I apologize for the corniness but I was in an alliteration kinda mood. So, let’s go player by player (the one’s in my headline) and analyze them and what they did to win the game. By the way, the O’s won 3-2 tying the series at one and bringing their total record to 14-15 to pull in 3rd place in the AL East, 3.5 games back from the Yankees.
Arrieta was brilliant. He went 7 innings and only gave up 3 hits and 1 run, a homer to Jeff Francoeur. He walked only two and, the best stat of his outing, struck out 8. He goes to 4-1 and brings his ERA down to 4.35. Without him, the game would have been lost. He retired 11 in a row from the 2nd inning to the 6th as well as retiring the side in the 7th. He has really learned how to control his pitches and has become a pretty dominant starter in his last few outings. He is and will continue to be for many years a great arm to have on this rotation.
Onto the offensive side and Nick Markakis. As I’ve said before, Nicky has been very slow so far in the beginning of the season; however, he’s started to really get going starting with the White Sox series. Tonight, he went 2 for 5 with 2 RBIs including a homer in the 7th to take the lead against the Royals, which turned out to be the winning run. His batting average is starting to raise, slowly but surely, and is now sitting at .216. By the end of May, maybe he’ll be at or close to his projected totals batting somewhere close to .300 and having 30-40 RBIs.
Finally, I want to go over a very interesting but great call made by Adam Jones in center field. In the 8th, Jim Johnson came in to pitch for Arrieta. He gave up a single to Escobar. Following that, Aviles came up and hit a very deep ball that rolled to the wall in center. It was definitely deep enough so that Escobar could score. NOT SO FAST. The ball actually rolled to the wall and got stuck in between the space of the field and where the wall padding starts. As soon as it stopped, AJ reached down, realized what had happened, and put both his arms up to signal to the umps about what was going on. I’ve never seen this before and I’m not sure if Jim Palmer or Jim Hunter have either because they were confused and worried about whether AJ was right or not, but apparently in that situation when the ball gets stuck, it’s a ground rule double! Boy were those fans mad out in KC! Jones’ great play saved a run. After that play, Mely Cabrera got an RBI ground-out so the Royals were only down by one run now with Aviles on third. So, Gonzo came in to face Gordon and got him to fly out on two pitches. Gonzo also did a great job.
There you have it, the O’s win a one-run game against the great-at-home Royals because the team was good as a whole.
Also to note, Mark Reynolds got his first 3-hit game as an Oriole and was on base all 4 times after being moved down to the 8 spot in the line-up. Good going Buck.