A's 9, O's 8: Missed Opportunities

This about sums it up. - Thearon W. Henderson

O's start the game with a flourish, but miss opportunity for sweep after pitching collapse.

The Baltimore Orioles took the field on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Oakland following a trio of wins and a sweep in full view. They'd face a pitcher who had excellent career success against them, but the offense was clicking this time. In the end, the offense clicked just fine, but poor pitching performances coupled with bad management tilted the game in Oakland's favor. The O's must wait another series to go for their first sweep of the season.

After three innings, it appeared the proclaimed pitcher's duel might happen after all, as both pitchers got through those innings without any damage. The O's struck first in the top of the 4th inning. Nate McLouth, Manny Machado, and Nick Markakis would all single to load the bases for Adam Jones. He'd deliver a fourth single, scoring McLouth and keeping the bases jammed. Chris Davis would follow up with a double and Matt Wieters a sac fly. Just like that, it's 4-0 Orioles. Maybe Colon isn't so tough after all! The O's went on to secure another run in the 5th on an Adam Jones double that scored Nate McLouth (who got on via another single). Machado, however, would be thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

Miguel Gonzalez looked relatively decent through the first few innings, but began his inevitable collapse (seriously...can we get some guys who go deep into games??) in the 6th inning. Coco Crisp knocked in the first run on consecutive doubles. John Jaso would single, then Seth Smith would add the first of his multiple RBIs on a fielder's choice. A single and a walk led to a double by Josh Donaldson. With the O's lead cut to just one run, Buck opted to make the call to bullpen. Troy Patton came on and finished off the inning.

In the top of the 7th, the O's would get a run back after Nate McLouth had his third hit of the afternoon. He'd steal second and come home on a Machado single. (Author's note: at this point, my garbage disposal started to leak all over my kitchen, so I had to stop watching the game for a bit. I missed the bottom of the 7th and the entire 8th inning.) Patton would come back for the bottom of the 7th and allow a homer to Seth Smith, tying the game at 6. Patton was promptly pulled for Darren O'Day, but the damage was done.

The Orioles would add runs in both the 8th and 9th innings on a Chris Davis home run and a Machado double (following McLouth's fourth hit of the night, this one a double). Brian Matusz did a solid job in the bottom of the 8th, so at this point, one might have thought the O's were headed for a sweep. If you thought this, you'd have been gravely mistaken, as Buck decided to leave Matusz out for another inning to face right handed batters rather than opt for Jim Johnson. Matusz promptly allowed a homer to Yoenis Cespedes (a righty) and gets pulled for Strop with the game tied. Strop barely escapes, allowing the game to go to extra innings. The O's top of the 10th goes about as quickly as one could ever imagine and Strop comes back for an ill-fated second inning of work. He first allows a single to a guy who hadn't hit in his last 17 plate appearances, then lets Adam Rosales reach on a fielders choice. A poor play by J.J. Hardy (although the error gets charged to Machado) and game over.

This game was a real heart breaker, as the O's had this game won about three times and couldn't find the pitching necessary to win. Combine some weak efforts out of the pitchers and some awful bullpen management and that spells....well....defeat. Hard to fault any of the position players, as many of them had huge days at the plate. Now the O's head north to Seattle for a three game set versus the Mariners.

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