The ingredients were all there for another tough loss or no-decision for Kevin Millwood. An embarrassing fielding gaffe led to his usual three first-inning runs and in the ninth-inning Alfredo Simon tried his best to throw gasoline onto the fire, but for once the Orioles overcame these shortfalls. An Adam Jones two-run home run proved to be the difference and Millwood recorded his first win of the 2010 season.
The Orioles struck first in the game. Julio Lugo reached base on a throwing error by Padres shortstop Jerry Hairston Jr. and took second because the throw went out of play. Lugo stole third and scored on a Nick Markakis sacrifice fly. However, the lead did not last long. Millwood gave up two walks and three singles and left the inning down 3-1.
He was not helped by one of "those" plays. You know the kind of play I mean. Those plays you see this year that seem like they could only happen to the Orioles. In this case, a soft Yorvit Torrealba single to right loaded the bases, and it looked like Adrian Gonzalez (who had walked) might round third and try to score, but he was discouraged by a strong throw from Markakis. Scott Hairston was caught out between second and third and ended up in a rundown. However, he made it safely back to second base in a play so embarrassingly bad that it prompted MASN commentator Jim Palmer to remark, "It's almost like they had never, ever conducted a rundown in their careers." It was that bad. What should have been the third out led to three runs scoring.
No Orioles fan would have been surprised if the Birds did not score again in the game. There was still some fight in the team, though, and in the third inning they rode three hits to two runs. Julio Lugo doubled and was brought home by a Nick Markakis double, who scored in turn on a Luke Scott single. For those scoring at home, that was two hits in the same inning with runners in scoring position - an occurrence so rare it seemed to be a possible sign of an impending apocalypse.
Jones' monster homer to left came in the 6th inning with Ty Wigginton on base and gave the Orioles a 5-3 lead that they would not relinquish despite some ninth-inning drama.
Alfredo Simon entered the game, having been re-dubbed the team's closer. The broadcast team said that manager Juan Samuel insisted it had nothing to do with last night's performance by David Hernandez and was simply Simon regaining his role now that he is healthy. Yours truly is skeptical of the claim (and you probably are too). Simon proceeded to give up a walk and a double, putting the tying run in scoring position with no outs. Birdland sentimental favorite Oscar Salazar recorded an RBI groundout to bring the score to 5-4 with only one man down. But Simon was not to be undone this night, inducing a weak grounder by David Eckstein that could not score the run, then striking out Chase Headley to end the game.
The win is only the 8th that the Orioles have recorded on the road all season. Jake Arrieta will take the mound for the Orioles tomorrow in an attempt to win the rubber game of the series, and become the first Orioles starter ever to record a win in the first three starts of his career. Jon Garland is the starter for the Padres.