MIAMI – What was stranger? Mike Wright pitching brilliantly for the second straight time? Or Oliver Drake throwing three scoreless innings in his major league debut?
No, it was Brian Matusz getting ejected from the game in the 12th inning for having a foreign substance on his arm.
T.J. McFarland, who replaced Matusz allowed a bases-loaded single to Martin Prado in the 13th as the Miami Marlins beat the Orioles 1-0 before 21,356 at Marlins Park on Saturday night.
Matusz entered the game in the 12th and got the first two outs, and at the request of Marlins manager Dan Jennings, was examined by the umpires.
Crew chief Paul Emmel summoned manager Buck Showalter to the mound, and Matusz was removed from the game. McFarland got the third out in the 12th.
It came in the same week that Milwaukee’s Will Smith was suspended for eight games for having a foreign substance on his arm.
McFarland (0-1) allowed a leadoff walk to Adeiny Hechavarria in the 13th. McFarland struck out Carter Capps (1-0) and Dee Gordon. Ozuna singled, and Giancarlo Stanton was walked intentionally. Prado drove a ball to center, and the Orioles (19-21) had a painful defeat.
"It's horrible. For me, it kills me because I know everybody out there did everything they could to win today and we played one hell of a game. That's the worst part for me. It hurts that I wasn't able to come through for the team. But we've got a game tomorrow and we can finish out the series with a win and put this one past us. But yeah, this is a tough one,” McFarland said.
Wright pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits. In his first two starts, Wright has given up just five hits in 14 1/3 innings.
That may be forgotten because of Matusz’s ejection. So might Drake, who after eight seasons of toiling in the minor leagues was called up on Saturday and delivered three scoreless innings.
Wright gave the Orioles a chance to win, but they had nine hits—and just two in the last seven innings against five Miami (17-27) relievers.
Before the game, Wright relaxed in the dugout, his earbuds on, reading his Harry Potter book. He ended up walking three, but two were intentional and hitting a batter. He struck out four in his seven scoreless.
“That’s what everybody’s striving for, so for me to get that really big. I wish we could have pulled out with a win. That’s the most important thing regardless of me going scoreless or not,” Wright said.
Drake allowed two hits in three scoreless innings in his debut. His highlight was covering home plate when a pitch to Marcell Ozuna ended up in the dirt just in front of home plate.
Caleb Joseph recovered the ball, and Drake scrambled to tag Hechevarria.
“It was kind of a blur. I just kind of saw the ball in the dirt. Caleb’s great. You have a 100 percent faith in him when you’re throwing a splitter down. Blocked it, kept it close and also saw the guy taking off from third, and I knew I had to get to the plate and got the tag on it,” Drake said.
Drake’s outing helped a tired Orioles bullpen which may more reinforcement because of a possible Matusz suspension.
“It was awesome. I’ve been dreaming of getting in these games ever since I was a little kid and so, I was thrilled when they told me get going, and I was in the game. I just went out there and did what I had to do to get them out and put up a zero,” Drake said
Wright also had his first major league hit, a sixth inning single that nearly scored Travis Snider, but he was thrown out at the plate.
“That was big. I was pretty excited running down to first. I felt for sure we were going to score, and unluckily, he made a really good throw, and they made a really good play to block him from scoring,” Wright said.
The Marlins broke an eight-game losing streak, five under new manager Dan Jennings.
Manny Machado, Jimmy Paredes and Travis Snider each had two hits. Chris Davis was hitless in six at-bats and struck out four times. He has 61 in 39 games.
Wright reflected on the unlikeliness of what he had just seen.
“Baseball’s a crazy game. I think everyone is going for a shutout every time. I would believe that part. Drake’s got really, really good stuff, so I definitely believe that part. It [stinks] what happens to Matusz. I didn’t see much. It [stinks] that it happened and he got ejected, but we’ll come back out tomorrow and try to be better,” Wright said.
MORE ORIOLES: Orioles pitcher ejected for foreign substance on arm