Jake Arrieta was shoddy to start the game, Alfredo Simon was rotten to end the game, and in between the Orioles and Royals played some more substandard baseball as the Royals walked off against the Orioles to even the series at 1-1.
Despite the accolades heaped upon Jake Arrieta by Jim Hunter, he had a lousy outing against a lousy team. He started the game with a thirteen pitch at bat to Chris Getz, and while Getz would ultimately strike out, it was the beginning of a bad, bad inning for Arrieta. He followed with a four pitch walk to Jason Kendall, then Billy Butler singled back up the middle. A double by Rick Ankiel would score Kendall, and a single by Wilson Betemit scored Butler and Ankiel. By the time Alex Gordon flew out to right field, Arrieta had thrown thirty-four pitches, only eighteen of which were strikes.
Those would be the only runs Arrieta allowed on the night, which is what prompted Hunter and Mike Flanagan to slobber all over him for being a bulldog and a battler who keeps his team in the game (that the fact that they were glamored by Jake's pretty, pretty face). You know what would really help the team, Jim and Flanny? If a starting pitcher could make it five innings without falling apart.
Arrieta threw sixteen more pitches in the second inning, walking one and going to a three ball count to another. He was saved by a nice diving catch by Adam Jones in center field (I know, right?) to end the inning. Twenty-five more pitches in the third with two singles and another walk. Only thirteen pitches in the fourth, but another leadoff walk. The fifth inning started with a leadoff double by Jose Guillen, and after a strike out, Arrieta walked Betemit on six pitches (including one wild one) and that was it for Arrieta. His final line: 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. Jason Berken relieved Arrieta and induced a double play ball from Gordan to end the inning.
The Orioles offense treated Sean O'Sullivan like the future Hall of Famer he surely is, scoring three runs on four hits and two walks over six innings. Jones singled to lead off the second inning and after one stolen base and one ball thrown into center field by Kendall, Jones was on third base for Felix Pie, who brought him home with a sacrifice fly. They'd score another single run in the third inning when Ty Wigginton doubled home Nick Markakis, and one more in the sixth inning as Markakis, who had reached on a walk, scored on a sacrifice fly by Luke Scott. That tied the game at three, officially taking Arrieta off the hook for the loss.
Berken returned for the sixth inning and immediately returned the lead to the Orioles by giving up a single to Yunieksy Betancourt and an RBI double to Mitch Maier. That put the Orioles back in hole, 4-3, and if this were any other team, this would be where you figured the game was over. But it's not any other team, it's the Kansas City Royals, who are just as woeful as your hometown team.
The eighth inning arrived and that's when the atrocious baseball really got going. The Royals turned to Kyle Farnsworth to hold the lead, but the good professor wasn't up to the task. For the third time of the night, Markakis reached base and Wiggy followed with a hit. Nick scored and Wiggy rolled into second base with his second double on the night. A single by Scott put runners on first and third with no outs, and Jones hit a ground ball to third. For some reason Wiggy took off on the hit and it would have been trouble if, you know, the other team wasn't the Royals. Third baseman Betemit got distracted by Wiggy and booted the ball. Wiggy, meanwhile, seemed to think he was in a run down and stumbled around for a bit before finally scoring the go ahead run. Hunter of course, thought this was hilarious, given that Wiggy is a gamer and a hoot and a good teammate and all, but it was atrocious base running.
With the O's now up 5-4 and runners on first and second with none out, Juan Samuel called on Felix Pie to bunt. I think you all know how I feel about that. Felix bunted just horribly and Kendall threw Scott out at third. Obviously, Felix Pie should be able to bunt when called upon. This I'm not disputing, even though I don't agree with the decision to ask him to bunt in the first place. And I know I'm probably just piling on Jim Hunter here, but after the play he just railed on Pie for being such a horrible bunter, saying "a player like Pie" needs to be able to bunt. He actually called out the Orioles as a team for not being able to bunt well, but he spent some time focusing on Felix for being so bad at it. I guess Felix isn't as charming as Jake Arrieta or jolly as Ty Wigginton and therefore doesn't get a pass for sucky play.
With runners still on first and second, but now with one out and Matt Wieters at the plate, Samuel made another brilliant call. And by brilliant, I think I know what word you actually mean. On a 3-2 count, Samuel put on a hit and run and Wieters fouled off the pitch. But don't worry, because Samuel called it again! Both runners took off with the pitch, Wieters struck out, and Adam Jones was thrown out by a mile at third base.
Mike Gonzales and Koji Uehara combined to pitch a scoreless eighth, and after the Orioles put two on base but failed to score in the top of the ninth, it was Alfredo Simon time, coming in to face the "heart" of the Royals order. Sure, Billy Butler is awesome, but Jose Guillen and Rick Ankiel don't exactly strike fear into opposing pitchers (not that you'd know it listening to Jim Hunter).
Simon, pitching in a pretty steady downpour, retired Butler and Guillen on easy ground balls to shortstop, but walked Rick Ankiel and allowed Wilson Betemit (who was on base four times tonight) to single to the right side, putting Ankiel on third with two outs. The first pitch to Alex Gordan was very high, and the second was a fastball down the middle that Gordon launched to right field for a walk-off three-run homer.
O's lose, 7-5. How's that for atrocious? Game three of this four game series is tomorrow night with Brad Bergesen facing Zack Greinke. That oughtta be good.