Let’s face it…when we hear the phrase Cleveland rocks we generally associate it with The Drew Carey Show. I suppose one could even argue that it’s associated with a band such as U2 or Rod Stewart (who was playing Cleveland with Stevie Nicks last night). But if you throw the Orioles into the mix it’s going to leave most people scratching their heads for the most part. Not last night however, as the O’s came out guns a-blazing to defeat the Indians 10-2 at Progressive Field.
The score speaks for itself in a sense, however the O’s have quietly put up four quality starts in a row with Miguel Gonzalez’s effort last night. Gonzalez’s line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Both of the runs Gonzalez gave up were solo homers (Astrubal Cabrera and Jack Hannahan). Granted you never want to give up homers, however I think that most managers will take a solo home run here and there; especially when your offense has put up ten runs. Speaking for myself I’m fairly impressed with Miguel Gonzalez thus far. Over the past few years the Orioles have given several pitchers their first big league start and had them look good only to come back to earth. Gonzalez pitched a spectacular game in his first start, but lost his second. However in losing his second start (last Sunday) he didn’t exactly look horrible; a few mistakes here and there, but it was still a quality start. Then he looked pretty darned good last night again. Have the O’s found something in Gonzalez…perhaps one of Buck Showalter’s “nuggets?”
The Orioles took an early lead with Nick Markakis scoring on Derek Lowe’s wild pitch in the first, however the Cabrera homer tied it at one. Matt Wieters grounded into a Fielder’s Choice in the top of the third (scoring Jim Thome), which is pretty much when the competitive phase of the game ended. After Chris Davis was intentionally walked to load the bases Mark Reynolds made Cleveland pay by hitting a two-run double to give the Birds a 4-1 lead. One might say that was a good inning as it was, however Ryan Flaherty immediately followed that up with his first base hit in two weeks in the form of a three-run homer.
So when the smoke cleared in the third inning the Orioles had an 8-1 lead. The only drama left was whether or not “Big Jim” Thome (as Bill Ripken was calling him last week) would knock one out in his return to Progressive Field…and he did! MASN’s camera’s caught Thome smiling from ear-to-ear in the Orioles’ dugout after his fourth inning solo homer. Thome was drafted by the Cleveland Indians, and he was a staple of their franchise from 1991-2002. Speaking for myself, when I hear the name Jim Thome I associate it with the Cleveland Indians more than anything else. The Cleveland fans also seemed to applaud when he came to the plate, which shows a touch of class.
The only concern for the Orioles coming out of this game was that reliever Matt Lindstrom was hit on the kneecap by a Johnny Damon comebacker in the last of the 8th. Lindstrom was lifted after the trainers and manager Buck Showalter came out to see if he was okay. Lindstrom will probably have an X-ray done on his knee today to see if there’s any structural damage. Before Lindstrom left the field Damon went over to check on him, which I felt was pretty classy on his part. The Orioles will potentially have to make a roster move before tonight’s game because they claimed infielder Omar Quintanilla off of waivers in a trade with the NY Mets for a PTBNL or cash considerations. Quintanilla is a guy that could certainly help the Orioles right away given that he can play second base, so he might be someone that we see in the lineup frequently. The O’s also lost RHP Brad Bergesen yesterday, as he was claimed off of waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Best of luck to Bergy out in Arizona; I’d love to see him succeed at the big league level.
Chris Tillman will head back to the mound tonight in Cleveland as he tries to improve over his previous start which lasted 2/3’s of an inning. Tillman will be opposed by Cleveland’s Zach McAllister and his 2.43 ERA. The Orioles have to hope that Tillman’s more on point than earlier in the week, and that they still have some fire power left in their bats after last night. If Tillman can put together an outing similar to Gonzalez did last night and the Orioles can get some runs in, Cleveland might rock again tonight.
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