Orioles fly ball bounces off Rays rookie's head, turns into inside-the-park HR

After years as an AL East doormat, the Baltimore Orioles have found new life this season. That continued on Thursday, with a little help from the Tampa Bay Rays.

In the eighth inning with Baltimore leading 1-0, Orioles designated hitter Trey Mancini hit what should have been a routine fly ball for Rays right fielder Josh Lowe for the second out of the inning. We say "should have," but instead, well, it's probably better if you just see what happened:

Losing a fly ball in the sun is embarrassing for an outfielder, but taking a ball of the noggin added injury to insult for the rookie Lowe, as well two runs for the Orioles to make it a 3-0 ballgame. It was center fielder Roman Quinn who eventually corralled the ball after an unfortunate bounce further into right field.

Quinn's throw to home actually beat Mancini, but was just a little too off-target for catcher René Pinto to make the tag. The play wasn't even recorded as an error for Lowe, as scorers are typically very generous to fielders with balls lost in the sun or lights.

The Orioles would complete the shutout a half-inning later, winning to improve their record to 50-49. Mancini went 2-for-4 with that homer accounting for his two RBI.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JULY 27: Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 27, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Trey Mancini hit a very odd home run against the Rays. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) (Greg Fiume via Getty Images)

Something similar happened to the Red Sox

Somehow, that isn't even the most mortifying fly ball lost by an AL East outfielder this month, as Boston Red Sox center fielder Jarren Duran was left helpless when a ball from the Toronto Blue Jays disappeared into the Fenway Park lights (a recurring theme this season).

Say what you will about Lowe's blunder, at least it didn't lead to an inside-the-park grand slam. And at least the Rays didn't allow 28 runs.