It was a wild one at Camden Yards tonight as the Orioles jumped all over Ervin Santana early in support of Brian Matusz, who was effective through six innings despite a handful of troubles, then almost threw it away after a brief rain delay in what I immediately believed was going to end up being Reverse Birdland Day. They prevailed, though, clinching their fifth series win on the year and knocking the Angels below .500.
The O's got on the board in the third inning with the first act of the the Adam and Felix Show. Adam Jones led off the inning with an opposite field double, and Felix Pie followed that with a triple to right field. Can that kid fly or what? Following Pie was Matt Wieters, who walked, and Josh Bell, who singled in Pie. A ground out by Roberts made it 3-0 before Nick Markakis struck out to end the inning.
The O's added another run in the third, again thanks to Jones and Pie. With one out and Luke Scott on first, Jones singled to center and moved to second base as Luke Scott was getting himself thrown out at third. Felix came to bat and for the second straight inning he knocked in Jonesy, this time with a single.
Already up 4-0, the O's piled on in the fourth inning, and all with two outs. Santana retired Josh Bell and Cesar Izturis, but Brian Bob did his Bri Bob thang and worked a nine pitch walk to keep the inning going. Nicky followed that with a double, and both scored on Ty Wigginton's single. That got Luke Scott to the plate, and it appears that Luke's cold streak was quite short this time around. Much like Brian, Luke did what he does and hit a two run home run to left field. It's his third consecutive game with a home run and gave the Orioles their seventh and eighth runs. Then the Adam and Felix Show performed its final act as Jones doubled for the second time and Felix knocked him in for the third time.
Nine runs was plenty of support for Brian Matusz, who looked much better tonight than in recent games, although he was far from perfect. Two infield singles and two stolen bases in the first inning, but he got out of it. Two more singles and another stolen base in the third, but he got out of it. He only allowed one hit in the fourth, a double to Howie Kendrick, but he couldn't quite escape as Kendrick scored on a ground out. One more double allowed in the sixth inning, but Matusz stranded the runner at third and after 6 innings and 92 pitches, he was done for the night.
After that, a rain delay. And after THAT, the trouble began.
Matt Albers came in to start the seventh inning, and it was bad. Just bad. Albers got one out sandwiched around four hits, with two of those hits scoring. Buck had seen enough and brought in David Hernandez to stop the bleeding. That....didn't exactly happen. Hernandez allowed both inherited runners to score, the second on a wild pitch that resulted in a sprained ankle for DH when he slipped covering the plate. Finally, Koji Uehara came in and shut it down. He got the last out of the 7th inning and then struck out the side in the eighth, sending the Orioles into the 9th inning with a three run lead and Alfredo Simon in to save the day.
He did get the save, but it was ugly. Back-to-back doubles by Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter cut the lead to two, and things were looking dicey. Luckily for the Orioles, Hunter, who was already in scoring position, tried to steal third and was thrown out by a huge margin. Simon would allow another single, but got the final two outs to give the O's their second consecutive win and keep Buck Showalter undefeated as the Orioles manager.
The final game of the series is tomorrow night, and while I'd normally cringe at a Dan Haren-Jake Arrieta match up, the truth is I don't know what to think anymore.