at that pivotal position.

Advertisement

A leadoff error by Tuesday’s choice, Valaika, in the second inning sparked the game’s only big offensive inning as the Orioles lost, 4-2, to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

“Errors happen, and we’ve been playing fairly solid defensively, and Pat’s done a nice job at shortstop filling in,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I feel bad for him tonight — it wasn’t his best night defensively. But he’s done such a good job filling in wherever I’ve asked him to play.

Advertisement

“He’s gotten big hits for us. He’s been a real nice contributor for us this year, so I don’t fault Pat for the errors. Those things happen.”

Still, the fine margins these Orioles have been operating on made the errors and the ensuing runs that came in that fateful second inning costly.

Renato Núñez’s first home run in 15 games put the Orioles (14-15) ahead early, and Milone cruised through the first inning with two strikeouts.

But after the Orioles stranded two in their half of the second, the Rays got a runner of their own when Valaika’s errant throw pulled Núñez off the base on a ground ball by José Martinez.

Martinez scored on a booming home run by Hunter Renfroe, and Manuel Margot homered two pitches later. Milone labored some in getting out of the inning, but settled in to pitch into the sixth, allowing four runs and striking out six to bring his ERA to 3.99.

The fourth run he allowed scored on Valaika’s second error, which happened after Milone left.

The Orioles pushed across a run when Hanser Alberto singled, went to third base on a single by Chance Sisco, and scored on a single by Ryan Mountcastle for his first career RBI.

That would be all they managed, though. Rays starter Tyler Glasnow struck out nine of next 11 batters he faced after that Mountcastle single, leaving with a career-high 13 strikeouts. The Orioles didn’t have another hit until Núñez singled with two outs in the eighth.

“He was really on his game tonight,” Hyde said. “When you’re facing a starter like that that’s up to 97, 98 [mph], working with just a hammer of a breaking ball, it makes it tough on you offensively. A good ballgame. We just had a tough time getting any sort of rally together or making a whole lot of contact on Glasnow.”

Tommy Tunnels

Milone has been steady for the Orioles since his short start on Opening Day, and with 31 strikeouts in 29⅓ innings over six starts, he’s striking out batters at a higher clip than any point in his career.

He credits that to learning more about how his pitches move and work with one another.

“I think it’s tunneling pitches, better going up in the zone,” Milone said. “Once I realized I don’t throw hard but I had good ride on my fastball, I was able to go up in the zone, which kind of frees the down-and-away portion to righties, so I think that right there can probably attest to more strikeouts.”

Advertisement

Santander streak ends

Right fielder Anthony Santander entered with a career-high 18 game hitting streak, but went 0-for-4. He struck out in three of his four plate appearances.

Road run falls

Despite relievers Travis Lakins Sr., Paul Fry and Jorge López keeping the Orioles close with scoreless relief appearances, the Orioles lost for just the second time away from Camden Yards this year.

They entered Tuesday having won eight straight in true road games after an Opening Day loss to the Red Sox. They lost twice as the “road” team in their home ballpark against the Marlins earlier this month after the games were moved to Baltimore following Miami’s COVID-19 outbreak.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement