Remember before the season started and a lot of people were saying that the Blue Jays were going to be bad the Orioles were going to be…well, not as bad? Tonight’s game is kind of what I was imagining. A young Orioles starter holding down the Jays while the offense had its way with their pitchers. Tonight’s game was beautiful.
Jake Arrieta continues to look better although he’s still throwing a lot of balls. He only walked one but went to a three ball count a number of times and was only able to pitch six innings because of it. They were six quite good innings, though, as Jake held the Jays to just four hits and didn’t allow a run. He struck out five to go with that one walk.
Overshadowing Arrieta’s performance was the gaudiness of the Orioles offense. Every member of the starting lineup was on base at least twice as they scored 11 runs off of the Jays.
Luke Scott started the bottom of the fourth inning with a double down the left field line and Felix Pie actually took the first pitch as the next batter, and then lined a single to right field, knocking in his BFF Luke and giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Adam Jones popped out but Matt Wieters hit a weak opposite field single to keep things alive. Izturis hit a ground ball that was too slow to be a double play and with two outs and runners on the corners Josh Bell came to bat. Can you guess what Bell did? Can you? Can you? I’ll tell you. He struck out to end the inning. But the O’s had finally broken through thanks to the cutest BFFs in history.
How did Arrieta respond to his first lead of the game? By striking out Edwin Encarnacion and Travis Snider looking, and getting Yunel Escobar to ground out to third. Good job, Jake!
The Orioles added another run in the fifth inning when Nick Markakis hit his 10th home run of the year. Raise your hand if you thought it would take until September 14th for Nick to hit his 10th home run? Anyone? Wigs followed that with a single, bringing up Luke. Luke lucked out as his check swing ball in front of home was thrown to second high and everyone was safe. Felix came up again and again singled, knocking in Wiggy. Yay, Felix! Way to come through! Adam Jones then hit the ball well but right to the left fielder, and Matt Wieters grounded out to second to end the inning.
For those of you not at the game tonight, I think that it’s worth pointing out that, at this point in the game, in the two at bats where Nickelback played as he walked up, Matt was retired. In the one at bat where they did not, he singled. I think that tells you all that you need to know. Out of this a theory was born between myself and Paul Folkemer (OH writer and star of the gamethread despite not making an appearance) that Nickelback is the source of all of Matt's problems at the plate. Would our theory be proven throughout the rest of the game? Stay tuned.
Now staked to a 3-0 lead, Arrieta surrendered his first walk of the game to Jose Bautista. A lead-off walk, Jake? No good! He then went 2-0 on Vernon Wells, prompting a visit from Wieters. He still went 3-2 on Wells but got him to pop up after Bautista stole second. A groundout from Overbay moved Bautista to third with two down, but Aaron Hill was no match for Arrieta as he induced a groundout to end the 6th and Arrieta’s night. A fine outing by Jake and one that I'm happy to see again, but it would really be fantastic if he could pitch into the seventh or eighth and control his pitch count. Work on that for next season, ok Jake?
In the bottom of the 7th the Orioles started some more trouble. Well, a lot more trouble. Wiggy led off with a double and after Luke Scott was retired, Felix walked. You read that correctly. He walked! Adam Jones then singled to left and Wiggy headed for home. I thought he was a goner but he seemed to have caught Toronto’s LF by surprise and the throw was a bad one. Felix moved to third on the throw and Matt Wieters came to the plate without any Nickelback. You know what that means? He got a hit! Score one for our hypothesis. Felix scored from third on Matt’s single to right, making the score 5-0.
Josh Roenicke, son of Gary, then walked Cesar Izturis. Izturis! Josh Bell stepped to the plate looking to NOT strike out for the fourth time. And he didn’t! He grounded to the pitcher, but young Roenicke dropped the ball and Pie scored. Bell was safe on the error, and he made contact! That’s improvement I guess.
So…Josh Roenicke. He had his troubles, because the next batter, Andino, hit a double on the left field chalk to clear the bases and blow the game open at 9-0. I mean, I don’t want Gary Roenicke’s son to suck, but if he’s gonna suck at the expense of the Orioles, so be it.
Roenicke mercifully got pulled by Cito (who also sucks) and Casey Janssen came in to face Markakis. Nicky hit one to the gap but it held up just long enough to be caught for the second out. Wiggy worked a walk to give Luke another shot at things. Luke gave it a ride but ultimately flew out to center field. The crowd gave the O’s an appreciative round of applause for their six run, eleven batter inning.
Albers stayed out for the 8th and other than a weird Baltimore Chop/Albers and Bell snafu, got two outs without much trouble. Then, because the 9 run lead was probably not safe, Buck decided to make a move, bringing in lefty Pedro Viola to face Lyle Overbay. Viola promptly walked Overbay and gave up an three run HR to Aaron Hill. And yet, Viola remained in the game to face Adam Lind, who he struck out! Thanks, Pedro. Sheesh.
Pie led off the bottom of the 8th and took another walk! Two walks! You heard me right! Not to be outdone, Adam Jones launched a home run to left field, his 18th of the year. Matt Wieters singled (no Nickelback, obvi) and Josh Bell finally got his first hit of the game, putting runners on second and first with one out for Andino, who struck out. With an eight run lead, Brandon Snyder pinch hit for Nick Markakis. Brandon grounded out and Alfredo Simon came in to close out the ninth.
Surprisingly, he did it with ease, retiring the side 1-2-3. I guess even Simon can’t muck up an eight run lead. O’s win! Suck it, Cito!