The highlight of this ballgame was the work put in by Jake Arrieta, despite being inexplicably taken out of the game in the 7th inning, he pitched 6.1 innings, giving up 1 run (on a solo homer in the first), striking out two, all on 90 pitches. He came on strong behind the outing of Tillman last night, and provided what one might call a glimpse of the Orioles future. In the first inning, he pitched well but gave up a first inning solo bomb to Ian Kinsler. That was it, one run on one pitch. Arrieta would strike out three and walk two. He gave up 5 hits other than the solo shot and many of those hits were either seeing eye groundballs or cheap bloop hits. It was really nice to watch Arrieta backup the performance of Tillman with this near gem.
Entering the 7th inning, Arrieta had thrown 88 pitches. Elvis Andrus was the first hitter, pinch hitting for catcher Bengie Molina. Arrieta got him to ground out on two pitches. With a lefty coming up next, Juan Samuel decided to go with the lefty - lefty matchup, never mind Arrieta was doing just fine, never mind he had only throw 90 pitches, never mind the left hander was only hitting .200. We must have match ups. Ohman came in to face Chris Davis. He walked Davis. Josh Hamiltion came up as a pinch hitter next. Hamilton singled to right and that was it for Ohman. The match up clearly worked out great. Jason Berken came up next and got the next two right handers to fly out. So the bullpen avoided blowing the game, however I still feel that Jake should have stayed in the game, my case:
Arrieta didn't have a high pitch count and he needs the confidence that he can finish his own game. Good pitchers go 7 innings all the time. Let's assume Arrieta is a good pitcher, why bring him out of the game when he hasn't even gotten into trouble. I know this all worked out, but I was really irate at this move. Feel free to post your opinion on the move below.
Anyway, Jason Berken came in and pitched 1.2 innings without giving up a hit or a run, while walking one. Simon got his 13th save in the 9th, giving up a couple of hits while doing so. Arrieta got his 3rd win and lowered his ERA to 4.38, from 4.96.
The second inning was the big inning for the Orioles at the plate. Adam Jones started out with a double, which he thought was a home run. Had he not jogged out of the batters box, he would have had a triple, lucky for him it all worked out. Jake Fox followed, he struck out for the first time, he would do so again later. New starting catcher, Craig Tatum, worked a walk, putting runners at first and second with one out. Julio Lugo stepped to the plate and "ripped" a double into left field, plating Jones and putting runners at second and third. Next up was Cesar Izturis. The Rangers brought the infield in and I pleaded with Izturis to "Get Corey up there..." Cesar obliged, grounding out to Micheal Young, who was playing in at third base. That brought up Corey Patterson with runners ar second and third and two outs. Scorey, as we call him here, placed a ball into left field, bringing in Lugo and Tatum, he hustled his way into second with a two out double. That was it in the second, an impressive offensive inning, in which the Orioles drew two walks, one by Tejada, and really made C.J. Wilson work. That was three runs and all the O's would need.
Later in the 9th inning, against Frank Fransisco, Miguel Tejada would hit the "Ford Drive of the Game" just over the fence in right for a fourth Oriole run. Overall the Orioles were 3-13 with runners in scoring position, yet all they needed was a big hit from Corey Patterson. Markakis and Ty Wigginton had tough days, they both went 1-5, with a combined 3 strikeouts. Everyone but Jake Fox reached base at least once. Tejada would finish the day with a shocking 3 walks along with his long ball.
On defense the Orioles really did a great job. Patterson made a nice sliding play in left and Tejada put on a throwing clinic once again, showing off his cannon on a regular basis.
This was a great way to end the first half, a four game sweep, on the road, against a first place team. Hopefully what we saw from some of the young starters, the hitters, and the late inning bullpen guys rolls over into the second part of the season.
Looking forward to the second half, we can expect to see Wieters and Pie come back, as well as Mike Gonzalez.
Hope you all enjoy a safe, fun All-Star Break. Tune into the Home Run Derby on Monday, the All-Star Game on Tuesday, then enjoy two baseball-less days. The Orioles will continue their regular season on the 16th against the Blue Jays of Canada.