It’s Spring Training, so we’ll never know who would’ve won the extra-inning marathon. Saying it’s Spring Training doesn’t make the result feel less weird to report either.
After each team had the lead at least once, the Tampa Bays Rays tied the Baltimore Orioles 3-3.
Both teams have had solid Springs so far. Maybe it was fitting that two teams with near-identical spring records tie in this game.
A Scoreless Start
Asher Wojciechowski took the ball to start the game. Compared to his 2019 self, he looked like a completely different pitcher in the three innings he pitched against the Rays.
In 2019, Wojciechowski had a 4.92 ERA through 17 games pitched (16 starts). In his start today, he pitched three scoreless innings allowing no hits, one walk and striking out three.
Charlie Morton made his second start of the Spring for the Rays. Morton picked up where he left off last season, when he was a Cy Young Award finalist, by pitching 2 1/3 innings, allowing no walks and two hits. The two starters were sharp, taking the game scoreless through the first three innings.
Offense Crashes the Pitchers’ Party
The Rays got on the board first in the top of the fourth on a solo blast by Michael Perez off Bruce Zimmermann. Perez went on to have a day for himself at and behind the plate.
A day at the office for Michael Perez. pic.twitter.com/nIwc7AoXBT
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 2, 2020
The Orioles didn’t dilly dally in their response. Renato Nunez’s two-run shot off of Jalen Beeks gave the O’s the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. The O’s twitter account didn’t hesitate to get fancy with the camera angles for the homer.
outta here pic.twitter.com/QMsvVbvXTx
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) March 2, 2020
Bats were silent for both sides in the fifth. In the top of the sixth, Rays’ Ji-Man Choi decided to match Nunez with a two-run homer himself off the first pitch by Zimmermann to give the Rays a 3-2 lead. The Bird’s Chris Davis responded quickly by tying the game 3-3 on a sac-fly scoring Yusniel Diaz.
Pitching would refind its footing to hold the score where it was to finish the game with a tie.
Homer or Bust
Apart from Davis’ sac-fly, it took flexing the ole muscles to put runs on the board. Neither team exactly excelled at stringing runs together, but this part of the modern game: hit it over the fence or take a seat. Though Rays hitters only struck out eight times in the game compared to the Orioles’ twelve strikeouts.
The Rays and the Orioles tend to make a game out of it in the regular season – Twelve games were decided by 3 runs or less. That 10th inning this game didn’t get could make the difference once we reach the regular season.