In a reversal of typical roles, tonight the Baltimore Orioles played the part of the competent baseball team while the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim played the bumblers. Strong pitching + timely hitting + new manager = WIN!
Guthrie and Angels starter Trevor Bell exchanged zeros through four innings, each allowing just two base runners. They both cracked in the fifth inning, though, with Guthrie giving up a two-run home run to Howie Kendrick in the top of the inning and Bell surrendering back-to-back doubles by Felix Pie and Matt Wieters in the bottom.
Ah, Matt Wieters. Let's talk about him for a second! He was one of the two base runners Bell allowed in the first four innings as he singled up the middle to lead off the third. He followed that with the double in the fifth to knock in Pie, and in the sixth inning the Angels showed him reverence by intentionally walking him, where he scored on Josh Bell's double. In the eighth he came to the plate with Adam Jones at third and one out and hit what should have been a sacrifice fly to left field, but Bobby Abreu couldn't get there in time and the ball fell in. Jones scored and Matt moved up to second on the throw, running in that hilarious way of his. From there he was sent home on a single to right field by Cesar Izturis. You know Matt and how he runs, and it didn't help that he stumbled around third base a little. He would have been nailed by a mile but Torii Hunter's throw was up the third base line. Matt managed to evade the catcher the first time, but couldn't get the plate, so he and Mike Napoli played a game of tag at home for few moments before Matt lost. Highly entertaining, especially when, upon being tagged out, Matt gave Napoli an approving pat on the bum on his way back to the dugout.
Back to Guthrie. He'd give up one more run on two hits in the seventh inning, but overall another good outing from Guts. Mike Gonzalez followed with 1.2 innings good innings, and Alfredo Simon came on to get the last out of the game. In the post-game presser, Showalter was asked why he didn't bring in Simon to start the ninth since it was a save situation. Buck stole my heart when he said he kept Gonzo in because it made the most sense for the upcoming Angel hitters, and said, "I know the save rule, believe me. But it doesn't carry much weight with me. I like the win rule a little bit better."
In addition to Wieters, the Orioles got big offensive nights from Luke Scott, Felix Pie, and what the heck, I'll even throw Josh Bell in there. Luke hit a double in his first at bat, then came to base in the sixth inning with Ty Wigginton on base via walk and the score 2-1. Can you guess what he did? If you guessed "monster home run to the back of the bleachers," you win! It put the Orioles up 3-2, and in the same inning Josh Bell hit his first major league double to knock in Pie and Wieters for his first two major league RBI. Felix had a single, a double, and a stolen base. He also made two fine catches in left field.
And what of the new manager? Showalter didn't do much other than inspire four people in the stands to paint their bodies orange and B U C K in black letters on their chest, and a few others to affix antlers to their orioles hats. He came out of the dugout once to talk to the umpire and got a standing ovation.
Good game. Good win. So far, the Buck Era has been kind to us.