Orioles fight back, tie the Royals at 5-5 after six innings

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Update: The Orioles tied it in the sixth after Jonathan Schoop reached on a walk and Nick Markakis logged his third hit of the night with a single to right-center. Schoop stole third and Markakis advanced to second on an errant throw that glanced off of Schoop. Alejandro De Aza brought in Schoop for the tying run when he blooped a hit just behind the pitcher’s mound, out of the reach of a diving Alcides Escobar. We’re tied at five apiece going into the seventh.

Game 1 of the ALCS wasn’t going very well for the Orioles. The Royals jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning. The Orioles took a run back in the bottom half of the inning, but it was only the start of an arduous journey back to even footing. Even worse, starter Chris Tillman couldn’t even make it out of the fifth inning, as manager Buck Showalter called on Tommy Hunter to get the final two outs of the frame.

But you can never count out the Orioles’ powerhouse offense. As quickly as the Orioles fell down, they picked themselves back up. The Orioles’ first two batters in the bottom of the fifth singled. After Adam Jones grounded out to third base for the first out of the inning, Nelson Cruz ripped an RBI double off of the fence in left field. Steve Pearce then walked to load the bases for J.J. Hardy. Hardy worked the count full, then took a slider on the inside corner that was called for strike three by home plate umpire Tim Timmons.

Royals starter James Shields saw light at the end of the tunnel, a way to escape the jam having given up just the one run. But Ryan Flaherty wouldn’t let him off the hook that easy. Flaherty ripped a single to right field, scoring Jones and Cruz to cut the deficit to one run. Shields got Nick Hundley to line out to second base to end the inning. It’s a one-run game as we enter the latter half of the ballgame.

Cruz continues his run of success in the post-season. Entering Friday night’s game, Cruz carried a .297/.349/.710 slash line with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 149 post-season plate appearances. As if he needed to do anything else to assure himself a payday when he heads into free agency following the conclusion of the playoffs.

Blake Snell becomes client of Boras Corporation

Blake Snell
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Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.

Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”

Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.

Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.