The buzz surrounding the Baltimore Orioles coming into yesterday’s series finale in Cleveland mainly had to do with starting pitching, and what would happen with the rotation. That lasted all of an inning or so, before the conversation turned to the strong effort that was being put out there by Kevin Gausman. Admittedly he struggled in the first incomning, but he didn’t yield any runs. And given that he found himself with two runners in scoring position, that’s quite a feat. Gausman’s line: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 2 K.
Gausman proceeded to mow Cleveland hitters down through the first four innings. After the long first inning, Gausman settled down very nicely. And that’s been his modus operandi so to speak as we’ve gone through the season; he adjusts to the opposition, with the help of Dave Wallace. The Orioles had a shot at drawing first blood in the top of the third, when Chris Davis led off the inning with a double. However catcher Nick Hundley lined what rightfully should have been an RBI-single, however second baseman Jason Kipnis made a great leaping catch and doubled Davis off of second. When things aren’t going well, that’s what happens.
Cleveland got on the board in the fourth when Carlos Santana sent a one-out double to left field, and Jason Kipnis followed up with a single. However Cleveland tried to test Adam Jones’ arm, and unfortunately Jones’ throw was up the line. Again, when things aren’t going well for you those things will happen.
However the Baltimore Orioles finally started to get things going in the sixth inning. Steve Pearce led off with a double, and Adam Jones
proceeded to get hit by a pitch. Following a Delmon Young strikeout, J.J. Hardy sent an RBI-single the opposite way to right field which tied the game. A Chris Davis RBI-double later, and the Orioles suddenly had their first lead of the series at 2-1.
During that sixth inning the Orioles chased Cleveland starter Danny Salazar, which put them up against Cleveland’s strong bullpen. However the Orioles didn’t miss a beat, with Steve Pearce smacking a deep homer to left field which gave the Birds some breathing room at 3-1. A ninth inning Jonathan Schoop home run later, and the O’s had a solidly played 4-1 victory in Cleveland on a Sunday afternoon.
In general this series will probably leave a bad taste in the Orioles’ mouth; it was their first series loss since dropping two-of-three in Oakland last month (breaking a streak of eight consecutive series wins). However anyone with any amount of baseball savoir faire is going to tell you that you can’t continue that strong indefinitely. However I’ve always said that if you’re going to drop a series, you want to win the final game. At least you move onto the next series and/or city on a positive note.
The Orioles now head for the windy city, where they’ll be staying for a week. Three games with the ChiSox, and three games next weekend on the northside with the Cubs (and an off day on Thursday). The series with the ChiSox starts tonight, with Bud Norris taking the ball for the Orioles. He’ll be opposed by Chris Sale.