Hey, a salute to the Tampa Bay Rays. Hey, we are Orioles fans, why would we do that? The Rays aren’t the evil empire nor the Red Sox nor the Jays. Rather, they do things the right way by building up their farm system and dont invest too much cash in the free agent market. Don’t know what to make of their terrible start this year.
It was Sept 28, 2011 and the Rays needed a win over the Yankees to get into the playoffs. Of course that’s big day in Orioles history as well. The Red Sox simply needed to knock off the last-place Orioles to grab a playoff spot. That was the Curse of the Andino game (Robert).
Two strikeouts in the ninth with the Red Sox winning and then Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold laced doubles. And Andino brought in the winning run with a single.
So anyway in Florida, the Yanks had clinched and trotted out 11 pitchers for fun. They didn’t care. And their nutty plan worked. For heading into the eighth inning, the Yanks had a 7-0 lead. However, in the eighth, the Rays put a six-spot on the board, highlighted by Evan Longoria’s three-run shot.
Still, the Rays trailed by a run heading to the ninth. And then pinch-hitter, Dan Johnson, cracked a two-out homer to knot the game up at 7-7. It went to the 12th when Longoria hit his second homer of the game. It set off a tremendous celebration. Plus, It’s always fun to see the Yankees lose.
So the Rays have frankly been terrible this year and the Orioles wanted that to continue when they visited Florida this week. And wouldn’t you know it, game one was a loss on Monday. We got down early at 3-0. Adam Jones got us back in the game with a two-run bomb. It was even heading to late innings when Brian Matusz surrendered a homer to pitch-hitter Jerry Sands. Very sad if you ask me. Delmon Young answered back with his pinch-hit homer but we fell 5-4.
Tuesday’s game wasn’t much easier but at least it was a win. A five-run third inning broke the game open against former Birds lefty, Erik Bedard. Chris Davis had the big blow, a grand slam. Of course, Miguel Gonzalez gave some of the runs right back. The Rays crawled back to 5-4. Steve Pearce gave us some breathing room with a solo homer and it was a 7-5 win.
The third game of the series was a pitcher’s dual. Kevin Gausman did a great job of getting out of first inning trouble. It was really a Pearce double and a Nellie Cruz homer that decided this game. We won the series with a 2-0 win. Next up the Yankees.