After a, shall we say, poor performance the night before, the O's came into tonight's game with a daunting challenge: beat Zack Greinke in order to end the homestand with a 4-4 record. Runs were sure to be in high-demand, as this game featured the pitchers with the 5th lowest run support (Greinke) and the lowest run support (Millwood) in the A.L.
Both teams would manage to fulfill their (quite lofty) expectations of offensive ineptitude to begin the game. The O's would manage but a Nick Markakis double in the 1st and a Luke Scott walk in the 2nd through the first 4 innings. The Royals, not wishing to be outperformed on this front, would be Mentored to the tune of 12 up and 12 down through the first 4 innings. Then, things got interesting...
In the 5th, the Royals inexplicably began hitting. After retiring Billy Butler to start the inning, Millwood would be dogged by 3 consecutive singles by Jose Guillen, Alberto Callaspo, and Mitch Maier. Maier's hit to left knocked in the 1st run of game, resulting in a seemingly insurmountable lead considering the opposing pitcher and the O's woeful offense. The Royals would add a 2nd run on a 2 out bloop by Chris Getz. Adam Jones made a nice throw to the plate, which was expertly blocked by Matt Wieters, but the ump ruled Callaspo safe. Dave Trembley would come out to (meekly) argue the ump's call, only to be rebuffed without actually putting up much of a fight. (Replay would later show that the runner was quite clearly out). After tacking on another RBI via a bunt base hit by Scott Podsednik, Millwood would finally get out of the inning.
Alright, 3-0 deficit...an actual Cy Young winner on the mound...our beloved O's offense...yeah, enough said. Or so we thought. After retiring 8 O's in a row Greinke's hopes for a shut out would be dashed by a Luke Scott bomb into the flag court to lead off the bottom of the 5th. But the O's would muster no more offense that inning.
The Mentor, likely resigned to his fate facing a 3-1 deficit, would settle down after the 5th in spite of some shoddy defense behind him (I'm lookin at you Wiggy, and you Mr. Gold Glove winner). But no harm, no foul as no more runs would score. He would finish with a very respectable line of 8IN, 10H, 3ER, 7K, 0BB.
In the 7th the O's would get another solo HR from Luke (can someone get on base ahead of this dude, please?!?), this one coming with 2 outs. Jonesy would follow with a single, only to have the rally extinguished by our 1B whose name is now officially a synonym for 'Sucks'. In the bottom of the 8th Chuckthefan predicted "i predict cp will drive in the game tying run. i also predict fatalbers will promptly give up the winning run next inning." Well, he got the 1st part right as (S)Corey would drive a HR into the bleacher seats off reliever Blake Wood. Wigginton would follow with a single and then be lifted for a pinch running Cesar Izturis. With 2 outs Izzy attempted to steal 2nd base only to be cut down by a good throw from Jason Kendall. Was Izzy sent by DD? Did he run on his own? Inquiring minds would like to know. Either way, it took the bat out of Tejada hands and ended the inning. Tie game 3-3.
Will Ohman was brought out for the 1324th time this season to start the 9th and he did his job, striking out Mitch Maier. Cue Alfredo See-moan and watch the griping begin on the game thread. See-moan would do a good job though, inducing 2 pop-outs. The O's would go quietly in the bottom of the 9th, excepting another Luke Scott BB.
See-moan would live up to his 1.92 WHIP in the 10th by allowing a single to Jason Kendall and a walk to Billy Butler before striking out Jose Guillen to end the inning. Things did not look too promising for the O's to start the 10th. The 1B would ground out, bringing the backup 2nd baseman to the plate. B2B remembered the proper use of the piece of wood in his hands and drove a single to left. Not wanting to mess around with such power and skill, the Royals pitched around (S)Corey, walking him. With Izzy at the dish (having pinch run for Tyberius von Wiggstentov) it looked as if we would be going to the 11th. But when Izzy hit a slow roller towards 1st, Billy Butler would mishandle the ball and throw late to 1st resulting in what shouldn't have been a close play. The ump ruled Cesar had beat the throw, loading the bases. Replay would show that Izzy was probably out, but we'll call it even for the bad call at the plate earlier in the game. Nick the stick would promptly drive a 1-0 fastball into deep left field, scoring B2B from 3rd. Homestand saved. Onto to Texas. O!-R!-I!-O!-L!-E!-S! Magic! Magic!