With their 3-1 win last night over the ChiSox, the Baltimore Orioles were able to bounce back from their road trip blues. It certainly doesn’t erase the memory of dropping two-of-three in Boston, New York, and Cleveland, however at this point every win becomes important. The Birds last night got what they haven’t had the two previous nights in Cleveland: solid starting pitching. Miguel Gonzalez struggled for one inning, although he got out of it only giving up one run. Gonzalez’s line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K. It all starts with pitching, and starting pitching at that. If you get solid starting pitching, you’re going to be in a much better position to win ballgames.
The Orioles took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Adam Jones homered. The homer was Jones’ 30th of the season, and also his 100th RBI. The 100 RBI are a career-high for the Orioles’ center fielder, who had been chasing the number for a few games. Chris Davis and Adam Jones are the first pair of O’s to drive in 100 RBI since 2008 when Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora did it. That in and of itself should give Orioles fans pause, and tell them how far the franchise has come.
Gonzalez ran into trouble in the third inning when he loaded the bases with nobody out. De Aza was induced to ground into a double-play, which did allow a run. However you can look at that as a almost net-gain for the Orioles, as only one run was surrendered. Beckham, the final hitter, grounded out to end the inning, and the game went on as a tie.
The Orioles busted the game open (so to speak) in the last of the fifth, when J.J. Hardy led off the inning with a homer, followed later in the inning by on off the bat of Brian Roberts. Save for a base hit here and there, Chicago failed to challenge the Orioles’ lead at any other point in the game. Jim Johnson came on to close out the ninth inning, retiring Chicago hitters in order to end the game.
The hidden issue is that the Orioles are still only managing to score off of home runs – solo home runs at that. If the Orioles are going to remain in the playoff race, the’re going to have to manufacture runs in games as opposed to relying on home runs. In this case one would think that solo homers wouldn’t hurt a team (Chicago or anyone else). However the difference last night was that the Orioles got good starting pitching. It’s been obvious that the pitching can’t be relied upon to be that way every game.
The series continues tonight as Scott Feldman takes to the hill at the yard against the ChiSox. The Orioles will be looking to start another winning streak, and one longer than two games at that. Feldman will be opposed by Chicago’s John Danks, who’s currently 4-11 on the season.Game time is 7 PM tonight, live from Camden Yards.