For most of his career, Jon Lester has dominated the Orioles. In fact, coming into tonight's game, the Orioles had never hung a loss on him in 20 career starts. He's gone 14-0 and escaped with a no decision six times (including his last three starts against the O's). But tonight, that changed. He is now 14-1 lifetime against the Orioles. Just one more barrier broken down by the 2012 Orioles. Next up, playoffs!
Starting tonight for the Orioles was Miguel Gonzalez, and he got through 6 1/3 innings with just two runs. If you're keeping track at home, that's a quality start, and you know what that means for the Orioles. He gave up a solo run in the third inning thanks two doubles from Daniel Nava and Pedro Ciriaco, and another run in the fifth when he gave up three consecutive two-out singles, the last from Dustin Pedroia to knock in a run.
Other than those two innings, he was pretty good. A single in the first, a walk in the fourth, and a one-out single in the seventh were his only other blemishes. It was after that last hit that Buck Showalter decided to go to the bullpen, but it was a good night for the rookie.
As for the O's offense, they put up just enough against Lester to take the game. Lester was good through the first three innings, but Matt Wieters made him pay in the fourth. A single by J.J. Hardy and a double from Adam Jones put two runners on for Wieters, who singled into right field. Both runners scored to give the O's a 2-1 lead. After a pop out from Mark Reynolds, Lew Ford walked to extend the inning, but unfortunately Manny Machado grounded into a double play to end it.
Two more runs scored in the sixth inning, again thanks in part to Wieters. Jones took a walk with one out, then Wieters went the other way, lining a ball to left field. Jones scored from first and Wieters ended up on second base with a double. He moved to third on a wild pitch by Lester, then scored easily as Reynolds lined a ball back up the middle for a single.
After the sixth inning, the Orioles put one runner on base in each of the final three innings, but couldn't score again. A scary moment came in the ninth inning when Mark Melancon threw a pitch that got away from him and hit Robert Andino at the base of the neck. Dino's helmet flew off and while he went to first base, he ended up coming out of the game. He's going to undergo some tests to make sure he doesn't have a concussion, but something tells me that if Dino has his way he'll be back out there tomorrow trying to stick it to the Red Sox.
The O's bullpen was shutdown again tonight. Darren O'Day relieved Gonzalez with one out in the seventh inning and pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings. Jim Johnson came on for the final inning and despite giving up one ground-ball single, he locked up his 46th save of the year, a new Orioles record.
For the scoreboard watchers, the Yankees beat the Athletics on a tenth inning walk-off homer by Russell Martin. That means the O's remain one game behind the Yankees in the AL East but are now up one game on the A's in the wild card.