On the day before Hurricane Irene is forecast to roll over the Mid-Atlantic region, it was the Orioles who made it rain in Baltimore. The O's offense unleashed a storm of extra-base hits off Yankees pitchers, including a streak of six straight extra-base hits in the bottom of the second inning. In all, the Orioles had five doubles, a triple, and three home runs and they rode that to a 12-5 victory, their 5th straight.
The flurry of blows came mostly against Yankees starter A.J. Burnett, who didn't have his best night. Though it looked like he might get chased in the 2nd, he made it through five innings but gave up nine earned runs on nine hits and two walks. Every Orioles starter recorded a base hit. Burnett was hardly the only Yankee who had a bit of a rough night, as Yankees fielders had four errors in the game.
Tommy Hunter pitched for the O's, and he was very Tommy Hunter. He had gone through six innings only giving up a run on a home run by Jorge Posada - seriously, why does it always have to be him? But then he came out for the seventh, and while it's good to throw strikes when your team is winning by ten runs, you don't want to throw the kind of strikes that Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher deposit into the seats. In all, Hunter pitched seven innings and gave up four earned runs, all of which scored on homers. He had no walks and four strikeouts. I think that will count as a successful innings-eating.
The game was the first for the Orioles back in Baltimore since the death of former player, coach, GM and broadcaster Mike Flanagan. The O's now sport Flanny patches on their uniform sleeves, which they will have for the remainder of the season, and the O's had several special things before and during the course of the game. The out-of-town scoreboard displayed a "46" for the whole game. After the first inning, the O's played a tribute video to Flanagan and it was surely dusty at Camden Yards, as it was in the Esskay abode, with nary a dry eye to be found. On the MASN broadcast, Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer informed us that two of Flanagan's three daughters were in attendance for the game. They were treated to a ritual beatdown that was par for the course in the franchise's better days.
We were not without little dramatic subplots even in a game where the O's looked to be in control for the whole game. As discussed on the TV broadcast, the Yankees apparently did not like the contingency plans developed by the Orioles for rescheduling games that may be postponed by Irene, even though the O's plan was approved by the commissioner's office. It seems that the Yankees rejected back-to-back doubleheaders on Sunday and Monday because they want to line up their rotation for their upcoming Boston series, and they did not want to lose their only scheduled off day on September 8. Too bad for them. Saturday's doubleheader games have now been postponed, and there will be a day-night doubleheader on Sunday, with the other game being made up in Baltimore on September 8. Curtis Granderson, whom, as the Yanks player rep to the union, relayed that statement to the media, was hit by a pitch from Hunter.
As the MASN broadcast relayed this information to us, Thorne and Palmer both were full of righteous Baltimore indignation. If you missed watching it, you would have been proud. After Granderson was hit, there were a couple of Burnett curveballs that "slipped" and came near the heads of Orioles batters, although nobody was actually hit. Following one of these, Palmer opined, "If you wanna throw at our guys, that's fine, but you've got way more to lose."
Much as we've seen Mark Reynolds struggle defensively at third base, he's looked that natural since shifting over to first base. Reynolds made some nice picks and seems to get better reactions on balls hit to him when he is on that side. Reynolds also added an impressive homer to left on an at-bat where he saw a 3-0 count go 3-2. That was the pitch he crushed for his 30th bomb of the season.
The Reynolds homer was the first of the six straight XBH. Reynolds homer was followed by a Ryan Adams double, which was followed by a Nolan Reimold double, which was followed by a Matt Angle double (a Baltimore Chop that Jetered its way over Mark Teixeira's head), which in turn was followed by a Robert Andino double. The sequence was capped by a J.J. Hardy home run, at the end of which the Orioles had a 6-0 lead. That was all they would need on the night. Hardy's homer was his 25th in 436 plate appearances.
Reimold had two hits on the night, adding a two-run triple in the 5th. Matt Wieters was the only other Oriole with multiple hits, with a double right before the Reimold triple, adding a three-run homer in the 6th. The homer by Wieters was his 14th. His previous career high was 11.
Willie Eyre pitched the 8th, giving up a run and Jim Johnson threw a perfect 9th to close out the victory. The O's won't be facing Burnett every night in their string of AL East games, but watching tonight, you could almost allow yourself to think that the stretch of games to close out the season won't be completely terrible.
The next game will be at 1:35pm on Sunday, unless that game is rained out too.