Note: I apologize for lateness of this recap, but just about twenty minutes after the O's game ended, I lost power due to the storm that rolled through. I hope you can forgive me. And if not, what's your problem, jerk?
Also, I wrote this while the power was out so PaulFolk and I reconstructed the entire thing from memory. Not too shabby! (although certainly not my best work ever)
The Orioles scored nine runs tonight, which is as many runs as they scored in the previous five games combined. I can only hope this is them breaking out of their ridiculous offensive slump, because it's hard to watch.
Let's get the bad stuff out way first: Jake Arrieta. Arrieta gave up eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings, resulting in five runs. Arrieta was not good tonight, but he was also let down some by his defense (when isn't an O's pitcher let down by defense?).
The defense wasn't the problem in the first inning (at least not for the Orioles), when Arrieta gave up three singles which resulted in one run. Nor was it in the third, when Asdrubal homered to lead off the inning. But in his fourth and final inning, well. First Arrieta gave up a single to Casey Kotchman, then Lonnie Chisenhall hit a fly ball to right-center. Neither Adam Jones nor Ryan Flaherty took control of the situation and it fell in for a single. After Lou Marson singled back up the middle to load the bases, Arrieta proceeded to walk Shin-Soo Choo. Yes, a bases-loaded walk. A two-out single by Jason Kipnis later and Arrieta was finished for the night.
He was replaced by lefty Troy Patton, who walked Michael Brantley but retired Johnny Damon to end the inning.
So Arrieta was bad. But Patton was not! He did give up a run in 2 1/3 innings, but it scored after he left the game.
But the Orioles weren't the only team on the field with shaky defense, no sir. The Indians were a giant mess in the first inning. Brian Roberts hit a ball to first baseman Casey Kotchman. Kotchman made a pretty good play to field it, but his throw went past Derek Lowe who was covering first, allowing Roberts to go to second. Xavier Avery moved Roberts over on a ground ball to second, then J.J. Hardy hit a ground ball to Asdrubal Cabrera.
Roberts was running on contact and would have scored even if it had been a ground out. But Cabrera took his eye off the ball and it went past him for an error. Roberts scored, Hardy was safe, and the Orioles had tied the game at one.
Cleanup hitter Adam Jones hit the ball about five feet between the pitcher and catcher, but there was some miscommunication and he ended up safe at first (scored a hit). That set the table for the red-hot Wilson Betemit. Betemit hit what looked like a home run, but it ended up falling just a few feet short. Hardy scored and Jones ended up on third, where he'd score on a ground out by Chris Davis.
Down by two runs in the fifth, the Orioles manufactured a run without a hit. Robert Andino led off with a walk and then stole second base. Brian Roberts couldn't knock him in with a hit, but he did ground out to second, allowing Andino to move to third. Another groundout, this one by Avery, brought Andino home.
But the bottom of the sixth inning, that's when the fun started. Derek Lowe was still in the game for the Indians, but not for long. Betemit and Davis both singled, bringing Matt Wieters to the plate. Wieters didn't waste any time, as he homered on the first pitch Lowe threw him. And it was a monster shot. A no doubter. It landed on Eutaw Street, giving the Orioles a 7-5 lead.
On the other side of the ball, Patton was rolling. But after the first batter he faced in the top of the seventh inning reached on a cheap hit, Buck Showalter pulled him for Darren O'Day. It turned out to be a bad idea as O'Day was not on his game. He gave up four hits and allowed his inherited runner to score along with one of his own. Just like that the game was tied 7-7, and it just figures that in a game when the offense finally comes alive the Orioles pitching can't keep it together!
Matt Lindstrom came in to get one out and finish the inning for O'Day, preserving the tie. Thankfully, the Orioles were able to untie it in the bottom half of the inning. With two outs and nobody on, Davis hit a blooper that fell in for a single. Indians pitcher then clearly pitched around Wieters, and with Ryan Flaherty on deck it's hard to blame him. But Flaherty made him pay! He went the other way and hit a ground ball through the hole wide of first base. Davis raced around third and headed home as Indians right fielder Choo fired home. It looked like the ball beat Davis but Marson couldn't get a tag on him, and the O's were up 8-7.
Pedro Strop pitched a phenomenal eighth inning, needing just five pitches (all strikes) to retire the side in order. That five-pitch inning included a strikeout. Wow.
The Orioles added an insurance run (that they ended up needing) in the eighth inning thanks to Xavier Avery hitting his first major league home run, a modest but not cheap shot to left field. Good job, Xavery! And he hit it off of Indians closer Chris Perez, who is quite good.
With a two-run lead, Jim Johnson came in to shut it down, but he had some troubles. Shelley Duncan, who I am always surprised to see still playing baseball, hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a slow ground out to second. After Marson struck out on a filthy pitch from JJ, Choo knocked a single that scored Duncan. Thank goodness for Xavery's homer! And speaking of Xavery, with the dangerous Asdrubal Cabrera at the plate representing the go-ahead run, JJ induced a fly ball to him in left to end the game.
Nice win by the O's (the offense at least)! Let's keep those bats alive for the rest of the series, ok boys?