BALTIMORE—It was difficult to discern who the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays were. It’s Players’ Weekend in Major League Baseball, and for the occasion, the Rays were outfitted in home whites with names and numbers nearly impossible to read
The Orioles, who usually wear black tops on Fridays, wore all-black uniforms, making them resemble a softball team. Their names and numbers were only slightly easier to read.
Nicknames that the players used included the familiar, “Crush” for Chris Davis and Chance “Sisco Kid.” But there were others, “Boomer” for Trey Mancini, “Aqua Blanca” for Anthony Santander, Stevie Wilkerson’s “Breeze” and “Villa Hermosa” for Miguel Castro.
Whatever their names, the Orioles dropped a 7-1 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays, losing for the second straight night.
Ty Blach, who started in New York and Boston, pitched for the first time in Baltimore and allowed seven runs in a second inning when he faced 11 batters.
Austin Meadows’ 23rd home run, a grand slam, and Mike Zunino’s two-run single were the big hits.
“I just felt like the longer the inning got, the worse my execution got,” Blach said. “and I couldn’t put them away with two outs there. Two outs, one run in, you can deal with that. I couldn’t make a pitch with two outs.”
Blach, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game, has allowed 21 hits in 13 1/3 innings. He has a horrid 12.15 ERA in starts against New York, Boston and Tampa Bay.
“I feel like there’s a lot of good teams out there, obviously a lot of good hitters,” Blach said. “You’ve got to be able to execute pitches. You’ve got to be able to throw multiple pitches for strikes and work ahead. Otherwise, they’re going to beat you.
“I feel like the numbers don’t necessarily show how well I threw the first two outings. Today, I got two outs, and I’ve just got to make one more pitch somehow and get through that inning. For the most part, I feel like I’m really close, but the numbers haven’t shown it.”
After Thursday night’s rain-delayed game, manager Brandon Hyde hoped Blach would be able to give the Orioles an extended outing.
While Blach was flailing away in the second, neither pitching coach Doug Brocail nor Hyde visited the mound and the bullpen was quiet.
Dillon Tate, recalled before the game, warmed up later but didn’t come in until the fifth. Tate and Gabriel Ynoa combined for five scoreless innings.
“Those last five innings were some of the best innings we pitched all year,” Hyde said.
“They were aggressive and our guys were making pitches early in the count. Got some double-play balls. Good defense. Really just one bad inning.”
Trevor Richards allowed just two hits in six innings to the Orioles. Jonathan Villar homered with two outs in the eighth, his 18th, for their only run.
“I just felt like we were so aggressive early,” Hyde said. “I don’t mind being aggressive early, but I like to see some good swings on the baseball and I just felt like we just let him pitch. Made it too easy for him by just a lot of weak contact early in the count. Obviously, the game was two hours and [25 minutes], because we just made a ton of quick outs and didn’t make the pitchers work at all.”
Armstrong on the shelf: Shawn Armstrong was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained right forearm, retroactive to August 22. Armstrong was replaced on the roster by Tate, recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.
“I don’t see him missing much time after the 10 days,” Hyde said. “He got checked out today. I’m confident he should be OK after the 10 days is up.”
Tate pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Blach.
“I think covering the innings’ portion is the most important thing,” Tate said. “In that situation you’re just supposed to come up and eat innings for the team and I was glad I was able to do that.”
Minor awards: Bowie left-handed pitcher Zac Lowther was named to the Eastern League postseason All-Star team. Zach Jarrett, an outfielder now with the Baysox, was named to the Carolina League postseason All-Star team.