This felt like vintage Orioles - and by vintage, I mean, you know, April. One big inning basically wins the game. Larry Bigbie's return seems to have coincided with Larry Bigbie hitting anything, because he had a big night, hitting a homer and later driving in an insurance run after the Astros closed the gap to 7-5.
Hayden Penn was merely OK tonight, his first Major League win. He gave up a couple of two-run homers on horrible gimme fastballs. He threw 92 pitches through five and two-thirds. I'm all about his future, but I remain adamant that he doesn't belong in the big league rotation just yet. He's not fooling anyone with his pitches and he has a tendency to throw the same pitch too often and back himself into a corner against hitters that will wait for him. This is not really a knock so much as a "well, no kidding, he's 20" sort of thing.
If you accept .200 as "the Mendoza Line," David Newhan's 2-for-4 night officially put him above water, raising his average to .202. Alright Three Bags Newhan!
It was also nice to see Melvin Mora walk three times between Roberts and Tejada. Melvin's walk rate this season has been way down, and it has sort of worried me, though it would have worried me more if he still wasn't one of the best-hitting third basemen in baseball.
So despite that we nearly blew this one, let's focus on the good. I thought it was a damn nice win, with the bullpen holding down the fort after Penn got rocky, and 14 hits on the board from the offense. Quite a fine homecoming, I thought.