There was absolutely no chance that the Baltimore Orioles team that showed up at Turner Field in Atlanta was going to beat Jair Jurrjens tonight. You could replay this game one hundred times and the Orioles would beat the Braves probably zero out of one hundred times.
Jurrjens was dealing, taking advantage of a generously wide strike zone from home plate umpire Brian Runge in a way that O's starter Jeremy Guthrie just could not. The Orioles were lucky to get even two men on base; he carried a perfect game through five innings that was broken up by a Mark Reynolds walk, and he kept the no-hitter going through six and a third when Adam Jones got a single. No Oriole reached base for the remainder of the game, signaling the end of Nick Markakis' career-long 19-game hitting streak.
This was not like those games where the Orioles get randomly complete gamed and shut out by some scrub pitcher. Jurrjens now sports the best ERA in the major leagues, a 1.89 with 104.2 IP. That's impressive even in a year where pitching is dominant. The dude is good, the Orioles are not good; many nights in baseball games there's no mystery to the outcome. Tonight was one such night. Jurrjens struck out eight and only threw 112 pitches in the game.
On the other side was Guthrie, who actually didn't have a bad night. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Guthrie went seven innings, which was the first time in something like 17 games that an Orioles pitcher went more than six innings. Through seven, he'd only allowed two runs - Jordan Schafer singled and Jason Heyward homered. Turner Field played cavernous tonight, but Guts is still Guts and he gave up the bomb to deep center.
Guthrie was tired and probably should not have come out to start the eighth. The first two men reached and Pedro Viola came on in relief. The inherited runners both scored, although it wasn't really Viola's fault. He got a popup and two ground balls. One of the ground balls was just past a diving J.J. Hardy. The other one of them resulted in a Derrek Lee throwing error as Lee tried in vain to start a double play. He threw the ball into the runner at second, scoring an unearned run. Guts had six hits, three walks and six strikeouts to go with four runs (three earned). Not a bad night, but not good enough. He would have needed a no-hitter of his own to compete with Jurrjens tonight, and even that probably would have resulted in an extra-inning game that the Orioles bullpen would have blown.
Losers of four in a row, the O's are now nine games below .500, the worst they have been all year. It'll be up to Jake Arrieta to turn in a strong start tomorrow to help stop the slide. The hitters will be up against Braves starter Tim Hudson, who, with a 3.51 ERA, is the second-worst Braves starter. Do you like our chances? No, I don't, either.