Seven games into this young season, the Orioles have already matched up against Nathan Eovaldi, Gerrit Cole, Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow. It is a collection of some of the American League’s most electric starting pitchers — maybe a month’s worth of challenges for any offense, never mind one without some of its best players from a year ago.
And yet here the O’s are, not entirely unscathed but a game over .500 nonetheless after Saturday’s 5-4 win over the Rays in 11 innings at Oriole Park to put themselves in line to capture their first sweep of 2020. Baltimore’s win came courtesy of a team effort, with a Renato Núñez homer and RBI hits from Pedro Severino and Rio Ruiz backing a strong start from Wade LeBlanc — all before Pat Valaika scored Bryan Holaday with a walk-off single to right off Chaz Roe. Call it a triumph in the club’s first taste of the new extra-innings rule.
• Box score
Making his second start in an Orioles uniform, LeBlanc allowed little more than Mike Brosseau’s sixth-inning solo homer over 5 1/3 frames, striking out three against one walk. He won in part because the O’s grinded against Glasnow, chasing the right-hander after 4 2/3 innings. Baltimore battled back after its bullpen blew a three-run lead in the eighth, and Tanner Scott wiggled out of a two-on, two-out 10th-inning situation of his own making to set up Valaika's heroics.