Adam Jones and the Baltimore Orioles almost came all the way back from a large deficit on Thursday night. So Detroit couldn’t have been too comfortable when they got out to a 6-0 lead last night. I suppose it’s better to get out to a lead like that than it is to be the team forced to come back, but if you have the capability to come back it can strike fear into the hearts and minds of opponents.
To Detroit’s credit, they’ve beaten Oriole starters around thus far in this series. Wei-Yin Chen had a difficult outing last night, as Detroit hitters squared up on his pitches from the beginning. Chen’s line: 3.1 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Once again, an Oriole pitcher was pitching to contact, which in some cases can get you into trouble. Unfortunately for the O’s, Chen dug them a large hole.
Detroit took a 1-0 lead off of a Kinsler RBI-single (off of Chen) in the first, but the Orioles came away relatively unscathed. An inning later a Marte RBI-double ran the lead to 2-0, however it wasn’t until the third that things got serious. J.D. Martinez sent a two-run homer into the seats, and an inning later James McCann followed suit with a solo shot. And go figure, Marte decided to go back-to-back with McCann – and the O’s trailed 6-0.
You really have to be disciplined to come back from a deficit like that. And part of the reason that it’s so hard is due to the fact that a lot of teams that find themselves in those holes don’t have very much discipline. But normally comebacks start with one small feat, and this one was no different. Ryan Flaherty reached base on an error, which allowed Wieters to score the Orioles’ first run of the game in the last of the fourth.
One inning later Adam Jones added his three-run homer, and the comeback was on. Later in the inning J.J. Hardy‘s RBI-single would bring the Birds to within one at 6-5. So Detroit had a lead that was teetering; and often times when something teeters, it eventually falls. Manny Machado came to the plate in the last of the sixth with a runner on base, and his deep shot to left field put Detroit on notice that their time in the lead was over – as the O’s took a 7-6 lead.
Davis would add an RBI-single before the inning ended, and it’s probably a good thing he did; Martinez would manufacture Detroit’s 7th run of the night on a fielder’s choice in the seventh inning. However at that point it really boiled down to the Orioles’ pen – which we all know is solid. Chen may have struggled, but the ‘pen wasn’t going to break. Mychal Givens, just recalled from Norfolk, recorded his first big league win in the game.
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Perhaps the most important aspect of this victory was that it kept the O’s rolling. Often times they’ve ended winning streaks only to lose a couple of games in a row. In this case they fell to Detroit on Thursday, but didn’t allow themselves to embark then on an elongated losing streak. And with the long west coast trip looming following tomorrow’s game, each of these games with Detroit is of supreme importance.
Coming back from 6-0 down isn’t the biggest comeback of all time by any means. Heck, the biggest comeback in Orioles’ history was in June of 2009 when they came all the way back from 10-1 down against Boston. However in the grand scheme of things, this was a bigger one in that it means more at the time it happens. That 2009 O’s team was already ticketed for the cellar when they made that comeback. In terms of the playoff race, this was a huge victory.
Unfortunately for the Orioles they still were unable to move up the standings given that New York won. However they did move back to within one game of the final wild card spot. But with all of the moves that Toronto made this week, the O’s are going to have to keep winning because Toronto’s nipping at their heels with no sign of relenting.
The series continues this evening with Kevin Gausman getting start, and he’ll be opposed by Anibal Sanchez. I would also look for the newly acquired Gerardo Parra to make his Orioles’ debut, presumably batting lead off. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.