MLB Team Report - Baltimore Orioles - INSIDE PITCH


BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles have relied heavily on the long ball for their success this season. However, their strong defense might be just as important.

The Orioles entered Tuesday's game with Tampa Bay tied with Cincinnati for the best fielding percentage in baseball (.988). Baltimore will be without two Gold Glove winners for the rest of the season -- third baseman Manny Machado and catcher Matt Wieters -- due to injuries, but it continues to play well in the field.

The Orioles threw out or forced three runners at the plate in Tuesday's 4-2 win over Tampa Bay. Starter Wei-Yin Chen gave up six hits in the first two innings, but he escaped with just one run being scored because the Orioles threw out a runner at the plate in each of those frames.

"We feel like if we play defense, it gives us a chance," catcher Caleb Joseph said. "It gives our pitchers more angles to wiggle around some things when we make good plays."

Baltimore turned a 5-3-2 double play in the first, getting center fielder Desmond Jennings at home on a good throw from first baseman Steve Pearce. In the second, center fielder Adam Jones nailed catcher Ryan Hanigan at home after a Jennings single.

Pearce often plays left field or DH but fills in at first when Chris Davis is out or moves to third. Davis has shifted to third much of the time to fill the hole due to the loss of Machado.

In the sixth, Davis made a play at third that looked like something Machado could do. With the bases loaded and one out, Davis came in and bare-handed a slow grounder from Jennings and threw to Joseph for a force play to keep the game tied.

"Even our guys coming off the bench...have made some good plays," Joseph said. "It's good for us, and something we take pride in."

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MLB Team Report - Baltimore Orioles - NOTES, QUOTES


RECORD: 75-55

STREAK: Won two

NEXT: Rays (LHP Drew Smyly, 8-10, 3.44 ERA) at Orioles (RHP Kevin Gausman, 7-5, 3.81 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--LHP Wei-Yin Chen started slowly and never got on track Tuesday. He gave up six hits in the first two innings, allowed just one run because the Orioles threw out two runners at the plate, and lasted just 4 2/3 innings. Chen gave up two runs on seven hits with no strikeouts and three walks.

--CF Adam Jones threw out a runner for the second consecutive game. Jones nailed C Ryan Hanigan at home plate to end the top of the second inning following a single from CF Desmond Jennings. On Monday, Jones robbed DH Evan Longoria of a three-run homer with a leaping catch and then threw out LF Matt Joyce trying to advance to second base.

--RHP Ubaldo Jimenez still could have a shot at getting a start, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said on Tuesday. Jimemez, sent to the bullpen last week, made his first appearance there in long relief against the Cubs Saturday and had a good four-inning stint. But Showalter said the Orioles would still look at Jimenez for a start if the situation presented itself.

--C Caleb Joseph, who has hit much better in the second half of the season, came through again. He got a two-run single in the fourth, went 2-for-4, and helped in the sixth-inning tie-breaking rally with a single. "I thought Caleb made some plays defensively...and he called a good ballgame. Plus, he mixed in a couple key hits," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.