Listening to Jon Miller call an Oriole game, oh when I was a kid, oh how magic it seemed. Courtesy MLB dot tv, I was fortunate enough to watch the call of Jon Miller today. The Orioles are currently out of the playoff picture, and #stafface takes the hill in a game that a staff ace would probably win. If you believe in such things.
On the hill for the Giants was Ryan Vogelsong. While I love that he pitched for Team USA in the WBC, he was coming off the disabled list, so this is a guy the bats need to beat. And the Orioles started the game off right, with Manny Machado smashing a one out double to right, where Miller would tell me that there have been something like 15 homers by right handers down the right field line since their ballpark opened. So that's pretty crazy, but back to current events. Markakis advanced Machado to third, but with two outs, it would up to Adam Jones. And Adam Jones once again came through with two outs in California, this time with an inconspicuous single to center. Chris Davis would draw a walk but Matt Wieters lined out to end the threat. But a run is a run.
Staked with a lead, Chris Tillman needed to take control of a struggling Giants team. And as he can do, he took control, and how. He allowed a one out single, but was able to pitch around it, retiring the side without too much difficulty. To start off the second frame, JJ Hardy hit a line drive shot out to left, and it barely cleared the wall. But the Orioles were up two. Nate McLouth would hit a two out double, but Manny was unable to score him.
So, now with a two run lead, how would Tillman do? Hunter Pence, who has been hot of late, led off with single. Then, Pablo Sandoval apparently struck out, only the home plate umpire didn't see it like that, and called a swing strike a foul ball. Sandoval would work a walk, and I cannot imagine I was alone in having a sinking feeling. But seemingly, something happened. Chris Tillman struck out the next three batters to retire the side.
The third inning brought a rally by the Orioles. Markakis would pop out, Adam Jones would again single to center, Chris Davis would strikeout and Matt Wieters would single. Two on, two out, JJ Hardy stepping in the box. Ryan Vogelsong seemingly on the ropes, and three straight balls. On a 3-0 count, Hardy looks fastball, and lines it...straight into the glove of the left fielder. Tough break for your hometown nine.
But Tillman shut down the Giants in the third. And the fourth. And the fifth. And then with two outs in the sixth, after retiring 12 in a row, Brandon Belt would absolutely hammer a pitch out for a solo homerun. Hammered it like 421 plus feet. But Tillman would comeback to strikeout Buster Posey, and heading into the late innings, the Orioles were up 2-1.
Against lefty Jose Mijares in the 7th, the Orioles would go down quietly, with Buck opting to keep Chris Tillman in, as he was at an economical 90 pitches after six. But he would be retired, as would McLouth and Machado (on a 3-0 count nonetheless!). Speaking of Manny, Jon Miller was effusive in his praise. He clearly has learned his lesson, Mr. Angelos. Anyway, Tillman would again retire the side in order in the seventh. But the Orioles would go quietly in the eighth. And trouble would follow in the bottom half. Gregor Blanco would reach on a single. Andres Torres would be unable to get the sacrifice down as Manny would gun down Blanco at second. Tillman would retire Marco Scutaro on a flyout and Brandon Crawford on a line out. Now facing righty Sandy Rosario, the Orioles ninth was silent, with Wieters and Hardy being quickly retired. Brian Roberts worked a walk, and Ryan Flaherty pinch hit for Chris Tillman, and he would weakly ground out.
On to the bottom of the ninth and with the slimmest of leads, Jim Johnson would allow a lead off single to Brandon Belt, who previously demolished a pitch to right. And Buster Posey, the reigning MVP, would work a walk. Hunter Pence would bounce one up the middle on a ball that must have bounced a hundred times before getting to the hard charging Jones, and the game would be tied. JJ would then induce a groundout off the bat of Pablo Sandoval to Chris Davis who made a great play and retired Pence at second. So, first and third, one out, tie game. But JJ would get the rookie Roger Kieshnick to strikeout on Ball 4. Two outs, first and third. And Gregor Blanco would line out to Ryan Flaherty, who stayed in the game at second. 2-2, headed to extras.
So, since the third inning, when JJ Hardy opted to swing at that 3-0 pitch and lineout, the Orioles have gone 0-17 with 3 walks. Would that prove to be an ominous sign heading into extras? The Giants turned it over to lefty Javier Lopez, whom Vin Scully is fond of saying that he has a bachelor's degree in psychology. Anyway, he easily retires McLouth, but Manny slashed a liner in the hole on the left side, which would skip off the shortstop's glove, and Manny would get all the way to second for his second double of the day, and a hustle one at that. But the lefty Lopez would retire Markakis. Interestingly, he would walk the good doctor, and set up a two out confrontation with Chris Davis, with two runners on and two outs. To give you a bit of background, Lopez's OPS against righties is 727, but against lefties it is 429. So it's easy to understand the logic. But with a 1-2 count Chris Davis would make them pay via a 2 out, 2 run double. And Matt Wieters would score him on a single, and fortunately for the Orioles the throw from center would bounce off the mound, canceling any play at the plate. 5-2 Orioles. Santiago Casilla, a rightie, would retire JJ Hardy.
Tommy Hunter comes in and easily retires Hector Sanchez on a lazy fly to the good doctor. Hunter gets Marco Scutaro to fly out to center as well. And Hunter would get Brandon Crawford to pop out to Manny to end the game. O's win 5-2. Ain't the beer cold!