In his last outing in New York, Scott Feldman pitched seven innings of one-run baseball and took the loss. Last night he became the first starter for the Baltimore Orioles since Jason Hammel in June of 2012 to pitch a complete game. Feldman’s line: 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Ultimately when you get pitching like the Birds did last night, it doesn’t matter how few runs you score (as long as you put one up on the board) or how they come. You’re not going to lose. Feldman didn’t give up a hit after the top of the 5th, and he didn’t yield a base runner after a walk that he issued in the top of the 7th. Ultimately neither of those runners came back to haunt him in the game; again, if you get pitching like that you’re going to win.
Danny Valencia, with whom I share the initials DV I might add – started the scoring off in the last of the third when he sent a solo homer out of Camden Yards to give the O’s a 1-0 lead. As much as we talk about manufacturing runs, that was the 19th consecutive run that the Orioles had scored off of the long ball. However that streak ended in the fifth, when Valencia came to bat again with two out and J.J. Hardy on third. Valencia bounced a tight grounder down the third base line that was fielded cleanly, however Valencia legged out an infield single at first base. That scored Hardy, and the O’s led 2-0.
However it was the sixth inning when things snowballed on the ChiSox, and starter John Danks. The Birds added two more solo homers, one by Chris Davis and the other by Matt Wieters (back-to-back). Davis’ shot was his major league-leading 48th on the season, bringing him to within two of Brady Anderson‘s team record of 50. Wieters’ homer had barely cleared the fence when Chicago manager Robin Ventura emerged from the dugout to lift Danks and to go to the Chicago bullpen (which finished the game). And that in and of itself is possibly the biggest point in this game for the O’s. While Chicago only used two relievers in the game after Danks, the O’s used zero. They had two relievers throwing in the ‘pen in the ninth inning just in case Feldman ran into any trouble, but he sent the ChiSox down 1-2-3 to end the game. So the Orioles go into this afternoon’s game with a rested ‘pen, which might even have a ripple effect down the line when the all-important series with New York begins on Monday.
The win, combined with Tampa and New York losses has put the Orioles back into the top spot in terms of the chase for October. Tampa currently holds the final wild card spot, with the Orioles only two games behind. Just when you thought they were out, they get pulled back in! Today’s game will be shown regionally by FOX at 1 PM, with Wei-Yin Chen will try to get himself back on track after his last couple of starts. He’ll be opposed by Hector Santiago.