Scott can’t close door in 4-run 7th in­ning

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Jon Me­oli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli

Long af­ter this month’s trade frenzy is fin­ished, and likely long into the or­ga­ni­za­tional re­build the Ori­oles are about to be­gin, Tan­ner Scott will still be here.

More so than al­most any other player on their cur­rent ros­ter, Scott has the youth and po­ten­tial — not to men­tion a fast­ball that has bumped up past 100 mph this sum­mer — to carve out his role as a cor­ner­stone bullpen piece in Bal­ti­more.

None of that lessens the sting of nights like Fri­day, when he couldn’t close the door in Alex Cobb’s sev­enth in­ning and turned a tie game at Cam­den Yards into an even­tual 5-4 loss to a sim­i­larly strug­gling Texas Rangers team (41-54).

With just two games left be­fore the All-Star break, the Ori­oles (26-69) have lost three straight and 10 of12 over­all. That Fri­day’s de­feat can be chalked up to a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is lit­tle con­so­la­tion.

Scott, who has been touted as a po­ten­tial closer for the Ori­oles down the line, en­tered af­ter Cobb al­lowed a one-out sin­gle in the sev­enth. The left-handed Scott came on to face the left-handed Joey Gallo, who had home­red off Cobb for the game’s first run in the fifth in­ning.

The 23-year-old left-han­der got ahead 0-2 with a pair of fast­balls on Gallo’s hands, but af­ter a slider in the dirt and fast­balls off the outer and in­ner halves of the plate loaded the count, Scott put a slider into the va­cant bat­ter’s box to walk him.

Rangers man­ager Jeff Ban­nis­ter called on spare out­fielder Ryan Rua off the bench, and Rua de­liv­ered his first ca­reer pinch-hit home run two pitches later, putting the Ori­oles down 4-1.

Scott re­bounded to strike out Shin-Soo Choo af­ter a visit from pitch­ing coach Roger McDow­ell, but then walked Elvis An­drus on five pitches. He scored on No­mar Mazara’s dou­ble that ex­tended the Rangers’ lead to 5-1, and the Ori­oles’ Jhan Mar­iñez had to get the fi­nal out of the sev­enth in­ning.

For Cobb, it meant an­other tough loss in a sea­son full of them. He­andthe Ori­oles have nowl­ost in five of his eight qual­ity starts, and his 12 losses are the most in the ma­jors.

He has shown signs, off and on, all sea­son that will be a fine pitcher to have around dur­ing the re­main­ing three years of his con­tract.

But for as long as he’s needed to fol­low Cobb, Scott will be called upon in sit­u­a­tions like Fri­day’s. More will be ex­pected. He has been dom­i­nant at times, with an ex­plo­sive fast­ball and a slider that be­came a le­git­i­mate out pitch last sea­son help­ing him breeze through some ap­pear­ances. But when he doesn’t have it, it’s ap­par­ent quickly.

The Ori­oles have tried to fig­ure out how to make him more con­sis­tent. They were buoyed by the fact that he was far bet­ter at home than on the road, and be­lieved he’d im­prove over­all as he grew com­fort­able with life in the ma­jors. But Fri­day marked the sec­ond time this home­s­tand that he has strug­gled in his as­signed in­ning.

PA­TRICK SEMANSKY/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rangers pinch hit­ter Ryan Rua rounds the bases while get­ting con­grat­u­la­tions from third base coach Tony Beasley af­ter hit­ting a three-run home run in the sev­enth in­ning off of Ori­oles re­liever Tan­ner Scott.

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