The Orioles got on the board first tonight with a single run in the top of the first inning, but sadly it was the only run they were interested in scoring. Nate McLouth hit a two-out double that Nelson Cruz made a hilarious jump in the middle of right field for, then came in to score on a single by Adam Jones that hit off of first baseman Mitch Moreland's glove.
Miguel Gonzalez allowed a lot of baserunners tonight. He was in and out of trouble for most of his five innings pitched, as there was only one inning in which he faced only three batters. And even that inning, the third, ended thanks to a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play.
Still, while he was playing with fire for most of the night, the inning that hurt him was one in which he seemed, more than anything, the victim of bad luck. In the fourth inning he allowed the first two batters, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz, to reach on a single and a walk respectively. He then got Michael Young to line out to left for the first out, which also happened to be the hardest hit ball of the inning. RBI singles from David Murphy and Geovany Soto followed, but both were hit softly and just fell in the right spots. Those two hits were really all the Rangers needed, but since when did that stop them?
Because the Orioles couldn't catch a break in that inning, Moreland hit a ball back up the middle that was hit too slowly for shortstop Omar Quintanilla to field, and the bases were loaded with one out. The final run of the inning came on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ian Kinsler.
The Rangers added their fourth run in the fifth inning when Nelson Cruz doubled in Josh Hamilton. As for the Orioles, they also got a hit in the fifth inning, a one-out single by Nick Markakis. Why is that single notable, you ask? Because it was the last baserunner they had in the entire game. Rangers starter Ryan Dempster, who had shut them down over the first half of the game, got even better as he went along and he ultimately pitched eight innings, giving up just the run in the first inning and allowing four hits and two walks. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth inning, striking out the side.
As for the Orioles bullpen, Kevin Gregg and Matt Lindstrom each pitched one scoreless inning in relief of Gonzalez, and J.C. Romero pitched the eighth and wasn't that good. Two hits, including a leadoff double, led to the Rangers fifth and final run, and he also threw a walk in there for good measure. I miss Troy Patton.
So with the first game of the series lost, tomorrow the Orioles turn to Chris Tillman to help them take game two. As EME likes to say, hold on to your butts.