Jeremy Guthrie out-dueled Mark Buehrle and the Oriole offense added 11 hits en route to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Chicago White Sox. The victory was the team's fifth out of six games since Buck Showalter took the reins as manager.
1st Inning: Guts mowed down the first two batters before getting himself into trouble with an Alex Rios single and a huge Paul Konerko double. Adam Jones, however, made a great play in center to end the inning.
2nd Inning: Felix Pie launched a home run to the flag court in right to give the O's a 1-0 lead. The damage could have been worse after Jake Fox reached on an Alexei Ramirez throwing error and Cesar Izturis blooped his 1,000th career hit into center field. Unfortunately, Fox was inexplicably sent home after Josh Bell grounded up the middle. White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham made a pretty nice play and gunned out Fox by at least 20 feet at the plate.
5th Inning: The White Sox got into the action in the 5th inning with some heads up play by Omar Vizquel. Guthrie suddenly got all wild and plunked Juan Pierre with a pitch after the previous delivery ended up going through his legs. Pierre responded by stealing second, beating a low throw from Jake Fox. The next batter, Vizquel, bounced a pitch back up the middle. Guthrie deftly fielded his position and caught Pierre in a run down. Bell made the tag at third, but couldn't get the ball to second in time to nab Vizquel. Alex Rios singled to tie the game at 1.
6th Inning: The offense exploded for with a few timely hits to give the O's a 3-1 lead. DH Corey Patterson led off with a walk and scored on a major league-leading 38th double to the gap in left center by Nick Markakis. Ty Wigginton followed up with a double of his own to score Markakis. Wigginton advanced to third on an Adam Jones sac fly, but did not score.
7th Inning: Izturis led off the inning with a double to deep left center for his 1,001st career hit. Bell hit a fly ball much deep enough to advance the runner, but Izturis stayed put. Luckily, White Sox catcher Ramon Castro lost a ball at his feet and Izturis was able to advance. Brian Roberts knocked the runner in with a single to left giving the O's a 4-1 lead.
9th Inning: Alfredo Simon relieved Guthrie looking for his 17th save of the year. He got Mark Kotsay to ground out to first before allowing a single to Ramirez and a towering home run to Castro cutting the lead to a mere run and make the game as interesting as possible. Simon recorded the final two outs and earned the save.
Outstanding game by Guthrie today makes several great starts in a row for him. It also continues an fantastic run from the starting pitchers since Buck Showalter took over. Brian Matusz will look to continue the efforts tomorrow evening against Edwin Jackson (he of the 149 pitch no-hitter).Five Game Notes:
1) Caser Izturis recorded his 1,000th major league hit. Congrats, Cesar Salad.
2) The base-running really needs some improvement. Izturis could have cost the Orioles a run after failing to advance on Josh Bell's fly ball. Jake Fox was also sent home by an unidentified member of the coaching staff (presumably the third base coach) on a fairly weak grounder up the middle and was nailed at the plate. Fox hadn't even entered the camera frame when the throw got home. C'mon, man! Not a smart play at all.
3) Pretty good defense all around today. Jones made a nice play in center to end the first and Pie made a fantastic running grab later on. Bell, Izturis, and Guthrie all made some very nice plays around the infield (even though Bell nearly blocked a ball with his face).
4) Five straight quality starts for Jeremy Guthrie. Today was the best of them all, as Guts finished the game with 8IP, 4K, 6H, and just 1ER. Keep up all the good work.
5) Anybody else think Buck's "endorsement" of Alfredo Simon as the closer right before the top of the 9th was a bit of an indirect way of saying "we need a closer"?