It’s tough to win games when you only score one run. Notice I said tough; it’s certainly not impossible. Many a big league game has ended 1-0 – however that’s not what happened yesterday for the Baltimore Orioles, as they dropped game two of their three-game set in Minnesota by a score of 6-1. Wei-Yin Chen‘s outing could probably be put into the category of pitched well enough for his team to win the game. Chen’s line: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 earned), 1 BB, 5 K. Perhaps the most noteworthy part of this game was that it featured errors by two gold glovers in Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy (hence the one unearned run). Errors are going to happen from time to time, however Buck Showalter and company are smart enough to know that with this group it’s the exception instead of the rule.
Joe Mauer got aboard with a one-out single in the last of the first, and he was doubled home
by Trevor Plouffe to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead on the O’s. However one thing that the Baltimore Orioles did prove yesterday is that good things happen when you hustle and pay close attention to detail. Adam Jones struck out to lead off the top of the second, however the breaking ball got far away from catcher Kurt Suzuki. That gave Jones a chance to reach first base, and sure enough he beat Suzuki’s throw. Jones then proceeded to “steal” second base, although my personal opinion is that Oriole catcher Steve Clevenger might have missed a hit-and-run sign and neglected to swing. Jones would score on J.J. Hardy’s RBI-single to tie the game at one.
Minnesota’s Brian Dozier would send a solo homer over the fence to lead off the third, and in the last of the fifth he would reach on an infield single. However he would take second base on Manny Machado’s aforementioned throwing error, and he would later score on Mauer’s RBI-single to give Minnesota a 3-1 lead. Mauer would come up again in the last of the seventh with two runners on, and he would send a three-run homer into the seats to run Minnesota’s lead to 6-1.
That home run was off of Brad Brach, who was recalled by the O’s on Friday when they optioned Evan Meek to triple-A Norfolk. Other than the homer, Brach was fairly solid over 1.1 innings, striking out two. Brach is a pitcher that was drafted in 2008 by the Padres organization, and pitched three years at the big league level there before coming to the Orioles this past off season. He of course was assigned to triple-A Norfolk out of spring training. The Orioles also called Troy Patton out of the bullpen for his second appearance since returning from suspension, and he pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball.
The O’s find themselves in a situation going into this afternoon’s series finale in which their bullpen is fairly rested. However the fact is that Buck Showalter can be a bit more liberal with using relievers if need be today because the O’s will have an off day in Tampa tomorrow before opening up a series with the Tampa Rays on Tuesday night. In fact, Showalter is expected to take a short trip to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota (approximately an hour or so from Tampa) tomorrow to watch Johan Santana‘s bullpen session – which might come in the form of a simulated game. But first thing’s first; Miguel Gonzalez will start the series finale in Minnesota for the Orioles this afternoon, and he’ll be opposed by Phil Hughes.