You have to feel badly for starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez yesterday, who basically made one bad pitch and ended up taking a no decision. Manager Buck Showalter admitted as much in his postgame comments when he said that Gonzalez “deserved better.” Gonzalez’s line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 8 K. At one point Gonzalez retired ten straight San Diego hitters…yet he ended up with a no decision. However that’s baseball. Part of the reason that Gonzalez was lifted after six innings was that his spot in the order was due up in the top of the seventh, and Showalter felt that the team might need an extra bit of pop offensively.
The Baltimore Orioles got off to a 1-0 lead in the second on J.J. Hardy‘s solo homer, his 19th (home run) of the year. The O’s would also net a run on a Manny Machado RBI-single, as well as two San Diego errors later in the game, and they led 3-0 after five. They also left the bases loaded in the fourth, which looked like it would come back to haunt the Birds after Gyorko homered for San Diego with two on in the last of the sixth. Suddenly the game was tied, but perhaps more importantly San Diego seized momentum. However in the immediate wake of that homer, Alexi Amarista reached base on a single and was promptly caught stealing by Matt Wieters. That seemed to swing just a bit of momentum back to the Orioles, which was all they needed.
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With two on and none out in the eighth, Chris Davis stepped to the plate. Davis was presumably looking for just a single to potentially score Manny Machado from second base, but he did better than that. Davis sent a moon shot into the San Diego sun; the ball traveled 453 feet from home plate and landed at the back of the lower deck in right center field. Not only did the homer give the Orioles the lead, but it was also his major league leading 41st homer of the season. One could argue that as the game’s climax in and of itself, but the Birds weren’t done. They’d put one more run up that inning on a Roberts sac fly, along with a fielder’s choice-RBI and a J.J. Hardy RBI-single in the top of the ninth.
With the 10-3 victory the Orioles swept the brief two-game series in San Diego, in effect returning the favor for the Padres taking the two-game set at the yard back in May. The Orioles played like a team chasing October in this game, and for the entire series. Adam Jones turned in another great performance in his hometown, going three-for-five on the afternoon. The win was credited to Francisco Rodriguez, who pitched on inning in relief of Miguel Gonazlez (KRod’s first win as an Oriole). The two games in San Diego were also highlighted by an orangish hue in the stands, and a big cheer whenever the Orioles scored. Either a lot of Orioles fans made the cross-country trip because they were attracted by the beautiful San Diego weather, or there are a lot of Orioles fans in SoCal! Either way, Baltimore was well represented in the Petco Park grandstand. The Birds will have a day off in San Francisco today before resuming the road trip tomorrow night against the San Francisco Giants.