In the comments of today's open thread, I said that I thought the Orioles would win tonight. I knew Erik Bedard would be tough, but I thought that Jeremy Guthrie would bring it. And for almost this entire game, I was right. Guthrie and Bedard matched each other pitch for pitch through the first five innings of the game. Both pitchers looked virtually unhittable, and then, in the sixth inning, Bedard blinked first.
Robert Andino worked Bedard for a walk to start the sixth, Bedard's first walk of the night. Adam Jones followed that with an absolutely oustanding at-bat, taking a fastball the other way. Andino moved to third, and with no outs, the official Sad Panda of the team came to the plate. That's right, Nick Markakis. Nick continues to look awful, and this AB was no exception. He grounded into a double play, which allowed Andino to score but killed the rally. Vlad grounded out to end the inning.
The Orioles wasted an even bigger opportunity in the seventh inning. Matt Wieters was first to bat and he hit a fly ball to right field that didn't look particularly impressive until it landed about ten rows back in the stands. That gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead, and after Mark Reynolds popped out, Bedard walked Luke Scott. Scott was his last batter as Eric Wedge, who looks like a sheriff from the old west, replaced him with another former Oriole, Chris Ray. Ray walked Nolan Reimold to load the bases with just one out, but the Orioles couldn't get even one more run. Andino hit a fly ball to shallow right that Luke couldn't tag up on, and Adam Jones struck out on a ball around his shoulders. Well done, boys.
So, per usual, the Orioles wasted scoring opportunities (including in the fifth inning, when Luke Scott doubled and then somehow got thrown out moving to third on a single by Reimold. I don't know, I guess that's what passes for Birdland these days), but Guthrie was so thoroughly dominating the Mariners that it seemed like two runs might be enough. Spoiler: they weren't.
Going into the eighth inning, Guthrie had allowed three singles and one intentional walk. He struck out eight batters through the first seven innings and had a pitch count of 96. He was cruising, and he easily retired the first two batters on fly balls to Jones in center field. Then Ichiro hit the first pitch he saw to the right side, and Luke Scott ranged over to get the ball. He made a terrible throw to Guthrie, who missed the ball. The inning should have been over, but instead Guthrie continued to pitch, and Brendan Ryan singled to right field to put two runners on.
And well, you know what happened next. Justin Smoak was coming to the plate with two runners on in an inning that should have been over. Of course you know what happened. These are the Orioles after all. The terrible, terrible Orioles. Smoak saw two pitches, the second a change up that he sent deep to right field. As it landed in the stands and gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead, all I could do was shake my head. So typical.
With a one-run lead going into the top of the 9th, Brandon League came on and retired the side in order to end the game.
I'd be angry if it weren't so predictable.
Tomorrow is Brian Matusz Day. Watch if you dare.