Thank goodness Bud Norris had the foresight to take today's starting lineup for an all expense paid steak dinner. That's how it seemed, anyways...Norris got himself into trouble early and often this afternoon, but the defense bailed him out repeatedly and Norris endeavored to persevere. Unfortunately, the generosity of today's starters did not seem to extend to the offensive phase of the game. Not during Norris' part of the day, anyways. Until the top of the 6th, the only baserunner allowed by Giants' starter Matt Cain was Norris on an infield single that ricocheted off of Cain.
The Giants got down to business early on. Marco Scutaro led off the bottom of the first with a single, but, next, Adam Jones made a spectacular play on hard hit liner off the bat of Brandon Crawford. Jones seemed to pick the ball out of the air in the final moments before groundfall while avoiding what would have surely been a nasty collision with Nate "Maximum" McLouth. It didn't seem to matter at the time, though, as Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence would double in the inning to give the Giants a 2-0 lead, before Norris would extricate himself from the first of a couple dicey situations. The next would crop in the following inning.
With two down in the bottom of the second, Scutaro doubled and then Norris walked Crawford. One could be forgiven for seeing doom in the impending plate appearance of Belt. The once forgotten prospect has finally had something of a breakout this season and is on a particularly notable hot streak. Belt looped a 1-2 pitch over the infield, but McLouth came in hard from left and made a sliding, run saving catch to retire Belt. Tragedy averted.
Norris settled down, but it seemed like it was all for naught. The bats were silent and Cain's boring efficacy looked like it would carry the day. Then in the 6th, Brian Roberts led things off with a surprising triple to right center. After Buck Showalter opted to end Norris' day with an appearance from Cuban defector and pinch hitter Henry Urrutia that would end in a strikeout, McLouth stroked a single down the rightfield line to plate Roberts. The Orioles threat continued after McLouth stole second and Nick Markakis walked, but the O's were unable to further capitalize.
Chris Davis led the seventh off with a double off the wall that Gregor Blanco appeared to misjudge and, after a weak fly ball by Wieters, would be costly. J.J. Hardy took Cain deep into left field for his 21st homer of the year. From that point, the game's momentum seemed to indisputably shift to the O's. A series of pitfalls and pratfalls in the top of the 8th allowed the Birds to expand their lead to 7-2. Reliever Jose Mijares walked McLouth to lead off the inning. In the next at bat, Manny Machado laid down what appeared to be a pretty sweet sac bunt, but Mijares and Pablo Sandoval both attempted to make a play on the ball, leading to a comedic tumble by the Panda and an awful throw to first by Mijares. Machado was called safe and McLouth took third in the ensuing ruckus. Singles by Markakis and Wieters, along with a Jones double would expand the lead to 7-2.
The carnage continued in the ninth as Barry Zito came on in mop up duty for the Giants, but after striking out McLouth, Zito promptly found himself in a pickle, allowing singles to Manny Machado and Nick Markakis. Adam Jones then stepped to the plate and authoritatively clubbed an Earl Weaver Special, capping a damn fine all around day and icing the win.
If the cavernous parks of the NL West are supposed to contain home run power, the O's didn't get the memo. On to the friendly confines of Chase Field!