On a comfortable night in Baltimore, the Orioles finally snapped a 9 game losing streak that stretched back over two weeks. Alfredo Simon pitched seven strong innings, Nick Markakis had 3 hits (2 doubles and home run), and the bullpen.......well, let's not get started on the bullpen. It was a nail-biter all the way to the finish, but they managed to sneak out with a victory. Okay, so it really wasn't a nail-biter until the 8th inning. At that point, you begin to realize that it is quite possible the O's would go into the ninth inning with a lead. At that same point, you also realize that the guy getting the ball in the ninth inning is none other than Kevin "Mike Tyson" Gregg. Naturally, your horrible suspicions are correct as Gregg promptly walks the bases loaded and then gives up a bases-clearing double to Orlando Cabrera. Just like that, the score is 6-5 and the Orioles are forced to bring on Mike Gonzalez for the final out. Scary that the O's turn to Gonzalez (one ineffective reliever) to recover from another ineffective reliever. But hey, you get what you pay for! (oh wait.....) Anyways.....five notes from the game that you may or may not already know:
- Alfredo Simon became just the second Oriole starter in 29 games to go 7 or more innings. The last time that happened was July 1st. Jeremy Guthrie went 7 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves
- Nick Markakis' three hits brought his average up to .400 since June 8th. The home run helped his OPS up to .741 which almost makes him relevant again! Congrats, Nicky.
- Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless 8th inning and added 2 more Ks to his record. The last time he allowed a run was June 19th against the Washington Nationals.
- After a terrible fielding performance on Friday night, the Orioles turned to Felix Pie in left field yet again. His night was a little better this time. He even added two huge insurance runs with a double in the 8th (of course, the runs are only needed when you have Kevin Gregg as your closer). Nolan was in the game at DH, but apparently nobody thinks he can play defense. Luke Scott is expected to come off the DL soon, so expect Reimold to be glued to the bench yet again.
- Kevin Gregg threw 31 pitches. Only 16 of them went for strikes. First guy to even put the ball in play ended up on second with a 3-run double. Sigh.
In any case, a win is a win, no matter how you get it. That win is even better when it snaps a long losing streak that sent us all back to wondering why we cheer for such a team. Mitch Atkins will take the mound tomorrow as the O's look to break even with the Indians. A blow-by-blow account of the events follows the jump.
Bottom 1: Newly rich J.J. Hardy puts the ball into deep right and makes it all the way to
the bank second on the play. Two sac flies later (from Markakis and Adam Jones), he scores and the O's have a 1-0 lead.
Bottom 4: Nick Markakis leads off with the first of what would be three XBH. This one's a double. Nicky would take third on an Adam Jones ground ball and score on Derrek Lee's single to give the O's a 2-0 lead.
Top 6: Austin Kearns and Lou Marson start the inning with an infield single and a walk. Both runners would advance on a ground ball and score on Michael Brantley's double. Game tied at 2. twistedlogic has another beer.
Bottom 6: Nick Markakis puts a pitch somewhere into those 2110 Eutaw Street bleachers. And there was much rejoicing! O's lead 3-2.
Bottom 8: Markakis continues his great night with another double. Adam Jones followed that with a double that would score Markakis from second. Matt Wieters (IBB) and Mark Reynolds walk to load the bases. Felix Pie delivered a double allowing both Jones and Wieters to score. O's up 6-2. Is it enough?????
Top 9: How many runs does it take to keep Kevin Gregg from blowing the game? The world may never know. Apparently, its more than 3. Gregg started nicely with a strikeout, but then managed to walk the bases loaded. After one more strikeout, Orlando Cabrera doubles to the gap and all three baserunners score. Lead is cut to one and the O's turn to Mike Gonzalez for the final out. twistedlogic pours himself a stiff drink. Gonzo does his job and gets the save. Considering how the Orioles make their other staffing decisions, that save probably means he'll be the closer for the near future. Okay, maybe not, but I'm really just trying to jinx it.