Baltimore Orioles: The cream always rises to the top


Starter Bud Norris wasn’t around in last night’s game for long enough to qualify for the win. He pitched the necessary five innings, mind you. However at the time he left the game the Birds were trailing. However make no mistake about the fact that he gutted out his start and kept the Baltimore Orioles in the game. That means something, especially in what ended up being a winning effort.

Norris was much sharper last night against New York than he was in his first start – the Orioles’ home opener last Friday. Norris’ line: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Norris was far from perfect in this game, however as I said it can’t go lost on fans that he gritted out five innings which left the O’s in a position to win the game. I say quite often that pitchers will generally have 10 good starts, 10 bad, and 10 in between over the course of the season. Score last night’s game as in between.

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The Birds took an early lead on Chris Davis‘ RBI-single in the first inning. However Carlos Beltran‘s two-RBI double in the third would give New York a 2-1 lead. An inning later, Alex Rodriguez would hammer – and I mean hammer – a Norris pitch to left field, giving New York a 3-1 lead.

However the Orioles weren’t done, nor did anyone think they were. Manny Machado smacked a solo home run in the last of the fourth, and Jonathan Schoop added another in the last of the sixth. Suddenly the game was tied at three, but the O’s had the momentum. Later in that sixth inning, Alejandro De Aza was at second and Buck Showalter countered a NY pitching change with a pinch hitter in the form of Delmon Young. If you flashback to ALDS game two last year, we’ve seen Young in this role before…

…and once again, he didn’t fail to deliver. Young hit a soft grounder against the

Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

shift into left field, allowing De Aza to score and giving the Birds a 4-3 lead. Young, along with Adam Jones, would later score on Chris Davis’ RBI-double. Davis would score in his own right on an RBI-single by Caleb Joseph to close out a huge five-run sixth inning which gave the Birds a big lead.

And ir’s a good thing they got that big lead, because New York wasn’t finished either. Tommy Hunter came in to pitch the eighth, and with one out he allowed runners to second and third. Chas Headley hit a ball that appeared destined for the gap in left center, however Adam Jones ran it down. That saved a run, as Chase Headley tagged up and scored from third base – keeping Mark Teixeira on the base paths. Unfortunately for the O’s, Teixeira would later score on a Hunter wild pitch. So as I said, it’s a good thing that the O’s had that big sixth inning.

Delmon Young has consistently come through in the clutch for the Orioles, dating back of couse to last year. In these situations, he seemingly has ice water in his veins, which is a great weapon to have for Buck Showalter.

It’s tough to say whether or not the key moment was Young’s RBI-single which gave the Orioles the lead, or something else. But it’s games like these which help to define a team come season’s end. This was a tough grind-’em-out type of win against a division foe. In fact, that’s how all three of the games in this series were –  and the Orioles took two-of-three.

The fact is that in general, the cream will always rise to the top. So while it was tough going for the Birds for awhile in this game, they ultimately prevailed – to their credit. The Orioles will now have an off day today, before opening a four-game set in Boston over the weekend starting tomorrow. For the record, Brad Brach got the win in last night’s game, as he was the pitcher of record when the Orioles took the lead.