The Orioles continued their spoiling ways tonight (not that the Rays took advantage), coming from behind in the eighth inning to take their second game of the series. Robert Andino played the hero at the plate while the bullpen put up another strong effort, pitching six scoreless innings after Rick VandenHurk was knocked out with no outs in the fourth.
VandenHurk got his second start tonight, and he proved once again why he is a last resort. Back-to-back doubles from Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning gave the Red Sox an early lead, and a walk and another single loaded the bases for the Red Sox before Vandy finally got out of the inning.
Former Oriole Erik Bedard was given a very quick hook, exiting in the third inning after giving up a four spot. He allowed one single each in the first and second innings, then got knocked around good in the third (with a little help from Boston's defense). Andino singled with one out, then after a pop out from J.J. Hardy, Nick Markakis doubled over Jacoby Ellsbury's head. Andino scored easily. Vladimir Guerrero followed that with a line drive to left field. Josh Reddick charged the ball but came in too far and played it for an error. Nick scored from second and the inning continued.
Maybe the error shook Bedard up, because something happened to make him lose control. He walked Matt Wieters, which isn't that crazy, but he then walked Adam Jones, who hates to walk. That loaded the bases for Mark Reynolds, who hit a single past a diving Mike Aviles at third. Vladdy and Matt scored on the play, putting the O's up 4-2. That was the end of the line for Bedard, who was replaced with Scott Atchison.
The lead didn't last long. The Red Sox came back for two in the bottom of the third on a two-run homer from Adrian Gonzalez. They got two more runs in the fourth, both charged to Vandy. He walked the leadoff hitter from Marco Scutaro, then allowed singles to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Aviles, with Scutaro scoring on the second single. With runners on first and second and no outs, Vandy's was pulled. Jo-Jo Reyes came on in relief and he got all three outs with only one more run scoring. Sadly it was the go-ahead run, making the score 5-4 in favor of the Red Sox.
After that it was the bullpen show, with both sides putting up an impressive effort. In innings five through seven only one thing worth discussing happened. In the top of the fifth inning, Vlad singled and was on first with Wieters at the plate. On a 3-2 count, Vlad took off and Matt checked his swing. The umpire took a very long time to make the call, so Vlad thought it was called ball four and slowed up. The umpire finally called it strike three and Vlad was thrown out easily.
It was not a good call. The strike call itself wasn't awful, but with the runner going the umpire can't just take fourteen minutes to make a call. Sheesh. Buck argued as much and was ejected from the game.
Daniel Bard came in to pitch the seventh inning and got the Orioles 1-2-3, so Terry Francona sent him back out for the eighth. Bard struck out Jones but Wieters and Reynolds singled, and Francona then elected to bring in Jonathan Papelbon for a five-out save.
Here's a fun fact: there is no pitcher I love coming back against more than Papelbon. The faces he makes fill me with rage, so making him sad is awesome. Anyway, Papelbon struck out Chris Davis, but a single from Reimold loaded the bases for Andino.
Andino saw seven pitches, all fastballs, and on the seventh one he went the other way, lining a double down the right field line. Wieters, Reynolds, and Reimold all scored, giving the Orioles a 7-5 lead. Dino!
With the lead, the O's turned to Pedro Strop for the eighth inning, and he was fantastic. He struck out Scutaro and Saltalamacchia, then got Aviles on a fly ball out to left field. Jim Johnson came in for the save, and though the first batter somehow reached on interference by Matt Wieters, JJ simply got the next guy to ground into a double play. A ground out to first ended the game.
Not bad, O's. Not bad at all.