I just got back from Safeco Field where the Orioles breezed to a 10-4 victory over the Mariners. Despite all the talk of spoilers it was clear today that the Orioles simply out match the Mariners. This one started out on the right foot, with a loud "O!" during the anthem from a contingent of Oriole fans that actually seemed to out number the Mariners fans. After that, a mix of good starting pitching, offense, and a little help from the Mariners led to a pretty easy win for the O's. With the Yankees getting an off day, the Orioles are now half a game back in the AL East.
The scouting report from my dad on Hector Noesi was that he fails to get batters out with two strikes. The first batter of the game proved this point. Nate McLouth drove an 0-2 meatball deep out to left, giving the O's a 1-0 lead that they wouldn't look back from.
With two outs in the first Noesi walked Jones, gave up a single to Wieters, then ran into some pretty terrible luck when Mark Reynolds hit the ball about 40 feet allowing Jones to score from third. With Wieters now at second Manny Machado bounced a ball back up the middle scoring the third run of the first inning.
In the second inning, the O's didn't stop piling on, Andino and McLouth reached ahead of J.J. Hardy who knocked in Dino with a solid double into left field. Then after Chris Davis made an out, Jones crushed a line drive off the glove of a diving Brendan Ryan scoring one more run. Wieters would then hit into what seemed like it was an inning ending double play but Justin Smoak's throw to Ryan at second was a little off and with Jones coming into the bag hard, Ryan couldn't handle it. So Noesi got no outs and the Orioles got another run. Reynolds capped the inning off with a RBI double giving the Orioles a 7-0 lead. After the Reynolds double, Oliver Perez came in to relieve Noesi.
In the fourth Wieters, with Jones on at second, crushed one to deep center that got over the glove of Franklin Gutierrez, a fence scraper, but at Safeco even the fence scrapers are pretty well hit.
In the 6th the Orioles would take on one more, thanks to Micheal Saunders dropping a line drive and then misplaying a fly ball down the line they loaded the bases for Endy Chavez who plunked one between Ryan and Saunders in shallow left. That would cap their day at the plate.
Chris Tillman was very good today, despite a 2nd inning solo shot. He threw 91 pitches through 6 innings in his first start back from elbow soreness issues. It would have been nice to see him put away some of these hitter a little bit faster, but chalk it up to the rust.
The bullpen was not so hot, the Mariners offense, perhaps a little embarrassed by the 13k turnout and the results of the first 7 innings, fought back in the last two innings. Zach Phillips gave up a solo bomb in the 8th. Luis Ayala came in to finish the 8th, but in the 9th, despite getting two outs he gave up a couple of runs and was throwing pretty hittable stuff. Tommy Hunter came in with 2 outs in the 9th and two runners on and loaded the bases, but struck out the final batter to seal the deal for the O's.
Also, it should be noted that early in the game, Machado and Reynolds hooked up for another great play, with Machado making a tough grab and Reynolds making a beautiful stretch and catch on the other end.
Hopefully the Orioles will continue to handle the rest of their schedule in the manner they did today.
Tomorrow I will post some pictures from BP and the game, including a sweet pic of my Brian Matusz autograph!