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Orioles shut down by Bartolo Colon, lose 3-2 in series opener

Bartolo Colon is kind of a joke around baseball on account of his age and size and completely ridiculous at bats. But he's also pretty good at pitching.

Because how often am I going to have a chance to use a picture of Colon with his helmet falling off?
Because how often am I going to have a chance to use a picture of Colon with his helmet falling off?
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles dropped the first game in their short series with the New York Mets tonight, unable to solve the mystery that is Bartolo Colon. They wasted a solid but unspectacular start by Bud Norris, opting instead to strike out nine times against Colon as he pitched 7 ⅔  innings with just one run allowed. A Chris Davis homer in the 9th made things exciting but didn't change the outcome as the Orioles fell, 3-2.

Norris was in and out of trouble early in the game, but allowed runs in just one inning. After three innings in which he allowed four baserunners but no runs, Bud was hit hard in the fourth inning. Lucas Duda hit a long fly ball that landed over Adam Jones's head in center field for a double, then two batters later Duda scored on a single by Daniel Murphy. A Wilmer Flores double that hit the fair line painted on the wall in left field put runners on second and third, both of whom came in on yet another double, this one by Kevin Plawecki.

After a visit from pitching coach Dave Wallace (the poor man's Detective Munch), Norris retired Dilson Herrera on a fly ball and took advantage of the National League rules by striking out Bartolo Colon to end the inning (his helmet fell off, naturally. Also, the crowd just loved everything Bartolo did at the plate. Foul ball? Huge cheers. Ground out to shortstop? Giant cheers. It was hilarious).

After that fateful fourth inning, Bud settled in nicely. Starting with the second out of the fourth he retired the final eleven batters that he faced as he finished with a pitching line of 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Two of his final eleven outs were more due to Adam Jones being an awesome outfielder and less about Bud, however. Jones made an outstanding catch in the fifth inning (shown below), and another good one in the right-center field gap in the seventh.

As for the offense of the Orioles, it was basically limited to a home run by Manny Machado in the 8th inning. It was a beauty, hit deep to left-center field, but it was too little, too late. Colon allowed six hits in the game, but in just one inning did the Orioles have more than one baserunner against him. That inning was the fourth, when Jones and Davis hit back-to-back singles to lead off, then moved to second and third with one out. But the Orioles were unable to cash in, instead getting a strikeout from Caleb Joseph and a ground out by Travis Snider.

Before the game tonight I noticed a tweet from the Elias Sports Bureau:

Welp, he did it. It really has been a long and crazy road for Colon. He somehow just keeps on going, which is pretty impressive.

Brian Matusz relieved Norris with the task of keeping the deficit at just two runs. He did just that with a clean 1-2-3 inning, and it's always nice to see Matusz pitch well.

Coming into tonight, Mets closer Jeurys Familia was a perfect 10 for 10 in save opportunities this year. He is now a perfect 11 for 11. He did give up the aforementioned bomb to Davis on the first pitch he threw, but then made quick work of Delmon Young, Joseph (who was probably relieved to hit a fly ball after three strikeouts), and Snider to end the game.

With the loss the Orioles fall back to .500 at 12-12. They'll try to go back above it again tomorrow as Ubaldo Jimenez faces off against Jacob deGrom in the series finale.