Taking another step towards .500 ball, the Orioles spanked the Rangers in convincing fashion today.
For a club that is fighting to go to the playoffs, the Rangers sure looked moribund (Google it, BSF), being shutout by the resurgent Jeremy Guthrie who pitched 7 strong innings and seems to have truly shaken his demons from earlier this season. Guthrie finished with 6Ks and only 1BB, and looked in the zone all afternoon, working quickly and clearly armed with his good stuff. Fat Albers and KAM! finished off the Rangers with a scoreless inning each. Texas had RISP a couple times, but every time they threatened to make a game of it, Guts would get the out of danger, either with a double play or with a K/ground ball combo (KAM did the same thing in the 9th). All in all, the Rangers left 9 men on base. Ouch.
Meanwhile, our offense showed up, and in some unlikely faces, too. "Screech" Fiorentino and Chad Moeller each had 2 hits and 2 RBI, as did Brian Roberts, who went back to leadoff, and from whom you might actually expect to see such numbers. I'll note that the Dipper was yammering on like a schoolboy in love regarding Fio throughout the telecast. Hwiggggginton was 3 for 4 with a run. Memlo got a hit and scored 2. Every starter got on base except Reimold, who contributed nonetheless with a sac fly RBI. There were no dingers hit in this game, which was refreshing for once.
The Birds took the lead for good in the second on a Memlo single, a Screech BB, and a two-run double by Moeller. They tacked on four more runs in the fourth: first, Mora was hit by a pitch that literally untucked his shirt, and Wigginton doubled him over to third on a gapper that should have been worth only one base but was bobbled in center-left. Screech then knocked in Memlo with his own single to left. Andino followed with a walk to load the bases, and Roberts stroked a sweet liner into left to plate two. Nolan Reimold made it 6-0 with a sacrifice to right. The seventh run came on clutch two-out single by Fio following a Markakis BB and a Hwigginton single that got Nicky around to third.
But the story of this game really has to be Guts (although you may never get another chance to vote Screech for MBP). Making his fourth straight quality start, he has now given up 4 runs in his past 27 IP. Not too shabby. Whatever was making the ship founder earlier this year, it seems to have been corrected: Guts is back to being the Guts of old.
The O's took only their second series since the All-Star break, and won consecutive games for only the third time over that same period; they split the season series with the Rangers 5-5. After a day off, the Birds will travel to Fenway for a twofer against the PHN. With onbly 25 more victories, they can avoid their 12th straight losing season.