When Manny Machado’s softly hit fly ball barely found grass under the glove of diving Rays left fielder Matt Joyce on Thursday, it meant a lot to the Orioles in so many ways.
First, it ended a 14-inning marathon and gave the Orioles a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Rays before 25,130 at Camden Yards and completed a sweep of the three-game series. But it also meant the Orioles weren’t a losing team any more and put them alone in first place in the American League East until the Yankees defeated the Red Sox on Thursday night to regain a share of the top spot…
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon pulled out a number of tricks in the later innings. He put in pitcher Chris Archer (0-3) as a pinch-hitter when Ryan Roberts fouled a ball off his leg in the 11th and had to come out.
That’s the first time an American League pitcher went in as pinch-hitter—Archer struck out—and stayed in to pitch since Boston’s Joel Finch on July 25, 1979…
The 20-year-old Machado keeps showing up at the right times for the Orioles. He doesn’t seem to be rattled by much, regardless of the situation.
“I’m having a blast,” he said. “This team is great to be around. It’s a great group of guys. We’re all excited. We’re all having one goal, which is to make the playoffs.”
The previous day, Machado did this in the top of the 9th, after which he scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th.
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