The bad news about tonight is that the Orioles consecutive run of quality starts ended, but the good news is that the Orioles offense had a party, knocking around Cleveland's four pitchers for thirteen hits, four walks, four home runs, and fourteen runs. Jake Arrieta had one really, really bad inning but still earned the win thanks to the outpouring of run support that his teammates bestowed upon him.
Jake Arrieta started for the Orioles tonight and cruised through two innings, retiring the first seven batters on twenty-four pitches (seven because one reached on Luke Scott's fielding error). He allowed one run in the third thanks to a two out walk, an errant pick-off throw, and a single, but he was still in pretty good shape having only thrown 39 pitches, and in the top of the fourth inning the O's offense got him back the run he allowed plus three.
Like Arrieta, Indians pitcher Justin Masterson sailed through the first part of the game. Brian Roberts led off the game with a single but Masterson retired the next nine to get to the fourth inning. That's when things went awry for the Indians as the O's sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs. Nick Markakis walked, Ty Wigginton reached on an error, Luke Scott doubled in Markakis, Adam Jones grounded out to score Wiggy, and then with one out Felix Pie smashed a ball back up the middle. Masterson deflected it and Cabrera made a great play. I can't even describe it. Here, watch it. What can you do about that other than shake your head? Matt Wieters followed Pie's tough luck play with a single to score Scott, then he would score on a single by Cesar Izturis. That gave the O's a 4-1 lead, but it wouldn't last for long.
Jake Arrieta looked like a different pitcher in the fourth inning. After Matt LaPorta flew out, Arrieta fell apart. Back-to-back doubles by Jordan Brown and Trevor Crow resulted in one run, and after Crow stole third he scored on a ground out. Two runs were in and the bases were empty, and it seemed like Arrieta might be about to get out without more damage, but he wasn't able to get the last out. Jason Donald singled and Arrieta went up and in to Lou Marson. It looked like the ball hit his bat, not him, but the ump sent him to first base anyway. Michael Brantley singled to score Donald, then a walk to Asdrubal Cabrera loaded the bases for Shin-Soo Choo, who doubled down the right field line. Marson and Brantley scored easily, but Manny Acta forgot to tell Cabrera that you don't run on Nick Markakis. He threw a strike to Roberts who fired to Wieters to mercifully end the inning. The Orioles 4-1 lead had been turned into a 6-4 deficit, and the O's streak of consecutive quality starts had been killed. Worse, Jake Arrieta looked bad. He threw twenty-seven pitches in the inning and not once did an Indian swing and miss. That's no way to have success in the big leagues.
Luckily for Arrieta, the Indians are about as good at baseball as the Orioles. Masterson came back for the fifth and allowed Nick and Adam to reach on a single and a walk, so both were on board when Felix Pie hit a fly ball to dead center that cleared the wall and put the O's back on top 7-6. Masterson ended the inning but wouldn't return for the sixth, and the Orioles wouldn't lose the lead again.
After falling apart in the fourth, Arrieta didn't have any trouble in the fifth and sixth innings. It took him only seven pitches in the 1-2-3 fifth and nine pitches to finish the sixth. He actually finished six innings with only 83 pitches, but Showalter had him call it a day. Mark Hendrickson made his first appearance since August 1st and allowed one hit in two innings.
The Orioles added another run in the sixth on a solo home run by Corey Patterson, then made it a laugher in the 8th with six more runs. Matt Wieters homered with Felix Pie on base, then Patterson tripled and scored on a single by Izzy. A two out single by Wiggy put two on for Luke Scott who delivered the death blow. His 21st home run of the year was a no doubter to right center and gave the O's a 14-6 lead.
Buck used the big lead to get a look at Armando Gabino. If Gabino was hoping to make a good first impression, I'm sad to say he failed. The leadoff batter reached on an error by new third baseman Josh Bell, and after a ground out Michael Brantley homered to make the score 14-8. Gabino followed that with a walk, which drew Kranitz from the dugout to have a few words. Whatever Kranny said to him worked as he retired Shin-Soo Choo and Matt LaPorta on fly balls to end the game.
The Buck Showalter Orioles are now 7-1 and for once the O's didn't have to win a one run game or walk off. The teams are back at it tomorrow with Brad Bergesen facing rookie Josh Tomlin. Hopefully they saved a few runs for that game.