Sunday, April 13, 2008

O's-Rays , Burres Pulls A Cabrera

Nice piece of hitting by Brian Roberts, working the count full and singling to the opposite field. Then Roberts gets a huge jump and steals second, as Rays starter Jeff Neimann (making his ML debut) falls behind Melvin Mora 3-0. After a couple pick-off attempts at second, Neimann walks Mora to put two on with none out for Kakes. Markakis gets ahead 3-1, but after another strike, Nick can't catch up to the fastball. That's Neimann's first career K. The big right-hander (6'9") has shown an ability to throw his curveball in any count for strikes. Millar pulls one to short, but the throw to second pulls the defender off the bag and everybody's safe. Aubrey Huff pops out to the catcher, and the Rays can get out of it if Neimann can get Luke Scott. And he does, as Scott flies out to deep right.

Brian Burres starts out by walking Akinori Iwamura. Crawford grounds to short, but the O's can only get one out because of his speed. Up next is Orioles killer Carlos Pena. Pena walks on five pitches, though some of the balls were very close. Carl Crawford gets a good jump and steals third. Hopefully Burres can do what Neimann did and get out of the jam. Beautiful curveball catches BJ Upton looking for the second out. Burres does get out of it, but it took a good play by Brandon Fahey at short. The pitch jammed the hitter and broke his bat. Both the bat and the ball went toward Fahey, who had to catch one and avoid the other before flipping to second to just barely get a sliding Carlos Pena.

Neimann settled down after a long first inning to set the bottom of the O's order down 1-2-3.

Burres throws another nice curve - this one to catch Evan Longoria looking. And another one, right on the outside corner (maybe a tad off it) to get Justin Ruggiano. A flyball to deep center ends the inning.

After B-Rob flies out to center, Melvin tests Evan Longoria's fielding with a bunt down the third base line. It was a great bunt, but Longoria played it well and made a strong throw that was just a bit late. Melvin Mora tries to test the catcher's arm and loses. Now there are none on and two out for Markakis, who lifts one into foul territory in left, and Crawford makes the running catch.

Three fly balls - three outs, for Brian Burres. There's a pitcher's duel going on in St. Petersburg.

Kevin Millar starts the third with a line drive past a diving Bartlett at short. A fly out and a pop out, and then Adam Jones strikes out for the second time, chasing a breaking ball in an 0-2 count. Still 0-0.

BJ Upton hit a couple balls hard and foul, and Burres ended up walking him with one out in the fourth. After a pop out, a ball gets by the catcher Quiroz. Upton tries to take second, but Guillermo makes a strong throw to get him and end the inning.

Quiroz then starts the fifth with a bloop up the middle for a single. Fahey sacrifices him to second for the top pf the order. The O's can't bring him in, however, and it's still 0-0.

Longoria walks to lead-off the fifth. Burres has walked 4, but wasn't given up a hit. Until now, as Ruggiano bloops one in front of Luke Scott in left. And a soft liner to left loads the bases with nobody out. Bartlett flies to short left, and Longoria doesn't try to score. A double play would get Burres out of the inning, but Iwamura is hard to double up. A line-drive to left on a 2-0 count gives the rays a 1-0 lead and the bases are still loaded. Another liner, this one to center off teh bat of Carl Crawford, plates two. 3-0 Rays. Burres drops down with the curveball to strike Carlos Pena out looking. I was just thinking "this would be a bad time for Upton's first HR of the year." And so it was, 6-0 Rays. Randor Bierd is coming in to pitch - maybe one hitter too late.

It's not that I don't think the team can come back (though it would surprise me if they scored more than 4 runs), but I have things to do, so I'm going to stop watching the game now. Brian Burres made a few nice pitches, but his control wasn't there, and it all kind of fell apart in the fifth.

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