08/29/07 12:40 AM ET
Rays use huge inning to top Orioles
Tampa Bay comes back with 11 runs in historic eighth
By Jeff Seidel / Special to MLB.com
But that's when everything changed in a very big way.
The Rays tied a club record by scoring 11 runs in that inning to rally for a 15-8 victory over the Orioles in the first game of a three-game series on Tuesday night before 17,781.
Baltimore held a 6-3 lead heading into the eighth inning, when Tampa Bay turned everything around. The Rays sent 15 batters to the plate, with nine straight hitters reaching base, as part of the nine-hit inning against four Orioles pitchers. The team record is 10 straight batters reaching base.
Everyone in the Rays' lineup reached and scored in the eighth inning, and the 15 runs in the game was a high for this season.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon definitely enjoyed the big inning, especially because his team did it by stringing together a bunch of hits, something he feels is better in the long run.
"They're easy to take," Maddon said. "We've been on both sides of this event, and it was nice to be able to do that tonight. The difference in that inning for us, if you've watched us all year ... [is] we normally rely on the home run, [but] there was a lot of singles."
The bottom line is the inning was another disaster for an Orioles bullpen that's had a few in the last week. They were a big part of the history-making 30-3 loss to the Rangers here last Wednesday, and everything just seemed to snowball again in Tuesday's 11-run inning after starter Daniel Cabrera (career record of 6-0 vs. the Rays) shut them down for six innings.
"Yeah, I thought the full moon was last night, not tonight," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley. "When you bring four pitchers in in one inning, you know you are in trouble. It's that simple."
The big hits for Tampa Bay (52-80) were from Jonny Gomes (two-run double), Carlos Pena (two-run single) and Greg Norton (pinch-hit two-run single). Dioner Navarro drew a bases-loaded walk, while Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton and Delmon Young each had RBI singles. Brendan Harris had an RBI groundout.
Upton finished with two hits in the inning and went 3-for-5 on the night. He started the big inning with a leadoff single to center off Jim Hoey (1-3), and everything took off from there.
"That's the first time I've ever seen anything like it," Upton said. "We just wanted to put a couple runs up that inning. I just wanted to get something started leading off that inning, and it just snowballed after that."
Gomes said the big inning should give people a few messages.
"It just shows the potential of all our hitters," Gomes said. "We're never out of it, and we're taking the [at-bats] one by one, regardless of the score. There's a lot more going on on our side than just hits. It's fun to have that. We've been on the back side of that a couple times this year, [but] it's good to see that, and we've got the potential to do that more."
Tampa Bay had scored 11 runs in an inning once before, on May 28, 2000, against Seattle -- also in the eighth inning. The Orioles added two runs in the bottom of the eighth, an inning that would up taking one hour, one minute all by itself.
Crawford led the way overall by going 2-for-6 with three RBIs. Pena was 2-for-5 with three RBIs, while Gomes, Navarro and Norton each drove in two runs. Tampa Bay finished with 15 hits on the night and went an impressive 9-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
Amazingly, the Rays won the game Tuesday night despite allowing six homers. Miguel Tejada hit two, and Baltimore (58-72) twice got back-to-back homers, but the big inning was more than enough for the Rays and winner Scott Dohmann (3-0).
Tampa Bay starter Jason Hammel allowed three runs in the first inning, but he recovered to throw well enough for six innings, giving up five runs on six hits, including three homers.
The victory also ended a nine-game Tampa Bay losing streak in Baltimore, part of a four-way tie for the longest active road skid in the Major Leagues. The Rays hadn't won at Oriole Park since June 1, 2006, and this victory stretched the Baltimore losing streak to seven games.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.