Orioles 8, Braves 4: BIRDLAND Missed You, Eric O'Flaherty.



Okay, no one's done a game recap recently, and this one actually merits it, so let's dig in. For six and a half innings, this game followed a familiar script. After two batters, the O's had a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Brian Roberts single and a 2-run homer by Adam Jones, Son! Kenshin Kawakami looked turrible in the first inning, and we lost a chance to knock him out early when Matt Wieters struck out on a 3-2 curveball to leave the bases loaded. I'm convinced that he did so as an act of mercy; he doesn't want Gregg Zaun to get too discouraged by his inadequacy in relation to Matt.

While Kawakami settled down (with the assistance of the still-frozen Birds, who stranded nine total runners in the first six innings), the wheels came off again for Mr. Rich Hill. He loaded the bases with two walks wrapped around a blooper that fell between B-Rob and Nick Markakis, and promptly coughed up four runs on two-strike hits by Matt Diaz and the horrible Jeff Francoeur and a Kelly Johnson sac fly. Nate McLouth singled with two outs, but Nick saved Hill's ass from further damage by nailing Francoeur at home. Matt Wieters' sweep tag may or may not have gotten Frenchy, but he sold it beautifully to the ump and got the call.

Once again, Brian Bass was beastly in relief, restoring order with three innings of scoreless relief. He would earn the win to improve to 4-1. Way to go, Fish Pump. So how did he become the pitcher of record? It was still 4-2 entering the bottom of the seventh...

Enter Eric O' Flaherty.

The architect of some of Birdland's most exciting moments last April, EO'F thought he had exorcised his Camden Yards demons by tossing a 1-2-3 inning on Friday night. The foolish fool. Eric walked Markakis, gave up a 10-bounce single to right by Huff, followed by an RBI single by MELVIN MORA...whew. This escalated quickly, to quote Anchorman. Luke Scott (who else?) tied the game with another single, and Mora, feeling light-headed after his first ribbie in 25 games, displayed his perplexing tendency toward low baseball I.Q. by making the first out of the inning at third. (An assist goes to third base coach Juan "Greenlight" Samuel. Ugh.) That just about did it for O'Flaherty, but thankfully his successor Peter Moylan was even worse. The sidearming Australian gave up a single to Nolan Reimold (3-4 with a 2B, BTW), then walked Wieters. But ball four was one of the wildest pitches you'll ever see, and Luke raced home with the go-ahead run. That closed the book on Eric O' Flaherty, who gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in one-third of an inning and would suffer the loss and the blown save. Thanks for the kick-start, ol' buddy.

The Orioles kept on rolling with a little more help. Moylan booted a comebacker from Robert Andino to load the bases, and Brian Roberts (whose slump is officially over) belted the first pitch he saw to the opposite field for a 2-run double. Adam Jones capped the six-run inning with a sac fly, and the O's topped four runs for the first time since May 29. The rest was academic. A somewhat scary inning by Danys Baez (two runners stranded) and a fine 1-2-3 inning by George Sherrill brought home our third win in thirteen games. Hallelujah...holy s***...where's the Tylenol?

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