Calling last night’s game against Kansas City a “career game” for Orioles’ rookie Henry Urrutia might be a bit presumptuous given he fact that it was only his second start (and third appearance). However going three-for-five in the game with an RBI is at the very least a breakout game for the Birds’ rookie. Urrutia played a key part in the Baltimore Orioles’ 9-2 rout of Kansas City last night; it was the first time this year that the Orioles were able to win five straight games. The Orioles also moved to a season-high 14 games above .500. Yet they were unable to pick up any real ground in the standings, as Tampa defeated Boston.
Scott Feldman has become a great piece for which the Orioles traded, winning his second out of four games started for the Orioles. Feldman’s line: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Feldman also became the second Oriole pitcher in as many games to go at least eight innings in a game. You might notice the low walk and strikeout totals; Feldman’s a big-time pitch-to-contact guy, which I feel is one of the reasons he was attractive to the Orioles in trade discussions. The Orioles got on the board early when Nate McLouth drew a lead off walk and then scored on a Mike Moustakas error (which also sent Manny Machado to third base). Machado would later score on Chris Davis‘ sac fly-RBI, and the Orioles led 2-0 early on.
Urrutia’s RBI came in the third with one run already in. Urrutia singled to left, which brought Matt Wieters home from third, and gave the Birds a 4-0 lead. The Orioles also chased Kansas City starter Wade Davis from the game later in the inning with their hot bats. After Kansas City netted a run on an RBI-single in the fourth, Brian Roberts put the O’s ahead by four again with a sac fly-RBI in the fifth inning. However it was the sixth that really cemented the Orioles’ complete and total victory in this game. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones led off the inning with a single and a double respectively, putting two runners in scoring position with nobody out. That brought the Orioles’ “heavy hitter” to the plate in Chris Davis. While Davis didn’t hit one out, he came within a few feet of doing so. However in this instance a two-RBI double the opposite way more than suffices, and the Orioles’ lead opened up to 7-2. The lead stretched to 9-2 later in the inning when J.J. Hardy sent a two-run homer into the seats.
There are two keys to this win for the Orioles: pitching and Henry Urrutia. Obviously Urrutia is still a rookie, but he showed a flash of what the Orioles expect him to be moving forward. This is why they brought him to the majors so quickly, and he didn’t disappoint right out of the shoot. We know that with or without Urrutia, the Orioles can score runs. However the pitching has been a huge question mark thus far, but Feldman has been a welcome addition to the rotation. In lasting eight innings, he probably saved two Orioles’ relievers who otherwise would have seen action in the game (perhaps Matusz and O’Day). The Orioles also inserted Troy Patton in the ninth inning, mainly so as to get him some work. He sent Kansas City down 1-2-3 to close out the Orioles’ 9-2 win.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves in that Kansas City and the Orioles still have three more games to play this week. However last night was a decent start to the series from the Orioles’ perspective. As I said above however, Boston became the latest team to fall to Tampa, which means that the Orioles didn’t pick up any immediate ground in the division per so. However if Tampa beats Boston again tonight, the two teams will swap places with Boston falling to second place. Regardless of any of that, the O’s still have several games left to go with both teams, starting with the BoSox at the yard this weekend. However again…let’s not get ahead of ourselves; the Birds still have three more games with Kansas City this week. In tonight’s game Jason Hammel will square off against former Oriole Bruce Chen for Kansas City. This will be Hammel’s first start since the break, as he tries to get back some of the moxie that he had last year.