Game 33: A Tale Of Squandered Chances

By David Hill

The Rays had Dana Eveland on the ropes all night. However, they were unable to deliver the knockout punch.

Eveland escaped trouble all night in a performance Houdini would have been proud of, as the Tampa Bay Rays threatened in every inning except the first. In the top of the second, they would load the bases with no one out, but the Orioles escaped the inning giving up only one run on a 5-4-3 double play. The Orioles tied the game at one each when Adam Jones led off the bottom of the inning with his 10th home run of the season.

With one out, the Rays loaded the bases again in the top of the fourth inning. Elliot Johnson hit a single off Nick Markakis‘s glove in deep right field, scoring Matt Joyce to give the Rays a 2-1 lead. Sean Rodriguez attempted to score from second, and was gunned down at the plate for the second out of the inning. An intentional walk to Ben Zobrist reloaded the bases. Carlos Pena was hit by a pitch to extend the lead to 3-1. However, Eveland was able to get B.J. Upton to fly out to right to avoid further damage.

Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson continued to cruise along after the second inning, giving up one more hit and a walk until the sixth. With two out in the inning, Markakis homered to center, cutting the lead to 3-2. Hellickson ended the inning by striking out Adam Jones.

Eveland was done after the sixth, somehow only allowing 3 earned runs despite giving up 5 hits, 6 walks, and 2 hit batsmen over his 6 innings of work. Hellickson, meanwhile, went back out for the seventh. After getting two quick outs, he gave up a base hit to Chris Davis, prompting Joe Maddon to bring in Joel Peralta. Nick Johnson greeted Peralta by hitting his first home run in two years, scoring Davis and giving the Orioles a 4-3 lead.Hellickson ended with a tough no decision, going 6.2 innings, giving up 3 earned runs on 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 batters.

That lead would hold up, as Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson shut down the Rays over the final two innings to preserve the 4-3 win. With the loss, the Rays drop one game behind the surprising Orioles for first place in the AL East.