‘Sacrifice fly to end 11th inning’ sends BAL to PS for first time in 7 years…TB to PS for 5th straight year
The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays have both clinched postseason berths.
Baltimore extended its winning streak to two games with a 5-4 walk-off victory in extra innings against Tampa Bay at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, on Monday (April 18).
After starting pitcher Dean Creamer pitched five innings of two-run ball (one homer) with five strikeouts and one walk, Baltimore allowed the bullpen to tie the game and send it to extra innings. But in the 11th inning, Cedric Mullins hit a game-tying sacrifice fly to center field to win the game. At the plate, Aldley Rutherford went 3-for-5 with a double, home run, two RBIs and two runs scored to lead the Rays to victory.
For Tampa Bay, starter Zach Littell allowed one run on four hits with three strikeouts in 4⅔ innings. Closer Pete Fairbanks did not get the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with four strikeouts in two innings of blown relief. At the plate, Brandon Lowe (21st of the season), Tristan Gray (1st of the season), and Christian Betancourt (10th of the season) hit home runs in the loss.
With the thrilling come-from-behind victory, the Orioles advanced to the postseason for the first time in seven years after reaching the American League Wild Card Game in 2016. The Orioles improved to 93-56, extending their lead atop the American League East to two games over second-place Tampa Bay (92-59).
According to MLB.com, the official site of Major League Baseball, “Baltimore didn’t have high expectations before the season. Baseball stats site FanGraphs’ ZiPS projected the Orioles to win 80 games, three fewer than last season. But there was no doubt about it: from the first day of spring training, the Orioles gave a full demonstration of what they could accomplish in 2023. And they’re back in fall baseball for the first time since 2016.”
“Honestly, we didn’t have a lot of expectations coming into the season,” said head coach Brandon Hyde. The smart money was on the negative, saying they knew what kind of record we would have this year. I thought we were underrated. Everyone thought we were going to struggle this year and I was hoping our players would be a little upset with that prospect, the guys who played last year. I didn’t think those evaluations were purifying. I believed we were a good team,” he said of his team’s postseason run.
MLB.com wrote: “Baltimore began its rebuild in 2018 with the hiring of general manager Mike Elias and manager Hyde, and this year it has seen the light. In the first three years under Elias and Hyde, the Orioles went 131-253 for a .341 winning percentage. But they turned things around last year, winning 83 games and going 79-79. The key to Baltimore’s success is consistency. The Orioles have never lost more than four games in a row and have only had two four-game losing streaks. They also haven’t been swept in a series in 87 consecutive series, dating back to May 22,” he said in his analysis of the team’s success. 안전놀이터
Tampa Bay, which also lost the game, clinched a postseason berth as the third American League wild card, Texas, fell to Cleveland 2-9. This is the Rays’ fifth straight postseason appearance, dating back to 2019.
As MLB.com notes, “Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and the Dodgers are the only teams that have made the postseason every year from 2019 to this year. Houston, which leads the American League West, will likely join that list. “Tampa Bay became just the eighth team to reach the postseason five years in a row since the wild card was introduced in 1995,” he said of the Rays’ accomplishment. Tampa Bay, which was founded in 1998, has yet to win a World Series title. It has twice finished as runner-up, in 2008 and 2020.