It took a late two-run home run by Matt Wieters for the Baltimore Orioles to defeat Toronto last night by the score of 5-3 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
It took a late Matt Wieters home run, but the Baltimore Orioles finally were able to stick it back to Toronto. It’s tough to explain the bad blood between these two teams in a sense, but in another way it makes perfect sense. Toronto’s never had a problem playing “the heel” in a sense, and they know that grates on the Orioles and that they play very tight against them.
The Orioles got a good start out of Ubaldo Jimenez last night, who as his manager correctly predicted before the game gave the Birds a chance to win. Jimenez’s line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K. I would argue that Showalter might have kept Jimenez in for a little too long, as he would have left with the lead had he been lifted a little earlier. But you live and learn.
Toronto of course took the lead early in the most pesky way possible. Pillar provided an RBI-single in the second inning, which was about as softly hit as one could imagine. Had it been any softer it would have been a dandelion flying in the breeze. The Orioles position their defense in very specific ways against guys, and when they hit against their spray charts the O’s start having problems. That’s exactly what Pillar did.
Call to the Pen
However the Birds equalized the game in the last of the fifth when Steve Pearce smacked a solo home run. Later in the inning they suddenly had the lead when Manny Machado followed suit with a two-run homer. Two innings later however with Toronto’s Saunders coming to the plate, Jimenez seemed to not have too much left in the tank. Showalter sensed it, Wieters knew it, etc. The bullpen was trying to get ready, however it wasn’t in time to avoid Saunders tying the game at three with a twi-run homer.
I sense that a lot of people felt that the game was over at that point. With Toronto knowing how much the Orioles wanted to beat them (both due to the standings and the disdain), the O’s had tightened up and played right into their hands. With Toronto playing so loose as a result, it was all but a foregone conclusion that they would find some way to drum up late inning heroics and defeat the O’s, right?
Not this time. One inning later with a runner on base, Wieters sent the first pitch he saw over the fence and the Orioles suddenly had the 5-3 lead. Suddenly it was Toronto who had seemed to tighten up and not really know what they were doing. How would this happen? This wasn’t part of how the game was suposed to go!
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The Orioles closed the game out in the ninth, and took their win. With all of this said, Toronto has a great team and for all intents and purposes they have a decent group of guys. However in the past couple of years they’ve seemingly identified the Orioles as a team they don’t like. They’ve never turned down an opportunity to rub in their wins and their “moments” when they’ve occurred against the Orioles. They even brought in Jason Grilli, who emphatically hoots and hollers when he strikes someone out in the eighth inning last night…
…however Wieters made sure that the Orioles turned that “moment” on it’s side last night. And for the record, the Orioles were the ultimate professionals in that moment, as Wieters went through the “high-five line” in the dugout and sat back down without showing anyone up. And I think that’s part of the deal between these two teams. The Orioles don’t show people up in the moment, but they don’t necessarily appreciate if someone does it to them. So Toronto does, and it ticks them off.