Jason Berken was himself tonight, giving up 5 runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings. If you're looking for good news, he didn't walk anyone. If you're looking for bad news, he gave up 3 home runs. His Rays counterpart, David Price, pitched just 5 innings, allowing two runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. Price wasn't dominant by any means,but he worked his way out of trouble when needed with a little help from the Orioles hitters.
Berken started the game pretty well, facing just three batters in the first. The second inning was unfortunate for him as the Rays scored a very cheap run. After retiring the first two batters, former Oriole ZAUN lined a double to the left-center gap. Berken made the pitches to get out of it but both BJ Upton and Gabe Gross singled in the infield with the second one scoring Zaun. Berken then allowed a 2 run HR to Gabe Gross in the 4th and solo shots to Pat Burrell and BJ Upton in the 6th.
The hero of the game, in my mind, was definitely Kam Mickolio. Just called up today (after having been unfairly demoted earlier this year), Kam pitched two strong innings. Facing Mark Hendrickson to lead off the 7th, Ben Zobrist walked and Carl Crawford doubled to put runners at 2nd and 3rd with none out. The fifteen Orioles fans watching on TV sighed to themselves, "here it comes." Trembley replaced Hendrickson with Mickolio, who struck out Evan Longoria easily. He then intentionally walked Carlos Pena, struck out Pat Burrell, and popped Gregg Zaun up to third base. He came back in for the 8th and retired the side in order with two strikeouts. Tell me again why he was ever sent down? In five appearances in the majors this year, Kam has yet to yield a run in 6.2 innings. He's allowed two hits, three walks (one intentional), and has K'd 8.
Nick Markakis continues to give me a reason to tune in, as he was on base four times with three hits and a walk. He also stole a base and made 3 strong catches in the outfield to save Berken's hide. The O's scored two runs each in the 3rd and 8th innings. In the 3rd Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold each singled in a run. Then in the 8th, Matt Wieters, batting right handed, hit an opposite field blast to right center for his 4th HR of the year and first since July 5th. He's really been struggling of late, but when he gets a hold of one like that his strength is obvious. The HR would bring the O's within one but that's all they'd get. The O's left 13 baserunners on in the course of the game, with Melvin Mora being the main goat. Melvin had runners on in all five of his at bats, and in four of those, at least one of the runners was in scoring position. Melvin reached deep down, accessed his oh-so valuable playoff experience, and came up with 3 Ks and two fly outs. He left 7 men on base all by himself.
In new Oriole news, Michael Aubrey pinch hit for Cesar Izturis in the 8th inning and slapped a single between SS and 3B. Good job new Aubrey.