Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Just enough to win

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With Tampa’s David Price on the mound, the Baltimore Orioles had to wonder how good their shot at a three-game sweep of Tampa was going into last night’s game. In fact, Price pitched a good game against the timely Oriole bats. However Ubaldo Jimenez pitched just a hair better, as the O’s outlasted Tampa 3-1 for a sweep at Tropicana Field.

For the second straight game, Jimenez turned in a solid effort. In his last two starts (including last night), he’s come across as a guy who’s starting to bring it together. However he still was only able to pitch into the sixth inning of the game, due to a high pitch count. Jimenez’s line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K. The issue with Jimenez and all of the Orioles’ starters is not “stuff,” location, command, or anything else. The issue is that the ebb and flow of the games are warranting them to throw a lot of pitches – whether this is people fouling balls off, or anything else. This is something that needs to change, lest the Birds want to risk someone’s arm falling off down in the ‘pen.

Tampa struck first blood in this one with an RBI-single by Evan Longoria in the last of the first. However the good news is that the Birds didn’t trail for long. J.J. Hardy hit a two-out double,

and he was then plated by Steve Pearce‘s two-run homer – which gave the O’s a 2-1 lead. That was Pearce’s second homer of the series; there can be no doubt that Pearce has played a huge role for this team offensively since his return, which is pretty much how Buck Showalter envisioned things going.

The O’s extended their lead to 3-1 in the fourth when Jonathan Schoop‘s RBI-single scored Adam Jones. However both teams loaded the bases – the O’s with nobody out, and Tampa with one gone – later in the game, and in both situations the pitcher was able to pitch out of it. It’s often tough to win when you can’t take advantage of your rival’s mistakes. However if you can do it even one more time than the other guy, your odds at winning go up leaps and bonds.

With Tommy Hunter having worked on consecutive nights, Buck Showalter summoned Darren O’Day to close the game. O’Day came in to protect the Orioles’ 3-1 lead, and allowed two base runners to reach base. However a timely double-play and a ground out in the infield secured the game, as the O’s defeated Tampa 3-1. While the Orioles’ bullpen bent a bit, it certainly never broke.

So the O’s now head home in the wake of their three-game sweep of their division rivals. Waiting for them there will be the Texas Rangers, who will come into Camden Yards for three games over the weekend. Wei-Yin Chen will take the mound for the O’s and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Scott Feldman. It’s tough to say that Oriole bats are returning to the yard warm, however at least in the Tampa series they were very timely. And now they’ll have the option of heating up, as the weather in their home park will finally be suitable for the ball to fly at the yard this weekend.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Steve Pearce

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