The definition for a pitcher's duel is kind of fuzzy, but I feel like this was probably it. Both Wei-Yin Chen and Jered Weaver pitched very well in this game, with all of the action coming in the beginning and the end and the middle innings being pretty boring. It was a frustrating game to watch. Weaver only had three strikeouts, but every ball the O's put into play seemed to be a weak grounder or pop up. In the end they only got three hits off of him, and one of those was J.J. Hardy's home run, which broke up the shut out if nothing else. The Orioles would have some chances in the later innings, but couldn't do much with them.
Albert Pujols got things going in the first inning with a 2-out home run to left field. The Angels would score again in the 2nd after Aybar doubled to lead off the inning and eventually scored after a being driven in by a sac fly. It was quickly 2-0.
But Chen settled down after that and wouldn't allow another run in the game. Nothing much happened until the fifth inning, when J.J. Hardy reached after Weaver couldn't handle the grounder to him, and then couldn't connect on the throw to first, allowing Hardy to 2nd. With one out, this was the O's best chance to do something, but Navarro and Joseph would quickly get the last two outs.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Orioles would again have an opportunity when Adam Jones bunted for a single with no outs. Chris Davis would come up next, and for once I wish he actually would have struck out because he hit into a double play. Delmon Young would strike out to end the inning.
Chen would come back out for the 8th, but after a leadoff walk Buck brought in Tommy Hunter. He got Mike Trout to ground into a double play and then got Pujols out to end the inning.
Finally in the bottom of the 8th J.J. Hardy would put the O's on the board with a leadoff home run. But of course, Rey Navarro would fly out and Mike Scioscia pulled Weaver and brought in Joe Smith. Manny Machado would get a one out single, but Alejandro De Aza would fly out to end the inning.
The Angels got another run in the top of the ninth, but they didn't need it. Things did get close in the bottom of the ninth. Adam Jones got a one-out single. Davis followed with a very deep ball to the warning track in left center field, but it just didn't have enough to get over. It's hard to blame Davis on this one - on a warmer night, or one with a little help from the wind and that ball would be gone. Travis Snider pinch hit for Delmon Young, but struck out to end the game.
- Manny Machado extended his hit streak to seven games, but maybe more impressively his reaching base safely streak extended to 20 games. That's the kind of getting on base the Orioles have been lacking for a long time.
- Jimmy Paredes hit streak came to an end, but he did get a walk keeping his getting to base safely streak alive at 13 games.
- I wrote this about Weaver in my series preview post: "Despite the slow start though, the guy is a 3-time All-Star who has put up very good numbers in the past, so as some point it's still reasonable to expect him to turn it around this year." What I didn't mention was that he already started his turn-around in his last start when he pitched a complete game shut out against the Astros. Obviously he didn't lose a step tonight.
- Why is Alejandro De Aza batting 2nd? Shouldn't that be Paredes' spot at this point? Machado seems to be doing very well as the lead off batter, but I'd bump Paredes up to 2nd and push De Aza down while bumping everyone else up as well. Of course, I'd also play Travis Snider more instead of De Aza...not sure what Snider did to get the bench so much.
- I was thinking in the top of the ninth, after the Angels had guys on 1st and 3rd with no outs - this when you want an Andrew Miller type. You need a guy who can come in and get Ks, because almost any ball put in play is going to be a run. I'm not sure the Orioles have a guy like that in their bullpen. Zach Britton is the closest, maybe he should've come in.
The Orioles and Angels are back at it tomorrow night. Will Bud Norris pitch? Do we want him to? First pitch is at 7:05.