The O’s win their second in a row against the Red Sox to take the series. As for fans attending the game tomorrow, like me, bring your brooms for the sweep!
This was another good game and big win for this team. Guthrie was on fire tonight. He went 6 innings giving up 7 hits but no runs, his second shut-out of the season (his first being against the Rays in the season opener) and with six strikeouts. What a game for Guthrie. I would have liked to see him go another inning, but his pitch count was at 111 due to hitters fouling the ball back so many times in the at-bats. In the 3rd, he struck out the side including Ellsbury on a looking strike, which was his 12th looking strike out of the season, the highest in the league. Unfortunately for his, again, great game, he gets the no decision. Why? The bullpen did not show up.
Accardo came in in the seventh and retired the side. In the 8th, he gave up a single and a walk and so Showalter pulled him. I was a little surprised, I though Buck would let him stay in a little bit more to see if he could get out of it. But, he brought in Clay Rapada who gave up an RBI single to his first faced batter, Gonzalez. Bucky immediately pulled him out and put Koji in, I good decision I thought. Boy was I wrong. I don’t remember the last time Koji did anything like this. His first batter faced, Youkilis (have I mentioned that I hate him>) hits a 3-run homer to tie the score 4-4. Koji didn’t even watch the ball, he knew it was out the moment Youkilis hit it. Buck left Koji in though and he got the 3 outs (after surrendering another walk, his 4th in 7 innings this season).
Onto good, individual plays. Lowrie singled to right field with David Ortiz on second and JD Drew on first. Ortiz was sent home, testing Markakis’ brilliant arm, who made an absolute perfect throw to Wieters at the plate to get Ortiz out at home. I have no idea why Ortiz ran for him. He’s aging, fat, and slow and the single was a shallow one. Wieters had him beat by at least a full second at the plate. It seemed like a really bad decision on the Red Sox part (but good for the O’s!).
Onto the offense. It was there when the O’s needed it, and that’s how you win games. In the 4th, Derrek Lee gets a double when he hits a routine pop fly in shallow right. Pedroia, Lowrie, and Ellsbury all go to it and form a triangle around it but the ball falls right in the middle of them. Luke Scott follows with his third homer of the season to the flag court giving the O’s the 2-0 lead. Adam Jones comes up and hits a homer, his 5th. It barely got out of the park and I thought Crawford would have it, but the ball bounced off of a fan and back onto the field to give the 3-0 advantage to the O’s. This is the run support I was talking about that Guthrie needed. It turns out he only needed the first one but good thing they got the other 2 because the Sox came back to tie it up. The 3-0 lead also gave him a good margin for error, which he ended up not needing tonight, but it’s definitely a good thing to have.
In the 5th, the O’s went up 4-0. Wieters was the lead-off batter and got a single followed by an absolutely perfect bunt down the third base line by Andino, even with Youkilis 5 feet onto the grass. Beckett then threw a wild pitch advancing Wieters to 3rd and Andino to 2nd so B-Rob came up and hit the sac fly to send Wieters home.
Then we go to the 8th, tied at 4. Markakis gets a single. Derrek Lee gets a single (man, is he starting to get hot). Daniel Bard throws a wild pitch, advancing both the runners to scoring position. Bard throws ANOTHER wild pitch and Markakis is sent home, but he is called out by the ump (good call) on a good play by Bard. Markakis slid head first to home plate but his left hand got caught up by Bard’s foot being in front of the base (this was probably accidental) allowing Bard to tag Markakis before he could reach the plate. I thought the inning would end tied after this, but Vladimir Guerrero came through when he needed to, getting an RBI single to score the winning run (Lee advanced to 3rd on the wild pitch Markakis was called out at home on).
Gregg came in and got the save by retiring the side in order.
This is such a confidence builder for the O’s. They’ve won two in a row and against the Red Sox. They’re starting to win “normal” games. They scored first in this game as well (they have a much better record when scoring first) but allowed it to get tied up. They still got the win and only by a margin of one run (another good thing for a team’s confidence). If they can secure the sweep tomorrow, it will do wonders for the team who is heading into a 7-game road trip starting Friday. They play a 4 game set against the White Sox followed by 3 against the Kansas City Royals. The Sox are facing problems of their own, with a 10-15 record and sitting in last place in the AL Central whereas the Royals are even at .500 with a 12-12 record and in second place in the AL Central. This is a good opportunity for the O’s to win some games and get back up in the division. The O’s are currently 10-12 (I’m hoping to be .500 by Tuesday) and 3.5 games back behind the Yankees in the division.
Oh and by the way, somehow Koji got the win tonight even though he gave up the 3-run homer that tied the game. I’m feeling for Guthrie right now, he deserved this win so bad tonight. Also, it seemed like there was at least as many O’s fans there tonight as there were Red Sox fans. When chants of “Let’s Go Red Sox!” started up, they were followed by an onslaught of even louder boos by the Orioles faithful. I’ll be able to give more insight on this, the Orioles-Red Sox fans ratio, tomorrow when I attend the game.