The O’s won 9-2 in Baltimore last night against the Royals thanks to every person in the line-up either getting a hit, scoring a run, or both. 8 of the 9 runs scored came in the 4th inning, unfortunately for Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar. He actually pitched 7 innings in the loss, 5 of which were perfect. However, giving up 8 runs (7 earned) is not giving your team a chance to win the game and his one terrible inning, the worst of his career, proved to be enough for the O’s to win.
This was the Orioles first 8-run inning since June 26, 2009 against the Nationals. Before we delve into that awesome 4th inning, Jake Arrieta deserves some credit too. He went 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits. The 2 runs came on a walk followed by a 2-run shot by Melky Cabrera in the 5th. He walked 3 but also fanned 7, a number that’s becoming his average strikeouts-per-game or so it seems. He got the win and is not 6-2 with a 4.57 ERA. Jim Johnson then came in for the 7th and 8th giving up 2 hits, no runs, and striking out 2. Michael Gonzalez came in for the 9th and he actually had a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. Yes, he had a perfect inning. When was the last time that happened?
The only offense the O’s had besides the Mark Reynolds single homerun in the 7th off of relief pitcher Robinson Tejeda was in the 4th. And there was a whole lot of it: the inning started off with a double by Adam Jones. AJ went to 3rd with a single by Nick Markakis. Vladdy hit an RBI ground out also sending Markakis to 2nd. Matt Wieters was walked followed by an RBI double by Luke Scott, which also sent Wieters to 3rd. Wieters then scored on a wild pitch by Hovechar, making the score 3-0. Yep, there’s still 5 runs to go. Mark Reynolds walked putting him at first and Luke Scott at 3rd on the wild pitch. J.J. Hardy followed with an RBI single scoring Scott and sending Reynolds to 3rd. Ryan Adams was walked, loading the bases with only one out. Felix Pie hit an RBI single scoring Reynolds and keeping the bases loaded. With Adam Jones back up at the plate, he hit a 2-run single, scoring Hardy and Adams and sending Pie to 3rd. Nick Markakis hit a pop fly to get the 2nd out of the inning. Vladdy hit a fielder’s choice grounder and Pie scored on an error by the shortstop Alcides Escobar. Matt Wieters ended the inning with a ground out. 13 batters came to the plate in this inning and it was incredible for the O’s and horrible for Hovechar and the Royals.
With the win, the Orioles are on a 4-game win streak, winning 2 series in a row. 2 of the games were won in exciting fashion and 2 were won by way of routing the other team. The Orioles are on their biggest winning streak since the beginning of the season and both Nick Markakis and Vladdy have 10-game hit streaks. The offense seems to finally have figured itself out, at least against average teams, and the pitching is continuing to do enough to get wins. In their game this afternoon against the Royals, the Orioles look to get the sweep and to be .500 on the season. The current AL East standings look like this: Yankees in 1st place at 27-21, Red Sox .5 games back at 27-22, Tampa Bay 1.5 games back at 26-23, Toronto 3.5 games back at 24-25, and the O’s also 3.5 games back at 23-24.
The Orioles really seem to be getting themselves back in check and back on the right path to winning and as I’ve said in other posts, this next month is their chance to really stay close in the race in the division since they’re playing a bunch of around-.500 teams.