Orioles’ Gonzalez saves his best for last
With last night’s 3-2 win over Toronto, the Baltimore Orioles took the season series against their division foes from north of the border. Given the number of “moments” it seems that Toronto created against the Orioles this year, that’s kind of amazing if you think about it. Rogers Centre has been a tough place for the Orioles to play for sure, however the Orioles have certainly had Toronto’s number at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Nevertheless, Miguel Gonzalez picked his final start of 2013 to toss a gem. Gonzalez’s line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R (zero earned), 1 BB, 5 K. Gonzalez will finish 2013 with a record of 11-8, and an ERA of 3.78.
Munenori Kawasaki crossed the plate for Toronto in the first inning to net Toronto’s only run of
Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
f of Gonzalez. Kawasaki had walked earlier in the inning, and Moises Sierra reached first safely when Jason Pridie dropped a routine pop fly (allowing Kawasaki to score). It was certainly not a play that Pridie will want to remember, however that’s part of learning – even at the big league level. As you might remember, Pridie made a splash with the team way back in spring training and was assigned to Norfolk. While the Orioles obviously have a bit of a log jam in the outfield, for all we know Pridie could contend for the left field spot next season. One would hope that an error like that in a game wouldn’t be held against him forever, and luckily for Pridie Buck Showalter isn’t that type of person.
The Orioles struck back in the second however, with Matt Wieters connecting with a ball and sending into the seats to tie the game at one. However it was the last of the third that brought us some of the nimbleness that Orioles fans wish the offense had during the month of September. Brian Roberts led the inning off with a bunt single down the third base line, which netted him an infield hit. Roberts is not known as a bunter, which is why it caught Toronto off guard. Roberts scored on Nick Markakis‘ RBI-double to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead, and Markakis made it 3-1 when he scored on a sac fly by Wieters (following an infield single by Adam Jones).
Following seven masterful innings by Gonzalez, Tommy Hunter surrendered a run in the eighth on Bret Lawrie’s RBI-double. Jim Johnson allowed one base hit in the ninth, however he managed to close it out and the O’s took the game 3-2. As I said above, the Birds won the season series against Toronto (along with this specific series) with this win. I would point out that in the past two games Oriole bats have looked a bit more spry. While they only put up three runs last night, they came through when they needed to come through to win the game. That’s what happens when guys get rest here and there. That’s not a knock on Buck Showalter, but just a fact given that the team had no choice but to play the same lineup everyday.
The Orioles will open the final series of the season tonight, as the AL East champion Boston Red Sox come to town. Scott Feldman will get the ball for the O’s tonight, and he’ll be opposed by Clay Buchholz. Boston is still positioning for playoff seeding, hoping to clinch home field advantage and the top seed in the playoffs. Buck Showalter has indicated that as a result, he’ll play his normal lineup this weekend so as to protect the integrity of the game. On a side note, commissioner Bud Selig also announced yesterday that he’ll be retiring in January of 2015.