The Orioles amazing run of quality pitching continued today as Rich Hill, Jim Johnson, and George Sherrill combined to pitch a two hit shutout against the Seattle Mariners. And it's a good thing, too, since the O's only managed 1 run against Jarrod Washburn, who was also dealing.
Rich Hill started the game by allowing a leadoff double to Ichiro, who advanced to third on Nolan Reimold's throwing error. I wondered then if I'd make it to the end of the game, what with it being on the west coast and all. I just didn't have it in me to stay up this late to see Rich Hill have a bad outing. Thankfully Hill buckled down and got the next three M's to pop up, strike out, and pop up again. Ichiro was stranded at third, and that was the farthest a Mariner would get all day. Innings two and three were rough as well, as Hill walked two in the 2nd inning and gave up a walk and a single in the third inning. He managed to get out of it both times, but as I watched I wondered if Rich Hill could keep it together.
Turns out, he could. The Yuniesky Betancourt single in the third would be the last baserunner the Mariners would have all night. From the 4th inning on, Rich Hill was untouchable. He retired the final 14 batters he faced and left the game having pitched 7 innings, allowing 3 walks and 2 hits while striking out 7. It was easily his best start of the year, and very encouraging after last time when he gave up 6 runs in just 3.1 innings. Jim Johnson and George Sherrill finished it off with perfect 8th and 9th innnings, respectively, running the consecutive batters retired to 20.
The Orioles offense was held down for the third straight game as Jarrod Washburn pitched a gem of his own. He held the Orioles to three hits over the first 5 innings (two of which were by Nolan Reimold). Finally, in the 6th, they broke through, though barely. Adam Jones led off with a long fly ball to left field that flew over the head of Wladimir Balentien. I daresay that Nolan Reimold would have caught that ball, but luckily he's on our team. Adam raced into second and just barely made it there ahead of the tag. A single by Nick Markakis put runners on the corners, and Aubrey Huff hit his second deep fly ball of the night to center field. Adam tagged up to score, and that would be all they'd get as Melvin Mora and Luke Scott both flied out to end the inning. The O's would only manage one more hit on the night, but they'd done just enough.
I just can't get over the pitching by this team lately. Here are the stats from this last turn through the rotation:
- Rich Hill: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K
- : 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K
- : 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 10 K
- : 8 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K
- : 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 3 K