Ok so you want to know what happened in today's game between the Yankees and the Orioles? I'll tell you. The Orioles, fresh off of taking a series from the Tampa Bay Rays, rolled into New York, or as Joe Angel calls it, "Fun City," and took game one of their series with the other best team in baseball. Yes, both of those teams are going to the playoffs while the Orioles go home, but don't tell the O's that. They'd rather just spend September whooping them.
Brian Matusz is thirty-six games into his big league career and is well on is way to being a certified Yankee killer. Hey Yankees, get used to it. He's only 23 years old and he's gonna be around for a long time. With today's outing included, Matusz has now made five starts against the Yankees, pitching a total of 31.2 innings while allowing just nine earned runs. That comes out to an ERA of 2.56. I love this kid. I love watching him pitch and I love watching him turn it on against the Yankees.
Through the first five innings of the game, Matusz's only blemish was a solo home run to Alex Rodriguez. It tied the game 1-1 but it's hard to get mad at one of the greatest players in the game hitting a home run, something he's done just 604 times before in his career.
Going into the sixth inning the Orioles had a 3-1 lead although, with the way A.J. Burnett was pitching, it really should have been more. Burnett walked Luke Scott and Matt Wieters to lead off the second inning but neither scored. In the third inning, Josh Bell doubled and Brian Roberts singled to put runners on first and third with none out, but Felix Pie grounded into a double play. A run scored but it killed the rally.
In the fifth inning, Cesar Izturis doubled and scored on a single by Brian Roberts (who then got thrown out at second to end the inning). Felix Pie led off the sixth with a single and Burnett did what AJ Burnett does, walking Markakis and throwing a wild pitch that moved the runners up. Pie then scored on a sac fly by Matt Wieters that was a bullet to left field. Wieters' RBI gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead going into the 6th inning, when Matusz got into some trouble.
Wildness by Matusz combined with some bad defense allowed for two runs in the inning. He walked Nick Swisher to lead things off, then Mark Teixeira singled to left to put runners on second and third. A wild pitch moved the runners up, then Swisher scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Rodriguez. Matusz got Robinson Cano hit a pop up to shallow left field that Cesar Izturis and Felix Pie both attempted to catch. It looked like Pie's ball, but if he was calling for it, it was hard to tell. The ball fell in for a "single" and Teixeira scored to tie the game at 3-3. Ground outs by Marcus Thames and Jorge Posada ended the inning and Brian Matusz's day. His final line of 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K won't go down as one of the best outings in history, but for a 23 year old rookie in Yankee stadium in September on a team that's been out of the race since the second week of the season? It was, as we say, the tits.
The game wasn't tied for long, thankfully. Corey Patterson got things started with a single, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Cesar Izturis. Josh Bell couldn't get the job done but Brian Roberts again came through in the clutch. He singled to right field, knocking in Corey to put the O's back on top, 4-3. Again, Roberts got himself thrown out at second base, but the Orioles had the runs they needed.
The O's bullpen didn't let the team down as Matt Albers, Jim Johnson, and Koji Uehara each pitched a scoreless inning, with Koji going a perfect 9th with two strikeouts for his seventh save of the year. Koji has been unstoppable lately.
Tomorrow the Orioles face a tougher task with CC Sabathia pitching against them, but I say bring it. Bring it, fat man!