Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis No Match For Broken Bats
So now perhaps the ongoing narrative about what could be wrong with the Baltimore Orioles shifts to the O’s can’t win without the home run. Specifically, maybe they can’t win if Chris Davis isn’t hitting home runs. Needless to say, nobody that follows the Orioles was upset to see Davis break out in today’s game. And break out he did!
Ubaldo Jimenez gave the Orioles a start that was worthy of a victory, and it’s yet another case of a starting pitcher looking better than his numbers indicate. Jimenez’s line: 7.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K. He retired Houston 1-2-3 on six pitches.
However Evan Gattis blooped a single to right field in the second, and Chris Carter followed that up with an RBI-double which gave Houston a 1-0 lead. The O’s appeared to be off to another game of decent pitching and no run support. Then the rest of the game happened.
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Jimmy Paredes led off the last of the fourth with a double, which Adam Jones followed by bunting his way onto first base – and sending Paredes to third. That’s exactly the type of catalyst the O’s have been needing, as someone finally found a way to bunt his way on base.
Not only that, but Jones reached safely due to the fact that the infield was back since Houston didn’t expect the bunt.
That brought Chris Davis to the plate, and Adam Jones took off from second duing Davis’ at-bat. In what ended up being a delayed double-steal, Paredes took off from third and ended up tying the game with a steal of home plate – which is not something you see everyday.
However the game wasn’t tied at one for long. Davis seemingly broke out of his slump by sending a 3-2 pitch on a line to right field. When the ball cleared the wall, the Orioles suddenly had a 3-1 lead. The Birds then went back-to-back as Steve Pearce made it 4-1 in his next at-bat with a solo homer.
That was a big moment both for Davis, and for the Orioles. Davis was in dire need to break out, and that homer might have signaled the end to his most recent slump.
However Houston is a team that scores approximately 40% of their runs in the seventh inning and beyond. They know how to come back. And they did.
Jimenez pitched a very solid game as I said above. However George Springer recorded an infield single with one gone in the seventh, which provided them with just the opening they needed.
Following another single by Jose Altuve, Preston Tucker ran out a would-be double-play ball at first base, allowing Springer to score from third and cutting the Orioles’ lead to 4-2.
Infield singles count just as much as line drives, which is exactly how Houston looks at things. So with Tucker still at first, Chris Carter launched a deep shot to center, which tied the score at four. That’s exactly the result the Orioles were hoping to avoid; but in the end, it merely meant that the bullpen would record the decision as opposed to Jimenez.
With one out in the last of the eigth and the score still knotted at four, Houston brought Tony Sipp out of the bullpen to pitch to Davis. Keep in mind that Davis had already left his mark on the game – but both he, the Orioles, and the fans wanted more. Luckily, Chris Davis was in a giving mood…
Courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
…and he hit the first pitch he saw over the center field wall and gave the O’s a 5-4 lead. As Buck Showalter might have been apt to say, at some point someone was going to pay for Davis’ struggles. He’s too good a hitter to be hovering around the Mendoza Line. And that somebody who paid were the Houston Astros and specifically Tony Sipp.
Zach Britton allowed a two-out double in the ninth, however he was able to induce a long fly ball out on the next hitter and the O’s closed out a 5-4 win. It was Houston’s first series loss of the season, The game started approximately an hour and ten minutes late due to a rain delay.
The Orioles will now play a doubleheader tomorrow on what was previously an off day. The ChiSox are in town for a twin bill which begins at 1 PM.
Before I go over the pitching matchups, I would mention that everyone in Baltimore should take a moment to remember why there’s going to be a doubleheader tomorrow in lieu of an off day. We as citizens should never take our lives for granted.
Game one pits Tyler Wilson (making his first big league start) against Chris Sale, and game two Mike Wright against Chris Beck of Chicago. Game two will begin approximately 20-30 minutes after the completion of the first game.
The Orioles did make a roster move prior to today’s game, activating Ryan Flaherty from the DL. To make space for Flaherty, in a bit of a surprise move they DFA’d Alejandro De Aza.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters In Bowie