Baltimore Orioles: Big Wheels Keep On Turning
The Baltimore Orioles continued their hot streak last night with a 9-4 victory over New York before a national/regional audience on FOX. The Orioles have now won six straight games, and gauranteed themselves another series victory (their third straight) going into this afternoon’s series finale. The Orioles are now – wait for it – one game above .500.
Bud Norris pitched to an up and down start last night, but as I find myself often saying, he kept the team in the game. Norris’ line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 1 K. New York strung together a few base runners in the first inning, and ended up taking a 2-0 lead on Mark Texeira’s RBI-single and Brian McCann‘s RBI-double. However Norris pitched his way out of the inning, although the O’s had to play catch-up. The good news was that Norris stablized himself in innings two through five or so, which gave the O’s a decent amount of time to put runs on the board.
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Before we knew it, the game was tied in the last of the third. With a runner on, Nolan Reimold to right center against New York’s famed CC Sabathia. The O’s would take a 4-2 lead in the last of the fifth when Manny Machado would smack a two-run homer of his own with Ryan Flaherty on base. However Norris’ pitch count started to show itself after the fifth inning, and sure enough New York managed to tie the game again. With a runner on base, Alex Rodriguez swung himself into the homer parade, resulting in the 2000th and 2001st RBI of his career – and a 4-4 tie.
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
However the Orioles had no urge to see this game go down to the wire. I suspect they liked the fact that there was little to no drama in the ending of Friday night’s game, and they decided to follow suit last night. In the last of the sixth they took the lead back for good on J.J. Hardy‘s RBI-single. Later in the inning the O’s had runners at first and second, both of whom moved up on a wild pitch. That brought Manny Machado to the plate again, and his two-RBI single gave the Orioles a bit of a cushion at 7-4.
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Mind you that the second run scored due to the wild pitch; in total, New York reliever Chris Martin threw three (wild pitches) in the inning. One inning later pinch hitter David Lough hit what at first was ruled a triple. His deep shot to right field smacked off of the grounds crew shed, which according to Camden Yards’ ground rules, is supposed to be a home run. And it was ruled as such after an umpire review, and the Orioles led 8-4.
Steve Pearce would add an RBI-double in the last of the eighth inning to run it to 9-4, as the Orioles crusied to victory once again over New York. Incidentally, the aforementioned home run was David Lough’s first pinch hit homer of his career. The Orioles also got great contributions from Chaz Roe and Darren O’Day out of the bullpen to close things out, with Roe bridging the gap from the middle innings and O’Day pitching the ninth.
Norris said after the game that he felt good, especially since he was mowing hitters down in the middle innings (quote courtesy of Bryan Hoch and Connor Smolensky of MLB.com):
"It felt good to get back out there and find a groove. I really thought I found a groove in the middle innings there. Buck made a decision to go to the ‘pen [in the sixth], and we got out of it. We scored a bunch the next inning, and nice win. So let’s sweep the series tomorrow."
Speaking of today’s game, the Orioles will get to add a pitcher without removing one for once. Brian Matusz‘s eight-game suspension ended after last night’s game, so he’ll be reinstated to the roster and the O’s will once again be playing with the full 25 men. Before last night’s game Matusz (after returning from Sarasota where he worked out during the suspension) talked about how good it felt to be back with the team, although he declined to comment on the point about his suspension not being reduced and Will Smith getting a two-game reduction. The last thing the Orioles need is further discipline dished out to Matusz (or anyone) for running his mouth – smart move on Matusz’s part, incidentally.
The Orioles will have an opportunity to sweep New York this afternoon in the series finale. By virtue of the fact that he never saw action as a reliever while sitting in the bullpen, Mike Wright will enter into the rotation this afternon in place of Miguel Gonzalez. Wright will be opposed by New York’s Adam Warren. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.