The Orioles found themselves battling the Angels and multiple storylines in today’s game. Which Jason Hammel would show up or, for that matter, which Jerome Williams? Would the irritating pattern of Sunday futility persist? How would Chris Davis fare after his brief brush with the DL? Who would ultimately prevail in the battle of young highlight machines Manny Machado and Mike Trout? All would be revealed.
After allowing a leadoff double to Nate McLouth in the top of the first, Jerome Williams got down to doing what he’s done to the O’s of late: confusing them with okay, but not exceptional stuff and inducing a lot of poor contact. Adam Jones managed to drive in McLouth on a double of his own, but Williams righted the ship and struck out Chris Davis. In the bottom of the inning, Hammel gave up any pretense of banishing his early season struggles, giving the lead back and then some during a 39 pitch inning in which 3 runs scored. Hammel was sort of hard done by second base umpire Manny Gonzalez who called Trout safe on a stolen base attempt in which he appeared to be out. Somehow, Hammel managed to strike out the side. After the weirdness of the bee delay in Thursday's game, home plate umpire Larry Vanover left the game prior to the third innings after taking a foul tip off his mask in the bottom of the first and experiencing concussion syndromes. The officiating crew would work the rest of the game shorthanded and Gonzalez would move behind the plate. Suffice it to say, Gonzalez is not known for his skill in the dark arts. The delay would ultimately push the game's run time over three and a half hours.
Despite trying their darndest to squander a leadoff walk in the fourth (to Jones, no less!), J.J. Hardy deposited a home run into left center with two outs to tie the game at three a piece. The Angels would regain the lead, however, in the bottom of the fourth as Trout hit his second home run of the series. The pitched battle of phenoms would continue in the 5th, though as Machado murdered a pitch into the Orioles bullpen (with Pedro Strop doing his best Luis Ayala impersonation) for HIS second home run of the series to put the O’s back on top 5-4. After walking Nick Markakis, Mike Sciosia decided he’d seen enough of Jerome Williams for the day.
In the end, Hammel gutted out six innings, handily outlasting Williams, which is kind of amazing when you consider his horrorshow first inning. Hammel would end the day with 107 pitches which comes out to about 14 per inning outside of the first.
For some reason, after successfully playing matchups with Brian Matusz and Josh Hamilton, Buck Showalter called on Strop to preserve the lead. After Strop predictably walked Mark Trumbo, Gonzalez called a balk which kicked Jim Palmer’s righteous indignation generator into overdrive (it should be noted that Showalter, while looking annoyed, did not leave the dugout to complain). Strop then induced a comebacker which managed to catch Trumbo on second while trying to sneak over to 3rd. Howie Kendrick then sent a Baltimore chop over to Machado which he fielded cleanly. While still in motion, Machado rocketed a low throw to first which Chris Davis was able to artfully pick. Crisis averted.
Machado opened the eighth by taking a walk and moving to first on an errant pickoff attempt, but Angels pitcher Dane De La Rosa quickly induced groundouts from Markakis and Johnson. Davis plated the 6th Orioles run of the afternoon with two outs in the 8th on a sharp liner up the middle. Three more base hits followed and the Birds expanded their lead to four on a bloop single from Ryan Flaherty. Troy Patton started the eighth for the O’s walking the leadoff man, but got some help on a Chris Ianetta grounder to the first base side that Davis, Hardy and Patton turned into a double play. Buck was not impressed with Patton’s Strop impersonation, though he had the hat tilt down pat, and Patton was pulled with two outs in the eighth after Patton allowed two walks and then a double to old pal Brendan Harris. Darren O’Day came in and shut the door on another groundball to Davis. An uneventful ninth followed for the Orioles and despite allowing a leadoff double to Josh Hamilton in the bottom of the inning, O’Day finished the game without incident to preserve the 8-4 victory and earn his first save of the season.
So, to recap, Hammel beats Williams; Orioles beat Sunday; Davis beats mortality and let's just go ahead and say Manny took this round from Trout, 'kay?
The Orioles took three out of four from the Angels and finished their West Coast road trip 7-4. They’ll host the Kansas City Royals for three games starting Tuesday.