Brad Bergesen pitched 7.2 outstanding innings to lead the Orioles to their 10th victory of the year tonight. The offensive stars were Adam Jones and Luke Scott who combined 5-for-8. No, that last sentence is not a joke. Miguel Tejada was also pretty great at the plate.
Weather and crowd-wise, tonight's game looked a lot like last night's, but thankfully the result wasn't the same. That might have something to do with the fact that Ryan Rowland-Smith isn't quite the pitcher that Cliff Lee is. Or maybe it was Corey Patterson, you never know!
The Orioles first got the board against the Mariners in the 3rd inning as Adam Jones and Corey Patterson led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Seriously guys, I'm not kidding! Nick Markakis followed that it an awful strike out, swinging at a pitch way out of the strike zone. I'm telling you, this game was wack. Adam Jones getting on base three times? Nick Markakis flailing at pitches? Left is right, up is down, black is white!
Miguel Tejada followed Markakis and lined a double to the right-center gap to score both Patterson and Jones. Jones was just flying around the bases; it was good to see. That put the O's up 2-0. They'd add another run in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Luke Scott.
The O's last two runs came in the 6th inning. Luke Scott doubled to lead off the inning, followed by a double by Garrett Atkins. What is this madness? Because the ball looked like it could have been caught, Luke could only make it to third on the play. He'd then score on a sacrifice fly by Cesar Izturis and Atkins would come in on a nice opposite single by Adam Jones.
Brad Bergesen tonight was going after his second consecutive strong start and he didn't disappoint. He got through the first three innings without any trouble despite having to deal with a baserunner put on thanks to an error by Miguel Tejada. In the fourth, after he was given the 2-0 lead, Bergesen found himself in his first jam of the day. He walked the leadoff hitter, Casey Kotchman, and gave up a single to Jose Lopez to put runners at first and second. After a sacrifice bunt by Matt Tuiasosopo, the Orioles elected to walk Ryan Langerhans to set up the double play. Because that worked SO well last night, right?
Luckily, the move worked as Bergesen got Josh Wilson to ground into a double play to end the inning. Or, maybe it's not lucky because since it worked I can see the Orioles going to it on a regular basis now. But it was good for Bergy, who then calmed down and retired the Mariners in order in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings. He then got two outs quickly in the 8th when he was again let down by his defense.
Ty Wigginton had been take out of the game going into the inning and replaced for defensive purposes. That's something of a hoot since Ichiro then grounded to second base only to have the play botched, giving the Mariners their first runner since the 4th inning. It was ruled as a hit but if anyone saw the play, it definitely looked to me that the second baseman made an error. Ichiro then stole second and scored on a single by Chone Figgins. That'd be it for Bergesen and it was fine performance. If not for the miscue he would have easily gotten through 8 innings. As it was, though, he pitched 7.2 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits. He walked 2 and struck out 3. His sinker did its job tonight as he induced 15 ground balls and 5 fly balls.
As Bergesen left the game, given a standing O by the small crowd, Will Ohman came in to try and get the last out. The O Man wasn't successful as he faced only Casey Kotchman, who singled to right field. He was relieved by Koji Uehara who retired Jose Lopez to end the inning.
The Orioles love to make things exciting, so they of course tried to blow the game in the 9th. Koji returned to close it out but couldn't get the job done. To star the inning he walked Tuiasosopo, who was just called up from AAA today. Tuiasosopo moved to third base on a single by Langerhans and that was enough of Koji. Alfredo Simon came in to shut the door and did a very good job. He struck out Wilson before allowing a sacrifice fly to Ken Griffey, Jr. Even Griffey's sacrifice flies make me sad. With two outs, Simon got Michael Saunders to pop up to shallow center. It looked like it might fall in, but Jones raced in to make the catch and end the game.
O's win the 10th of the year behind solid pitching and timely hitting. What on earth?