The anticipation of the second grew round Tropicana Field. As Drew Rasmussen trotted to the mound for the ninth inning, Tampa Bay Rays followers rose to their toes, cell telephones in hand, ready to doc historical past.
But Orioles shortstop Jorge Mateo had different concepts. On the primary pitch he noticed from Rasmussen — a cutter left over the plate — Mateo turned his hips and ripped the ball down the left discipline line for a double. When he reached second base, the Orioles dugout applauded Mateo’s efforts, breaking apart an ideal sport with simply three outs remaining.
The groans from the gang led to an ovation. It ended after 24 batters — 24 batters who got here and went with out a lot of a risk — and Rasmussen nonetheless arrange the Rays for a 4-1 victory. But there was additionally a so-close, so-far aspec, because it turned the second time Tampa Bay has taken an ideal sport bid into the ninth inning earlier than it was damaged up. The final time, July 14, 2019, was a mixed effort. And that one, too, was foiled by the Orioles, who’ve by no means been concerned in an ideal sport.
Former Seattle Mariners ace Félix Hernández is the newest pitcher to succeed in perfection. The 10-year anniversary of the twenty first excellent sport in MLB historical past is Monday.
Soon after Mateo’s double, Rasmussen’s shutout evaporated, with Mateo scoring on a wild pitch. Rays supervisor Kevin Cash walked to the mound to interchange a pitcher that had flirted with perfection and — as so incessantly is the case — got here up simply shy.
Rasmussen completed his day with one run in opposition to him by means of 8 1/3 innings, permitting one hit and no walks whereas hanging out seven batters on 87 pitches.
In his final outing, Rasmussen was held to simply three innings, a part of a workload administration system for a 27-year-old pitcher who has already undergone two Tommy John surgical procedures in his profession.
Rasmussen’s unimaginable effectivity allowed him to work this deep into the sport. Before Sunday, his longest outing all 12 months was seven innings. He threw as many as 97 pitches as soon as, however that has not been a frequent pitch rely for him.
The Orioles managed simply two batted balls that left their bats at over 100 mph, and 12 of their first 18 outs got here on at-bats of three pitches or fewer. The longest at-bat in opposition to Rasmussen got here within the eighth inning when second baseman Rougned Odor labored an eight-pitch strikeout.
The implications Sunday — past the historic — additionally concerned the postseason race. With the loss, the Orioles fell 1 1/2 video games behind the Rays, farther from that closing American League wild-card spot. And Baltimore additionally misplaced the season collection in opposition to Tampa Bay, which has implications of its personal — ought to the groups tie within the standings, the tiebreaker goes to the Rays.
The Rays almost accomplished historical past by means of Rasmussen. Instead, they’ll need to accept a collection win and a leg up within the wild-card hunt.
One huge swing
Jose Siri didn’t transfer his toes. The Rays outfielder, standing close to third base, solely raised his arms as he turned his head to look at the blast off Randy Arozarena’s bat go away the yard in a rush.
Right-hander Jordan Lyles, then again, didn’t waste his time to see the place Arozarena’s ball landed some 400 toes away. He shook his head, paced across the mound and rapidly requested for a brand new ball to proceed considered one of his finest outings this 12 months — in addition to that one swing from Arozarena, a batter who had gone deep already this collection in opposition to the Orioles and as soon as extra in opposition to Lyles earlier this 12 months.
Barring that lengthy ball, which got here off a low, inside sinker that Arozarena dug out, Lyles notched a season-high 9 strikeouts. He pressured 14 whiffs, in response to Statcast. And Lyles virtually received out of that third inning unscathed, after a single and double left two runners in scoring place with no outs.
Lyles labored a strikeout and popout, however as a substitute of strolling Arozarena with a base empty, he went after him. It didn’t work, and as his pitch rely rose to 87 within the fifth inning, Hyde changed Lyles after 4 1/3 frames. And after inheriting two runners, right-hander Joey Krehbiel allowed one to attain.
Around the horn
>> First baseman Ryan Mountcastle isn’t anticipated to wish a stint on the injured checklist after he was hit on the aspect of his left hand, though he’s thought of day-to-day with the damage. Mountcastle examined his swing and throwing previous to Sunday’s sport however wasn’t in a position to play. Without him, Tyler Nevin performed first base, and utilityman Terrin Vavra practiced grounders there pregame.
>> During an look on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, government vice chairman and common supervisor Mike Elias acknowledged shortstop Gunnar Henderson is “on the radar screen” over the ultimate month and a half of the season. Henderson, the No. 1 prospect within the nation, per Baseball America, has a .959 OPS within the minors this season getting into Sunday.
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