Somehow I have to wonder if Oriole starter Zach Britton listened to Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On on his way to the ballpark last night. Britton had some hiccups early in the game for sure, but little by little he settled down very nicely. Britton’s line: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K. Britton’s sinker was sinking, inducing swings and misses, which is part of what was going on in this game. The other part was a vote of confidence that was given to Britton by Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair. Austin Jackson led off the last of the third with a single, and the Orioles opted to walk Miguel Cabrera to get to the lefty Prince Fielder. Granted a lefty-lefty match up favors the pitcher, it’s still Prince Fielder. But Britton rewarded Showalter’s confidence by striking Fielder out, and getting Jhonny Peralta to line out to end the inning.
The Birds had a tough time getting on base with Rick Porcello dealing bullets, however the O’s got to him just as he was starting to tire. Adam Jones led off the seventh inning with a single, which was followed by an infield hit by Matt Wieters. On a 1-1 count, Chris Davis got a fastball outside, which he muscled to the opposite field for a three-run homer. Mark Reynolds followed that up with another infield single, and Jim Leyland immediately went to his bullpen. This is one of those games that Detroit fans could in theory chalk up to “over-managing.” The fact that Leyland pulled Porcello immediately following that homer and the Reynolds hit tells me that Porcello was starting to lose it going into that seventh inning, and Leyland probably knew it. His hope was that he could get Porcello through the inning and perhaps get a lead in the last of the seventh to put Porcello in line for a win. And who could really blame him for wanting to do that for his pitcher? But the net result was that Detroit lost the game outright on the heels of the Davis homer.
As soon as Davis’ shot flew over the wall you could see the Orioles’ bench begin to lighten up a bit. They had seemingly been a fairly tight bunch since the Mark Reynolds incident at first base on Friday, which seemed to throw the Birds for a bit of a loop. However the mark of this Oriole team this year has been that they don’t get fazed by much, and that they have a short memory. They seemed to be briefly fazed by that incident on Friday, but they certainly rebounded in grand fashion last night. They were able to tie the series at a game a piece, and more importantly go one game ahead of Detroit once again in the wild card race. The O’s will now have an opportunity to take the series with a win this afternoon.
The Orioles will send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound this afternoon against Detroit, who will counter with Doug Fister who’s been very tough this year. In his last start he didn’t get much help from the defense behind him, which committed two different errors. I’ll be live tweeting the game on my twitter account as usual, however I”ll be doing so from the Delmarva shore (for the next few days). But don’t worry…just because your humble correspondent decides to take two or three days for fun in the sun, doesn’t mean that the Orioles don’t come with him!
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