The Orioles are in the midst of a historically bad season with many lowlights that will likely be used in hospitals all over the country to help patients induce vomiting. But to those cursed with supporting this team, I bring good news. Baltimore showed on Sunday that the depths of their awfulness do eventually stop at a floor that’s not entirely humiliating, and that there’s enough competence on the team to, at the very least, not allow the Tampa Bay Rays to throw a combined perfect game against them.
Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough combined for eight perfect innings as the Rays took the Orioles into the bottom of the ninth, up 4-0. Stanek struck out the first two batters he faced before handing off pitching responsibilities to Yarbrough in the third inning. Yarbrough struck out five before giving up the first hit of the game to Baltimore’s Hanser Alberto on a single that beat the shift.
Momentum had swung back in favor of Baltimore so hard that those new to the Orioles experience might have even been tempted to believe that a rally was in the cards when Stevie Wilkerson came up with the team’s second hit of the game right afterwards. Even after Yarbrough struck out Chance Sisco—an incredible name, by the way—and reliever got Wilkerson out at second, Anthony Santander was able to hit an RBI single to right field, to prevent a shutout. Things legitimately started to look up for a brief moment!
But once that one and only run came in, the baseball gods decided that the O’s had experienced enough good fortune for a single day, and had Trey Mancini go down swinging to end the inning and the game.
Had the Rays been successful, it would have been the first combined perfect game in MLB history and given legitimacy to the idea of having an opener in a team’s pitching rotation. Such a shame that the mighty Orioles didn’t want to let that happen.