The Baltimore Orioles have tried to keep starter Miguel Gonzalez as fresh as possible, in some cases by sending him to the bullpen. In last night’s 9-2 victory in Pittsburgh, it certainly paid off. Gonzalez’s line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K. Gonzalez really had his off speed pitches working for him last night, especially his tailing curve ball which acted as an out pitch on numerous occasions.
Gonzalez almost made a big impact when he pulled a tight one down the left field line with the bases loaded, but the ball bounced foul. The only trouble into which Gonzalez stumbled was in the last of the third when McCutchen sent an RBI-single into the outfield and gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead. However Gonzalez pitched out of the jam, and prevented a big inning.
The O’s tied the game in the fourth when J.J. Hardy singled to center and scored Chris Davis. They later took the lead when Caleb Joseph recorded his first big league RBI – with the bases loaded, Joseph drew a walk. That might not have been how Joseph envisioned his first big league run batted in, however that’s how it came and to say the least it made a difference.
The real damage the Orioles levied was in the fifth inning. Manny Machado scored on Adam Jones‘ RBI-double, and in the process skirted around a swipe-tag at home plate in masterful fashion. Chris Davis hit the next pitch of the game out of the ballpark, and Nels
on Cruz followed with a solo shot on an 0-1 pitch. By the end of the inning the Birds led 6-1. They would run the score to 7-1 on Davis’ second homer of the game (making this his first multi-home run game of 2014), and Pittsburgh got one back on an Ike Davis solo shot in the last of the seventh.
This was the offensive breakout that the Baltimore Orioles and their fans had been waiting for some time. There was a bit of drama in the seventh inning when repudiated closer Tommy Hunter was brought in to relieve Gonzalez, and promptly put two runners on base. Hunter couldn’t blow a five-run lead – could he? Hunter would end up striking a hitter out, and then inducing a double-lay to end the inning.
The O’s needed a game like this to remove some of the stench of the series over the weekend in Kansas City. Normally I would say that after a tough loss it’s better to get right back on the field and play another game. However in this case the off day Monday seems to have done the O’s some good. The only real drama left in the game in the ninth was whether or not Chris Davis could manage to net three homers in the game. Would it even be worth bringing up if he didn’t? Following a HBP which sent Adam Jones to first base, Davis stepped to the plate in the top of the ninth and promptly deposited one in the right center field seats.
Again, if the O’s were looking for offense they certainly found it with a vengeance. Hopefully for the Orioles this trend will continue – and if temperatures have anything to do with things, it should. This short series will wrap up tomorrow night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, with Chris Tillman on the mound for the Birds. Tillman of course is coming off of his first career shutout last Friday night in Kansas City. He’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Wandy Rodriguez.