I know, I know. We still have 159 games to go. But this is very exciting! Today Zach Britton won his first game ever as the Orioles swept the Tampa Rays to open the 2011 season. Britton pitched six innings giving up only one run, walking three and striking out six. He only had trouble in the third inning, where he walked the first two Rays to start. But instead of giving up a big inning, Britton only gave up the one run and pitched out of trouble. I am looking forward to seeing this young man pitch for a long time in an O’s uniform.
Britton was aided today by two of the new birds in the lineup. Britton left the game after completing the sixth with the score tied 1-1. As good as Britton had been all game, he was being matched by Wade Davis, the started for the Rays. After getting a run in the first, Davis held the Orioles scoreless – that is until the seventh inning. It felt like the O’s hitters really wanted to give Britton his first big league win. So they went to work. Matt Wieters led off with a single. Then Adam Jones got his first hit of 2011, a single that moved Wieters up to second. Then Mark Reynolds came up. I have to admit, I was thinking he should bunt. But this is why I am writing this blog and Buck Showalter is managing the team (and not vice versa). Reynolds scorched a ball into left field, about three feet in fair territory. Wieters scored. O’s up 2-1. With the infield in, Felix Pie grounded out, and the runners had to stay at second and third. J.J. Hardy came up and smacked one past the third baseman. Two runs scored. And that was all they would need.
The O’s scored another run in the 9th, on yet another RBI double by Reynolds. Jason Berken, Jim Johnson and Josh Rupe closed out the last three innings and Orioles are heading back for the home opener with a 3-0 record.
So, series recap:
The Orioles starters went 20 innings and gave up ONE run. That’s it. One lonely run.
Brian Roberts – five RBI – including that huge 3-run HR in game two.
Defense, defense, defense – Pie’s throw to the plate, Markakis’ awesome catch to save Saturday’s game, Lee’s snagging that shot at first
Clutch hitting – not a lot of hits, but hits when needed.
Looking forward to the next series – at home against the Tigers.
By the way – here is a Did You Know to ponder…
The last time the Orioles started the season 3-0 was in 1997 (that was the last time they went to the playoffs)
The last time the Orioles started the season on the road 3-0 was in 1970 (that year the O’s went to the World Series and beat the Reds).
So, you never know…