After two great games with pretty explosive offense and more than solid starting pitching efforts, I didn’t think the Orioles would be able to pull together another win, the 3rd in a row, to win their first series since June.
However, and thankfully, I was wrong. Even with the horrific and shocking news of Mike Flanagan’s death (more on that in the next post), the Orioles went out there and played like a contending team for the 3rd game in a row. And it started with Guthrie.
Guthrie, who wears the same number as Flanagan did when he pitched for the Orioles, showed us the stuff he had in April. He threw 7 innings and gave up only 5 hits and 1 run with 5 strikeouts. Prior to last night’s game, he had a total of 5 strikeouts in his last 3 starts as well as giving up 16 earned runs in those outings. He got into some trouble in the first inning giving up a triple followed by a walk and hitting a guy to load the bases with 2 outs but he was able to get Jim Thome to ground out. Man, every time the Twins offense has a chance of having a big inning against the O’s in this series, it seems like Thome is the one at the plate and he never comes through. The only run he allowed came in the 3rd when he gave up back-to-back doubles. After that, he got 13 consecutive outs.
The offense was red-hot again last night as the O’s pulled together a 5-run 5th inning that started off with Mark Reynolds hitting his 28th home run. After Jake Fox singled, Nolan Reimold hit an RBI triple, making the score 2-1. Hardy singled followed by Nick Markakis getting a walk to load the bases with one out. Adam Jones, who was back in the line-up after being in the hospital the night before, flied out before Matt Wieters hit a 2-run double. Wieters has been super hot as of late. Finally.
Mike Gonzalez pitched yet another hat trick, striking out the side in the 8th. He’s struck out every batter he’s faced in this series. The last run to score was in the 9th when Hardy scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-1. Then, Jim Johnson pitched the 9th and after giving up a 2-out double, got the last out of the game.
I’m not sure if the O’s are just playing really well because they’re playing the Twins. I mean maybe as soon as they’re done this series. Or maybe, somehow, things are getting back to how they were in April. We’ll be able to tell starting Friday night when they host a 4-game weekend series against the Yankees, including a Saturday double-header to make up for a postponed game. If the O’s can play remotely like they are now, then it looks like things may be looking up. Hopefully they finish out this last month strongly and have something to look forward to for next season.
Today, Jo-Jo Reyes (6-10, 5.44) gets the last start in the series. My guess is the remainder of his starts are try-outs to be part of the rotation next season. The Twins have none other than Francisco Liriano on the mound (9-9, 4.85), who’s been their bright spot in their most recent 5-18 skid. Do I dare mention the almighty “S” word? I think not.