O’s lose the lead but win the game


Part of being a good team is winning in any and all circumstances. That’s exactly what the Baltimore Orioles did last night in beating Kansas City. Up until about 45 minutes before the scheduled start time, it was unclear whether or not the game was going to be played given the weather. (Just down the road, Washington postphoned their game with Detroit.) The dreariness of the evening didn’t seem to put a damper on Wei-Yin Chen‘s effort, as he turned in another strong outing. Chen’s line: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Chen only threw 80 pitches in the game, however with one out in the top of the seventh the skies opened up and the umpires called for the tarp. Manager Buck Showalter opted not to bring Chen back out after the rain delay.

The Birds jumped all over Ervin Santana in the first inning, causing him to throw 30 pitches in total. With the Orioles covering the corners Adam Jones‘ RBI-single scored Manny Machado and the O’s were off to an early lead. After a Chris Davis strikeout Matt Wieters turned around and stroked a two-RBI double that gave the O’s a 3-0 lead. Given that there was a good chance that this game might be one of those five-inning deals given the potential for weather, taking an early lead makes a huge difference.

However Santana settled down, and didn’t allow the O’s to cross home plate for the remainder of his time in the game. Again, that’s another reason to jump on a guy as quickly as you’re able to do so. The umpires finally called a rain delay after former Oriole Miguel Tejada had stroked a one-out single to left field. One issue with this is that since the inning started the official rules state that it has to be completed. Given that the Orioles were leading 3-1 at the time (Kansas City put a run on the board with an RBI-single in the third inning), they could have simply completed the half-inning and that would have sufficed since the home team doesn’t take their last at-bat in a victory. So that meant that the would probably be finished to completion given that Kansas City in effect had the tying run at the plate.

Luckily for them a window emerged to complete the game. As I said above, Chen’s night ended with the rain delay and Showalter had Brian Matusz come in the game with one out and one on. After Matusz recorded the first out, Alex Gordon homered on a 2-2 count to tie the game at three. (Tejada was already on base at the time, so one of those runs was charged to Chen.)

Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Previous to 2012 this probably would have been the end of the game in a sense. The Orioles would have made some other mistake in the game and they would have lost. We would then hear about how it’s tough to come back out after a rain delay and play at the same level. Be that as it may, that would be an excuse; these O’s don’t make excuses. MASN analyst Rick Dempsey likes saying that nothing good happens after a walk. Adam Jones walked to lead off the last of the eighth, and following a Davis strikeout pitcher Luke Hochevar attempted to pick Jones off…and he committed an error with an errant throw. The ball hit Jones in the back, but he got up and scampered to second base. Matt Wieters drove in his third run of the night with an RBI-double, and the Orioles suddenly had the lead back.

Jim Johnson was able to record his 12th save of the year, and the Orioles improved to 20-13. The Birds are expected to move Miguel Gonzalez back from his scheduled turn in the rotation (tonight) due to that blister on his thumb. Chris Tillman will start tonight on normal rest given the fact that the O’s had yesterday off. Tillman of course is coming off of a great start last week in Anaheim in which he pitched eight innings in a win. He’ll be opposed tonight by Luis Mendoza of Kansas City.