Having to get on a plane and fly to Oakland, California just a short while after losing a baseball game in extra innings has to be difficult. That the guy who beat you was Maicer Izturis, and that the way he beat you was a bases loaded walk had to sting a whole hell of a lot more. Winning big in Oakland tonight probably went a long way to erasing the sting of yesterday's painful loss.
I'm not going to front, this was a hard game to stay up to watch. As I mentioned in today's open thread, I just got confirmation that I've succesfully completed my graduate program this afternoon and I decided to go celebrate with the wife and kids. But I promised Stacey that I wouldn't flake and...oh yeah, the game.
The O's and the A's both wasted opportunities in the very first inning as both clubs got the leadoff batter on base only to see their efforts wasted with ground ball double plays. This of course was prelude to an absolute nightmate of a second inning for Orioles starter Jason Hammel.
With one out, Orioles SS J.J. Hardy was eaten up on a nasty short hop off the bat of Brandon Moss and charged with his third error of the year. Next man up Chris Young smoked a ball down the third base line but Manny Machado was money, yet again, making a sterling (or gold, hint hint) backhanded play and nailing Young at first base for the second out. Machado did roll the wrist on his glove hand, scaring every single Orioles fan watching the game, but proved to be OK as he stayed in the game.
With a runner on second base and two outs, Josh Reddick stepped to the plate for Oakland and was pitched around, taking his base after four straight pitches missed from Hammel. Jason fell behind the next batter for Oakland, Josh Donaldson, who hit a 3-1 pitch on a line to deep center field. No problem, Adam Jones was there and...he misplayed another fly ball, this time clunking it off of his wrist, scoring two runs. Jones was not charged with and error and so goes another episode in the #stayhungry chronicles.
Things looked to be getting potentially worse when on the next play, Manny Machado sailed a throw to first base, pulling Chris Davis off the bag for Manny's first error of the season. No worries, as CoCo Crisp grounded out to James Jerry who was able to make this play, ending the inning with no further damage and the birds trailing 2-0.
The Orioles did not let the miscues of the previous half an inning get them down, as a preictable swinging strikeout from Ryan Flaherty was followed by a double to right field from Nolan Reimold. Next up, Nate McLouth sent a ball back up the middle into center field to score Reimold, then stole second base during Manny Machado's at bat. Machado would pop out, but a single by Nick Markakis would plate McLouth and Adam Jones made up at least partially for his blunder in the field with a double into the left field corner. Markakis was waved around by a windmill wearing an Orioles uniform at third base and slid in safely to score the Orioles third run, a lead they would not relinquish.
Immediately after Markakis scored to give the Orioles the lead, Athletics pitching coach Curt Young went out ostensibly to visit his pitcher but decided that he'd rather complain to first base umpire Jim Reynolds about a check swing call from two batters ago and got tossed without even saying a word to Jarrod Parker. Also interesting to note that the very next pitch appeared to hit Chris Davis on the top of his left foot, something video replays seemed to uphold as actually occuring, but Davis was called back into the box and struck out to end the inning. He would be avenged.
The fourth inning was tame in comparison but did feature a pretty ridiculous catch in the left field corner by Chris Young, robbing Matt Wieters of extra bases. Oh, and Flaherty got a hit, imagine that.
The Orioles would score another run on a Markakis sac fly in the fifth inning, which came to be because Nate McLouth again led off the inning by getting on base, this time with a double, followed by a Machado sac bunt, and scoring on Markakis' fly ball,giving the club a 4-2 lead.
Jason Hammel was doing his job at this point, recovering from the craziness of the second inning by retiring the next six batters he faced. Hammel did allow Donaldson to reach on a walk but he was immediately erased by a double play ball and CoCo Crisp would end the fifth with a weak ground out to Chris Davis.
Chris Davis avenged the whole hit by pitch debacle of his previous at bat by casually flicking his wrists and dropping some knowledge on the folks a couple rows up in the left field seats, his eighth home run of the season, making it 5-2, Orioles.
Matt Wieters followed Davis' home run with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch by Jarrod Parker, and advanced to third on a groundout by J.J. Hardy. Ryan Flaherty walked (it's true!) and stole second, bringing up Nolan Reimold, who also walked. End of the road for Jarrod Parker, who pitched terribly and was relieved by Chris Resop. Nate McLouth then hit a tailor-made double play ball to second baseman Eric Sogard, but Nolan's hard slide and Nate's hustle prevented the double play, scoring the Orioles' sixth run of the night.
The Athletics would threaten one last time in the sixth inning during what can best be described as "technical difficulties" on the part of MASN, who not only lost their video feed but also their ability to broadcast in something approximating an FM signal, as both Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer sounded as if they were broadcasting from Malaysia. Hammel retired Josh Reddick to start the inning on a nasty curveball before plunking Seth Smith and allowing a single to Jed Lowrie. Brandon Moss would work the count full but popped out to Manny Machado in foul territory for the second out, and Hammel would end his evening by retiring Chris Young on a fly ball to Adam Jones, who decided he would actually catch this one.
The Orioles would add two runs in each the 7th and 8th innings, running the score up to 10-2, as the Orioles bullpen somewhat shakily held the lead, preserving the Orioles victory. Early defensive issues and injury scares aside, the Orioles never really were threatened by Oakland after taking the lead in the third, and look to continue their success tomorrow, as Wei-Yin Chen takes the hill against Tom Milone at 10:05 pm.