Sunday afternoon is what complete domination looks like. The Orioles (9-10) should know, as they have been on the wrong end of a couple of those already this year. Fortunately, this time it was the Birds turn to laugh at a lopsided scoreline, beating the Red Sox (10-9) 18-7 at Camden Yards.
Orioles starter Bud Norris was the best he has been all year, but we will get to him in a second as the O's offense was the story for most of the day.
Seriously, if you want all of the details you are going to have to read through the box score. If I list everything that happened, we will be here all day.
Everyone in the starting lineup for Baltimore scored at least one run and everyone but Manny Machado had a hit. However, the O's third baseman did get on base with a couple of walks.
Their scoring started when Delmon Young reached on what looked like a routine fly ball to Mookie Betts, but the Boston center field had a staring contest with the sun and lost, dropping the ball hit by Young at the same time. Two fly balls later, Young scored on a Steve Pearce sacrifice to left field. 1-0 Orioles.
In the bottom of the third, the Baltimore bats exploded for six runs, sending 10 hitters to the plate and knocking Boston starter Wade Miley out of the game.
Some of the big moments of the inning: Adam Jones walked on four pitches with the bases loaded. Young singled with the bases loaded, notching one RBI. Chris Davis doubled to deep centerfield, driving in two runs. Pearce singled, scoring Young. And Jimmy Paredes grounded out to bring in Davis. 7-0 Orioles.
The Birds were right back at in the bottom of the fourth when Young singled to left field, scoring both Machado and rookie Rey Navarro. 9-0 Orioles.
Things just didn't click in the fifth inning for the black and orange; they only crossed the plate once. This time, Navarro was the run producer, singling in Paredes from second base. 10-0 Orioles.
Two more runs were put on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning. Davis hit his fourth home run of the season with a long shot to straight away center field. Steve Pearce followed with a walk and was driven in a few pitches later by Paredes' first triple of the season. 12-0 Orioles.
OK, now we can turn things to pitching, but for just a little while.
Norris turned in his best start of the season, going 6.2 innings and allowing three earned runs from seven hits, three walks and two strikeouts. With the performance, he lowered his season ERA from 17.42 down to 12.18. Obviously, still a ways to go.
If the game had been at all close, Norris likely would have been taken out a little sooner. It was clear that he was tiring, but with the team up 12 runs, why not stretch him out as long as possible? It ended up being a few pitches too long as all three runs came from one swing of the bat of Pablo Sandoval. With two outs in the seventh and men on second and first, the Red Sox third baseman hit a 92-mph fastball onto the flag court in right field. 12-3 Orioles.
With that, Norris was replaced by Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia. The first pitch out of Garcia's hand was hammered by Hanley Ramirez into the bullpen area, making it 12-4 Orioles.
As a side note, I'm still waiting on this so-called amazing velocity from Garcia. Sure, he gets it up to 94 fairly regularly, but I have yet to see the 98 I heard so much about throughout Spring Training, but I digress.
The O's answered back immediately in the bottom of the inning, scoring six times as they sent 10 more guys to the plate.
Here's how the scoring happened: Jones singled to score Navarro. Young doubled to bring in Everth Cabrera and Jones. Pearce's single drove in Young. A Paredes double brought in Davis, and a passed ball during Ryan Lavarnway's at-bat scored Pearce from third. 18-4 Orioles. Holy!
But of course things can't be THAT easy.
Garcia remained in the game for the ninth inning and Paredes came out of the DH spot to play some third base. Immediately, he made an error, which kind of just cements the already well-known fact that he is never going to be a big league third basemen. A few batters later, Sandoval walked and Ramirez followed with another one-pitch at-bat that ended up in a home run against Garcia. 18-7 Orioles.
That's right, Garcia threw two pitches to Ramirez and he had two homers and four RBI in those at-bats. Wow.
But the youngster would get out of things shortly there after and closed out the win, giving the Birds a series win. Not to mention, he threw three innings which will probably keep Buck from using him for the next week. What a shame.
Garcia continues to struggle a bit in the often low-leverage situations he is placed into. Today he allowed three earned runs over just 2.1 innings pitched. His ERA now sits at 6.97 and his place on the team has to be teetering on the edge just a bit.
OVerall this was a good day for the Birds. You have to give it to the Orioles for this win. They are regularly criticized for struggling to score without the home run. Well today they used 20 hits to score 18 runs. Only one of those hits was a round-tripper, and it was of the solo variety.
Add to that, the Orioles only struck out five times as a team and none of them were from Davis. That's five at-bats without a third strike on the Orioles big bopper; a minor miracle.
As you can imagine, a lot of guys had multi-hit games. Davis, Young, Navarro and Paredes each had three hits. Lavarnway, Pearce and Cabrera each had two hits. And Jones and David Lough added a hit each.
Young led the team with five RBI on the day while Davis, Pearce and Paredes had three RBI each.
The Orioles will look to keep the good vibes going as they welcome the other Sox to the Yard for a three-game set starting tomorrow at 7:05. The reinvented Ubaldo Jimenez will look to bounce back from a subpar start his last time out. The White Sox will send out 28-year-old righty Hector Noesi. See you at the Yard.