The Orioles continued their winning ways tonight, topping the Red Sox 6-4 thanks in part to a four-run second inning that paced the Orioles for the rest of the evening. While the top of the order (Manny Machado, Jimmy Paredes, and Chris Parmelee) led the numbers game with two hits apiece, the biggest blow came from #9 hitter David Lough.
The pitching was forgettable tonight, with rough performances from both the starter Ubaldo Jimenez and closer Zach Britton. Thankfully it was all enough to get the win against the last-place Red Sox.
Joe Kelly's very bad day
When the other team's starting pitcher has a bad day, that's good for the Orioles. That was certainly the case tonight with Red Sox starting pitcher Joe Kelly. The second inning started with three straight singles by Chris Davis, Travis Snider, and J.J. Hardy loaded the bases with no outs for Ryan Flaherty, who hit a long fly ball to the base of the Green Monster for a sac fly.
Following Flaherty was David Lough, who has been getting a lot of playing time with Adam Jones on the shelf. He hasn't been hitting all that much, but you wouldn't know it from his first at bat tonight. Lough hit a line drive over the fend in right-center field, a beautiful Earl Weaver Special that gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead.
Kelly was right back in trouble in the third inning, but was able to get out of it unscathed thanks to some Orioles' incompetence. That bring us to...
You get a TOOTBLAN, and you get a TOOTBLAN!
After hitting a first-inning triple, Chris Parmelee started the third inning with a double (spoiler: he did not hit for the cycle). After he moved to third base on a ground out, Matt Wieters walked to put runners on the corners, and Kelly looked rough for the second straight inning. But then, for reasons unknown, the Orioles tried to pull off a double steal. That play, in my mind, is for use when you when the team is stymied by the pitcher and they need to pull a trick out of their sleeves. The O's were jumping all over Kelly, but they tried it anyway. The throw down to second was cut off by Xander Bogaerts, who fired home to easily get Parmelee at home. Why!?
After that curious decision, Kelly walked Snider. It could have been bases loaded with one out, but instead it was runners on first and second with two outs. That didn't last long, though, as Snider wandered two far off of first base and was picked off by a mile as the catcher Sandy Leon fired to first base after a pitch to Hardy. Just like that, the Orioles gifted Joe Kelly a scoreless inning.
For good measure, Jimmy Paredes was thrown out trying to steal in the ninth inning. Please, Orioles, just stop with that.
There were many times in 2014 that you'd gladly take a 5 IP, 3 R performance from Ubaldo Jimenez. That's not the case in 2015, where Jimenez has been one of the stronger guys in the rotation. Tonight he pitched two scoreless innings before giving up a single run in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings. The run in the third inning came as a result of solid back-to-back hits, but in the fourth things he could have gotten out of it without giving up a run if not for a wild pitch that Matt Wieters probably should have caught, plus a terrible throw from Snider in left field on what should have been a very close play at the plate.
All in all, when Ubaldo started the fifth inning I didn't have a bad feeling about it despite his two runs allowed in the previous two innings. But that's where things fell apart. As you probably know, as long as Ubaldo isn't walking people he usually gets by OK. He started off with two outs, but then walked Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to prolong the inning. It was clear that he had lost it, but he just needed one more out! He didn't get it from Hanley Ramirez, who singled to knock in Pedroia. Thankfully he struck out Bogaerts to end the inning. Before he struck out, Bogaerts hit a high chopper that would have been an infield single, but Manny Machado alertly let it roll foul. I was struck with a moment of crisis in which I was convinced that letting it go foul meant that Bogaerts would homer on the next pitch, but thankfully that wasn't the case.
Not your big brother's David Ortiz
Five times Ortiz came to the plate tonight, three of which were with runners in scoring position. For much of David Ortiz's career, the Orioles were very bad and he was very good, and those kinds of at-bats were terrifying. That's not really the case any more. All three at-bats with runners in scoring position resulted in outs, the biggest of which came in the ninth inning against the struggling Zach Britton. With two outs and Pedroia at second base, Ortiz represented the tying run. We've seen this movie before, but this time it had a better ending. Ortiz hit a liner right into the glove of Machado at third to end the game. It's been tough watching Ortiz destroy the Orioles for so many years, so it's nice to see the tables finally turned.
Orange sky by night, Orioles take flight
There were crazy storms along the east coast today. The rain never made it up to Boston during the game, but the sky was crazy there all the same. In addition to the orange sky being shown on MASN, pictures began flowing onto Twitter and Instagram from fans at the game. This one of a very orange sky was my favorite:
Also check out this gorgeous one on Instagram. Things may have gotten dicey in this game a few times, but with a good omen like that, how could the Orioles have lost?