It's late, but I couldn't let the Orioles first win since May 25th go by with no mention at all.
Brian Matusz is doing his best to restore our faith after several rough starts recently. He threw too many pitches, walking four batters and going to a three ball count on four others, resulting on only 5.2 innings pitched. He limited the damage to only two runs though, both scoring on a Victor Martinez home run in the second inning.
The Orioles hitters again failed to provide their starter with any run support, scoring just two runs off of John Lackey in seven innings. In the second inning, they loaded the bases with one out and scored one run on a single by Cesar Izturis and another on a ground ball that just missed being an inning ending double play. Not all that impressive, but given the Orioles general inability to score runs at all, I'll take it. That'd be it for the O's offense until the 8th inning.
Manny Delcarman relieved Lackey to start the 8th and immediately walked Luke Scott. This is where things got dicey. First, Lou Montanez pinch ran for Scott. In a tie game. In the 8th inning. I know that Juan Samuel isn't long for the manager's seat, so I'm not going to start writing WTF articles on him, but let me refer you to one I wrote regarding pinch runners not too long ago. At this point, the Orioles lineup is Ty Wigginton, Nick Markakis, Luke Scott, and six guys who shouldn't be playing in the majors. Yes, Luke isn't the fastest runner, but sheesh. Not to mention, if you're going to pinch run, why not use Corey Patterson? Did Samuel just feel bad that Lou doesn't get to play very often? Oh, and in case you're wondering if this came back to haunt them, Lou came up with the winning run on base and two outs in the 9th only to fly out.
And then, THEN! Adam Jones bunted! And it was awful. Delcarmen easily threw out Lou at 2nd base. Thank goodness they pinch ran for Luke. And if you're planning on bunting anyway, does Luke really need to get lifted? Is he incapable of scoring from second base on a base hit? And I know Adam Jones has his troubles this season, but bunting? Ooh it just burned me up. But never fear, because Scott Moore saved the day. He doubled down the right field line and Jonesy scored from first to put the O's up 3-2 and give them their first lead of the series.
With the O's up by a run going into the 9th, they turned to their closer Will Ohman. The O Man just pitched Saturday and looked like garbage. Not much changed in a day, as he blew his first save opportunity of the year. Ohman, by the way, relieved Jason Berken, who had pitched a brilliant 1.1 innings in only 11 pitches. God forbid they let him close out the game. A couple singles, a bunt, and a sacrifice fly later and the game was tied. Ohman threw himself a little hissy fit in the dugout after the inning.
The Orioles couldn't do anything against Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th and they traded zeroes with the Red Sox in the 10th. The Sox got a runner into scoring position in the top of the 11th with a single and a wild pitch but couldn't score. David Hernandez did a great job in relief, pitching 2 innings and earning the win.
Our good friend Hideki Okajima had pitched an effective 10th inning, but wouldn't be so lucky in the 11th. He walked Cesar Izturis (he of the 6.1% walk percentage), who moved to second base on a sac bunt by the lead off hitter. The Red Sox then elected to walk Miggi intentionally to set up the double play against Nick Markakis. Nicky said no thanks, and on a 1-2 count lined a single to left-center, bringing in Izzy and earning the O's their first win in the month of June.
O's win! Day off tomorrow, then the Yankees are in town for three.