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Orioles 6, Phillies 4 (12): Pitching, terrible defense, and walk-off homers


My apologies on the lateness of this recap, but I was out for the evening seeing the movie Prometheus. I was already going to be cutting it close to get a postgame up, but when the game went into extra innings it was hopeless. Good movie, though! Anyway, on to the game.

Tommy Hunter got called up from AAA Norfolk to make the start today, and while he was again plagued by the long ball, he put together a quality start that kept the Orioles in the game which, when it comes to Tommy Hunter, is about the best you can hope for. The Orioles offense wasn't able to do much against Phillies starter Vance Worley but they did keep pace, in part due to the little-league-like defense of the Phillies.

Neither team got on the board until the third inning, and when the Phillies did so it was in the way we've come to expect when Hunter is on the mound: a home run. This one came off the bat of Jimmy Rollins. The O's came right back and tied the game in third, though they were in a position to get more than just one. After back-to-back singles by Robert Andino and Endy Chavez put runners on first and second with no outs, J.J. Hardy sent a deep fly ball to center field. Both runners moved up on the out, but the O's didn't have any more hits in them in the inning. Andino scored on a ground out by Chris Davis and Chavez was stranded.

As quickly as the Orioles tied the game, the Phillies untied it. It was on, you guessed it, a home run! This one was from Jim Thome, and while it's hard get on a pitcher for giving up a home run to someone who was over 600 of them in his career, this song and dance from Hunter was a little tiresome. At least all of the homers he gave up were solo shots, I suppose.

Remember a few paragraphs ago when I mentioned a little league team? Well they took the field in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Wieters lined out to start the inning, but then Nick Johnson reached on an error by Jimmy Rollins, who booted the ball at shortstop. The next batter, Wilson Betemit, grounded back to the pitcher. Worley tried to get the play at second but his throw was poor. Another error. With two on and one out, Ryan Flaherty singled up the middle to score Johnson and tie the game. Then with two outs, second baseman Mike Fontenot made the Phillies third error of the inning, allowing Betemit to score. I've rarely seen such shenanigans in one half-inning, and when I do they're normally on the O's side!

Just in case you thought the O's might get to play with a lead for a few minutes, you were wrong! The first batter of the inning, Hector Luna, tagged Hunter for the Phillies third home run of the game.

After a scoreless sixth inning, the first since the second, the Orioles re-took the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Worley was replaced by Jake Diekman, who did not have a good day. With one out he walked Hardy and gave up a single to Chris Davis, and after retiring Adam Jones, Wieters singled in Hardy to make the score 4-3. With two runners on and the chance to add some runs, Buck Showalter decided to send Mark Reynolds in to pinch hit. Diekman immediately hit him to load the bases, but before anyone could get too excited, Betemit did what he tends to do and flew out on the first pitch.

Tommy Hunter was frustrating with his home runs, but he did make it through seven innings having given up only three runs. He was replaced in the eighth by setup man Pedro Strop. Strop didn't look so hot today, as three straight one-out singles, the last by Thome, resulted in a tie game. Thankfully former Oriole Ty Wigginton grounded into a double play to end the inning.

For all the innings the Orioles and Phillies scored in throughout this game, after the eighth their bats when silent. Both bullpens put up zeroes in the 9th, 10th, and 11th innings, and finally in the 12th the Orioles untied it. Phillies reliever B.J. Rosenberg, in his second inning of work, walked Chris Davis to start the inning, bringing the slumping Adam Jones to the plate. Dr. Jones didn't look to be slumping right then, however, as he launched a slider into the visitor's dugout to end the game.

Walk off!