Give away an out with a bunt in search of a run the way the Orioles did in the second inning, and that one run is usually all you’ll get.
The Orioles got their run, but didn’t have another hit the rest of the game as the Rays shut them down again in a 7-1 loss to Tampa Bay that represented the Orioles’ fourth straight loss overall and extended their club-record road losing streak to 15 games.
That second-inning run came when Austin Hays walked to begin the inning, was bunted to second base by Freddy Galvis, advanced on a groundout by Maikel Franco and scored on a two-out single by Pat Valaika.
Manager Brandon Hyde, who twice this year has criticized players for bunting in similar man-on-first, no-out situations, didn’t in this case. He said Galvis was just trying to make something happen.
“Just trying to put that guy in scoring position,” Galvis said. “I trust the guys behind me—Franco and Pat—and we got the run there. We have to play to get some runs. It’s been tough, especially with that staff that they have. You have to try to create some runs.”
A Rays staff that held the Orioles to 11 hits over this three-game series stymied any further attempts to do that. Trey Mancini walked in the third inning, but the Orioles didn’t have another base runner after that, finishing the game with just two hits.
“We just didn’t score,” Hyde said.
Because of that, the three runs allowed in 5 2/3 innings by rookie Bruce Zimmermann were moot. He wasn’t at his best, but threw a career-high 95 pitches in lowering his ERA to 4.83.
Travis Lakins Sr. stranded a runner for Zimmermann in the sixth inning but allowed two to reach in the seventh. César Valdez relieved him for a strikeout and an automatic walk before allowing a grand slam to Randy Arozarena that gave the Rays their 7-1 advantage.
Zimmermann’s steady stretch
Zimmermann, who was raised in Woodstock and Ellicott City, wasn’t exactly pitching poorly when he was sent down to Triple-A Norfolk at the beginning of May, but he’s been a far better pitcher since he returned.
With Sunday’s outing, the former Loyola Blakefield and Towson University standout has a 4.25 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in six appearances since returning to the majors. He gave himself a B- for how he pitched Sunday, but feels better about things overall.
“Since I came up, I have felt more comfortable after stringing together some decent outings,” he said.
Hyde said: “He’s getting some nice experience right now. I’m impressed with Zimm and his pitchability. Right now, he doesn’t have an overpowering fastball. The changeup just is a little bit inconsistent at times, the curveball also sometimes inconsistent but he’s got a good slider and he’s able to get through major league lineups by changing speeds, starting guys off differently, not being predictable. He’s doing a really good job in his rookie year.”
Just two weeks ago, Mancini missed a pair of games after being hit by a pitch on the right elbow in Chicago. That unpleasant pain returned when he took a fastball from Michael Wacha off that same elbow in the first inning.
This time, however, Mancini remained in the game. He was the only Orioles player to reach base twice.
Around the horn
Hyde said before the game that Monday’s starter would likely come from Triple-A Norfolk. Right-hander Dean Kremer is a candidate, having not pitched since Tuesday. Lakins was optioned to Norfolk after the game, presumably to create a roster spot for that Monday starter. ... Cedric Mullins was given a rare day off Sunday, with Hays starting in center field in his stead.
Monday, 7:10 p.m.
Latest Baltimore Orioles
TV: MASN2 Radio: 105.7 FM