The Baltimore Orioles faced spot starter tonight Alfredo Aceves, and while it wasn't the blowout that some people anticipated, the Orioles scored just enough off of him - and former Oriole Koji Uehara - to come away with the victory. Orioles starter Chris Tillman had his ups and downs and only lasted 5 1/3 innings, but he kept the Orioles in the game and turned it over to a very effective bullpen.
The O's got on the board first tonight thanks to a home run from (you guessed it) Chris Davis. The solo shot was the sixth of the year for Davis and the second in as many days. The lead didn't last long as in the bottom of the third inning, Tillman got into some trouble.
It started with a leadoff walk to Stephen Drew. Walks kill, Chris! Tillman struck out the next two batters and it looked like he might get out of it. But then three singles from Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, and Mike Napoli resulted in two runs scored and could have been more but Will Middlebrooks grounded out to end the inning. The long inning took a toll on Tillman's pitch count as he threw 36 pitches in the inning.
Tillman got through the fourth and fifth innings easily, despite another walk to Drew. But the Orioles were still in a hole as the O's hitters couldn't get anything done against Aceves. They had a big chance in the fourth when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Alexi Casilla was called out on strikes to end the thread.
In the fifth inning, Manny Machado and Adam Jones teamed up to tie the game at 2-2. Machado singled with one out, then moved up to second base on a ground out by Nick Markakis. That left it up to Jones, who singled to center field and knocked in Machado.
After allowing two singles and getting just one out in the sixth inning, Chris Tillman was pulled from the game. He was up to 101 pitches and was looking shaky. Brian Matusz replaced him, and while he went to a three-ball count with both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew, he struck them both out to end the inning.
Clayton Mortenson, who had replaced Aceves in the sixth inning, quickly got two outs to start the seventh. But after Machado singled (his third hit of the game), Mortenson was pulled for Andrew Miller. Miller walked Markakis and with two runners on and two outs, John Farrell called on the big gun, Koji Uehara.
We saw Uehara in game two of the series, looking as filthy as ever. But today Adam Jones was ready for him. He lined a double down the left field line. Machado scored to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead, and with first base empty the Red Sox smartly decided to intentionally walk Chris Davis. Matt Wieters hit a fly ball to left field to end the inning.
Armed with a one-run lead, the Orioles turned to their big three relievers of Pedro Strop, Darren O'Day, and Jim Johnson. All three were dominant, even Strop. It was a formula that we got used to seeing in 2012: the starting pitcher is just good enough, the offense scores just enough runs, and the bullpen shuts it down.