Yesterday afternoon Scott Feldman was with the Chicago Cubs in Oakland, getting ready to play the Athletics. Upon being traded to the Orioles he hopped on a plane and went back to Chicago to start tonight. According to Buck Showalter's post game chat with Gary Thorne, Feldman took the mound today in brand new shoes and pants that didn't fit, so taking everything into consideration I think six innings pitched with two runs allowed is pretty good. Add in a few big hits from Chris Davis, including his 32nd home run of the year, and the Orioles took game two of the series from the White Sox, 4-2.
The Orioles jumped on White Sox starter Hector Santiago in the first inning. Leadoff batter Nick Markakis walked, the start of a good day for him, followed by Manny Machado who singled back up the middle. Markakis went to third on the play, so when Adam Jones hit a ball that fell in front of the left fielder for a single, he was able to score easily. Just like that the O's had a 1-0 lead and it looked like they were poised for more. They didn't get any. Chris Davis and Matt Wieters struck out and J.J. Hardy hit a fly ball to left field for the third out of the inning.
Given a lead by his new teammates before he even threw a pitch, Scott Feldman....gave it right back. With Alex Rios on second base thanks to a single and a stolen base, Adam Dunn doubled down the left field line and the score was tied. Alejandro De Aza singled to right field following that, but since Dunn is big and slow he wasn't able to score. Feldman struck out Conor Gillaspie to end the inning, but he'd thrown 22 pitches.
The 1-1 tied stuck until the top of the fourth inning when Davis, starting the inning, swung at the first pitch, a fastball down in the strike zone. He golfed it to the opposite field where it cleared the fence for a home run. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the ball went 360 feet, which makes it Davis's shortest home run of the season. Honestly, it's getting so that I'm surprised when he DOESN'T hit a home run.
Unlike the last lead he was given, Feldman didn't give this one back right away. He waited an entire inning! He pitched a 1-2-3 fourth before facing Gordon Beckham in the fifth. Beckham hadn't hit a home run the entire season, but he did hit 16 in 2012. Feldman didn't make a bad pitch, it was on the inside part of the plate right where Wieters wanted it, but Beckham turned on it and knocked it out of the park. Tie game.
The Orioles batters hadn't had much luck against Santiago, racking up 9 strikeouts and just 5 hits through seven innings. So when former Oriole Matt Lindstrom came out of the bullpen to start the eighth, it was just what the doctor ordered. He faced three batters and two of them, Markakis and Jones, singled. Just has he had the night before, White Sox manager Robin Ventura brought in lefty Matt Thornton to face Davis. Last night it worked for the Sox; this night, not so much. Davis doubled to right field and both runners scored easily, giving the O's a two-run lead. Davis himself was stranded at second but the damage was done.
After Tommy Hunter pitched a perfect ten-pitch eighth inning, the Orioles made some noise in the top of the ninth but weren't able to add any insurance runs. They loaded the bases with one out thanks to a Nate McLouth double and walks to Chris Dickerson (pinch hitting for Nolan Reimold) and Markakis (his was intentional), but Machado grounded back to the pitcher, who got the force at home. A hard slide by McLouth kept them from turning the double play, but it ended up not mattering as Jones popped out to end it.
All of Birdland held its breath as Jim Johnson came in to pitch the ninth inning. It's been a rocky road for Jim even in the games where he gets the save, and tonight was no different. It started off well enough with a ground out to shortstop, but he then gave up singles to Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger to bring the hot Beckham to the plate. He didn't look that hot in the at bat, striking out looking on three pitches (although strike three was a bit of a gift). With two outs, pinch hitter Jordan Danks hoped to be the hero for his team. But instead he grounded the ball back to Johnson, who threw to first base to end the game.
That win sets up the rubber game between the two teams tomorrow at 2 p.m. Zach Britton is scheduled to pitch for the Orioles, Jose Quintana for the White Sox.