TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 14: Brett Lawrie #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays is tagged out stealing second by Robert Andino #11 of the Baltimore Orioles during MLB game action April 14, 2012 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)
It was the baseball game that couldn't decide what it wanted to be.
At first, it was a game about a starting pitcher struggling with his command and getting knocked around. Jason Hammel, who flirted with a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins, simply was not that same crisp pitcher right out of the gate. He fell behind his batter batter 3-0. By the time he had bases loaded with two outs in the second inning and the imposing figure of Jose Bautista standing in the batter's box, Hammel had thrown 54 pitches and the Orioles were down 2-1.
Then, Brett Lawrie decided to do his best Adam Savage impression on the phrase "fortune favors the bold", attempting to steal home. He was thrown out easily, ending Toronto's opportunity to put the knock-out punch on Hammel. And suddenly, for one reason or another, everything was different. Hammel breezed through the third inning on fifteen pitches. He breezed through the fourth on fourteen pitches. The fifth only took him twelve pitches.
Meanwhile, Chris Davis proved his scouting report highly accurate by destroying a hanging mistake pitch for his first home run of the season, giving the O's a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning. The game was now about a pitcher settling down and the Orioles cruising to a victory on the back of a clutch homer.
Enter from stage left: Matt Lindstrom, who promptly pitched into a meltdown with an assist from noted non-Reynolds third baseman Wilson Betemit. Betemit missed a highly field-able ball for an error. That would have been the second out, and the inning would have ended on Eric Thames' fly-out, but instead Thames was credited with a game-tying sacrifice fly, and the inning ended with the Jays up 4-3.
Betemit then completed his impression of Mark Reynolds by lining a home run in the 8th off Casey Janssen to tie the game back up. So we settled in for yet another game of bullpen attrition. After the marathon Yankee series, I'm beginning to worry about bullpen attrition myself.
Enter from stage right: Nolan Reimold. Now, for the past three years a lot of us Oriole bloggers have been waiting for this exact kind of opportunity for Reimold. The guy has power and on-base skills, and those are kind of the two things you really want from baseball hitters. He pulled a monster clutch two run home run off Francisco Cordero in the top of the ninth to give the Orioles the lead, and you know what? When Reimold is The Guy, it is extra awesome for me.
Then Jim Johnson came on and pitched a quick ninth inning despite a defensive misplay from first baseman Ryan Flaherty. Funny that, a closer with an ability to close games without a lot of drama.
Most Birdland Player
Nolan Reimold (go-ahead dong) (296 votes)
Chris Davis (3-4 with a 2 run dong) (93 votes)
Jim Johnson (1-2-3 ninth inning) (33 votes)
422 total votes