Coming off of three straight losses at the hands of Kansas City, the Baltimore Orioles desperately needed a stopgap win last night against division foe Boston. It all starts with pitching, so with that said the Orioles defeated the BoSox,6-0. Chris Tillman very quickly recorded the first two outs of the game, but then proceeded to load the bases before getting out of the inning. Many Orioles fans probably thought that was a harbinger of what was to come in the rest of the the game, and it was – if we’re talking about Tillman getting out of innings unscathed that is. Tillman’s line: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K.
Often times when a team gets starting pitching the hitting falls right into place. Oriole bats seemed to get a bit of a boost from Tillman getting out of that bases loaded situation. Or maybe they were just happy to be back at the yard after such a long road trip. Either way, they came to life. Adam Jones stepped to the plate in the last of the first following a Nick Markakis single, and promptly sent an opposite field shot over the scoreboard in right field. Just like that, the Birds led 2-0. That was followed up in the third by a Manny Machado RBI-single that brought Nate McLouth home after a lead off triple. McLouth recorded a lead off triple due to sending a deep shot to center that appeared to cause some confusion between centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and left fielder Daniel Nava. The ball would have dropped in one way or the other, but their miscues allowed McLouth to take third. MASN replays caught starting pitcher John Lackey angrily hunching over in disappointment at the play. Teammates don’t EVER call each other out, and while Lackey didn’t physically say anything his body language told us all we needed to know. My suggestion to Lackey would be perhaps try to pick your teammate(s) up as opposed to pulling childish stunts like that.
Adam Jones’ second opposite field homer of the game (in the fifth) gave the O’s a 4-0 cushion, and in the seventh Manny Machado chimed in with a solo home run of his own. Just for good measure, J.J. Hardy sent another one over the fence in the eighth to close out the Orioles’ scoring for the night. Even in the three consecutive losses in Kansas City, Buck Showalter has managed the bullpen very well this week in terms of the number of relievers used. Last night was no exception, as Tommy Hunter pitched the eighth and Jim Johnson the ninth. Boston has the capability of wearing out your pitching due to the number of pitches that they often seem to take, so with two games left against the BoSox this weekend it’s a good thing that the Orioles have an off day on Monday. One way or the other, I would expect the Birds to be somewhat active on that off day because they currently have an extra reliever on the roster, and one would think that they’ll want to add a fourth position player. Might another trade be in that mix?
It was an especially rough night for Boston, as Tampa overtook them for first place in the division following the loss and Tampa pounding New York. Boston now trails Tampa by .5 games in the division, with the Orioles only being 3.5 games out of first. The Orioles are also still in the second wild card spot, with Boston being in the first (and three games ahead of the O’s). The series continues tonight at 7 PM with Scott Feldman taking the bump for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Ryan Dempster.