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Orioles 5, Yankees 4 (11): Britton falters, bullpen shines, Chris Davis is bad at baseball

It was another messy day in New York, but unlike the first two games of the series, the Orioles finished on top. Zach Britton wasn't sharp, but seven O's relievers combined for six shutout innings so that finally, in the eleventh inning, the offense could put up one more run to win the game.

The first eight runs of this game were scored against the starting pitchers, four each for Britton and A.J. Burnett. The O's jumped out to the early lead in the first inning when leadoff hitter Matt Angle singled, stole second, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on another ground out. I didn't get to watch the television broadcast of today's game, but I'm sure there was much talk in the booth of doing things the right way and getting the job done in the top of the first.

The lead didn't last long, though, because Britton allowed the Yankees to score twice in the bottom of the inning. With two runners on (one via walk), Alex Rodriguez hit a long double over Angle's head in center field and both runs scored. I mean, you're gonna give up doubles to Alex Rodriguez sometimes, it happen. But a word of advice, Zach: don't walk people in front of him.

Nolan Reimold, who had himself quite a day, walked to start the second inning, and then stole second base. The Orioles just loved stealing bases in this game. Chris Davis followed Reimold with a strike out, his first of FIVE strikeouts on the day. Chris Davis does not appear to be good at baseball. Just an observation. After Reimold moved to third on a wild pitch from Burnett (he threw three wild pitches in six innings), Ryan Adams walked and Kyle Hudson reached on an error by first baseman Brandon Laird. Reimold scored on the play, and I have to admit I have no idea who Brandon Laird is. That tied things up, and the O's would untie it in the top of the third thanks again to Reimold.

Robert Andino singled to start the third inning and three batters later, Reimold took Burnett deep to make the score 4-2. The blast was Reimold's 9th of the season, and I have to say, few things make me happier regarding the 2011 Orioles than when Nolan Reimold has a good day.

Britton, meanwhile, had two good innings, facing just six batters in the second and third combined, but his luck ran out in the fourth. He started the inning by walking A-Rod (the walks, Zach! What did we say about the walks?) and after a double from Andruw Jones, rookie Jesus Montero singled in both runners.

Greg Golson also singled in the inning. He didn't score or knock anyone in, so it's not really important, but every time I see the name Greg Golson I feel like someone made a typo. It'd be even freakier if he were a pitcher.

I hope you got your fill of offense through the first four innings, because after that it was a whole lot of nothing. For the next six innings neither the Orioles nor the Yankees were able to scratch across even one run. Britton pitched one more scoreless inning, then gave way to Brad Bergesen, Zach Phillips, Willie Eyre, Kevin Gregg, Clay Rapada, Pedro Strop, and Jim Johnson. In their six innings pitched, the seven relievers didn't allow a run and gave up just four hits and one walk. They struck out six (one apiece except for JJ).

Over on the Yankees side it was more of the same. Burnett made it through six innings then turned it over to Aaron Laffey, Luis Ayala, David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, and Hector Noesi. The first four didn't allow a hit, but Noesi wasn't so lucky. In the tenth inning he walked Reimold (and allowed him to steal his second base of the day), but then struck out the side. "Struck out the side" sounds very impressive, but considering he struck out Adams, Davis, and Hudson, pardon me if I don't swoon.

In the top of the 11th inning, Noesi wasn't as lucky. With one out, Angle reached on an error (the Yankees' fourth on the day). After Andino flied out to left, Angle stole second base and the Yankees elected to intentionally walk Nick Markakis. That brought Mark Reynolds to the plate, who was 0-for-5 on the day. Mark proved to be clutch, though, singling up the middle to score Angle and finally give the Orioles another run. After a wild pitch moved Markakis and Reynolds up a base, they also walked Reimold intentionally, loading the bases for Mr. Five Strikeouts, Chris Davis.

Davis didn't strike out, but he didn't go anything good either. He sadly grounded out to second base to end the inning.

Jim Johnson got into some trouble in the bottom of the 11th, walking Montero and allowing a single to Curtis Granderson. But he got out of it preserve the win in the O's last game at Yankee Stadium this season.