Cedric Mullins hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 11th inning and the Baltimore Orioles edged the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 on Sunday after both teams clinched spots in the postseason.
The winner of this game would have wrapped up a playoff spot regardless, but when Texas lost 9-2 to Cleveland, both the Rays and Orioles were in. Adam Frazier then doubled in the tying runs off Pete Fairbanks, sending the game into extra innings. This was the first time the Orioles had tied the score with their last out. Adley Rutschman hit an RBI single for Baltimore in the 10th, and then DL Hall (2-0) threw a scoreless 11th, retiring the Rays on a popup and two grounders.
Ryan O’Hearn sacrificed the automatic runner to third for Baltimore, giving Mullins a chance to win the game. The Orioles won the four-game series and now have a two-game advantage over Tampa Bay in the AL East. Baltimore holds the tiebreaker against the Rays.
Tristan Grey homered for Tampa Bay in his second major league game in the eighth. Christian Bethancourt then hit a solo blast in the bottom of the inning to make it 3-all. Rutschman’s solo shot followed in the bottom, and Frazier’s left-field double tied it up an inning later.
The Texas vs. Cleveland game ended just before Frazier made it 3-all with a double down the left field.
10101010101010101010101010 Between the ninth and 10th inning, a message appeared on the scoreboard announcing that the Orioles were in the playoffs, to the delight of the crowd.
Harold Ramirez put the Rays up 4-3 with an RBI groundout in the 10th, but Tampa Bay couldn’t hold that lead, either.
Brandon Lowe hit his 21st home run of the season with one out in the first, but Orioles starter Dean Kremer allowed only one more hit in five-plus innings. Tampa Bay’s Yandy Diaz made a diving stop at first base in the third to rob Rutschman of a tying hit, but the Orioles scored an inning later.
O’Hearn hustled out a double when his comebacker caromed off Tampa Bay starter Zack Littell and went through the hole between second and third. Austin Hays scored after a single with two outs. The Orioles have made the postseason for the first since 2016. This is another milestone for their successful rebuild, fueled by an excellent minor league system. Baltimore was 110-119 in just two years before improving to 83 79 in 2022. This year, they took another huge step forward. Baltimore eventually passed them, but the Rays have been able keep winning even after losing their ace Shane McClanahan due to Tommy John surgery. Baltimore’s John Means (0-1) will start against Justin Verlander (11-8).
Tampa Bay is off Monday before a three game home series against the Los Angeles Angels.
Reporting by The Associated Press. John Means (0-1) starts for Baltimore on Monday night against Justin Verlander (11-8).
Reporting by The Associated Press.
Shohei Ohtani, who was placed by Angels on IL for the season, has been out.
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