You can't sweep a doubleheader without winning the first game, and that's just what the Orioles did today against the Indians. They put up four runs against Indians' righty Trevor Bauer, highlighted by yet another great game from DH Jimmy Paredes. On the other side of the ball was Ubaldo Jimenez, who gave the Orioles just what they needed in game one of a doubleheader: 8 shutout innings. Swoon!
Trevor Bauer has been a tough pitcher this season, especially on the road where he started today with a 1.10 ERA. He does have trouble with his control, which showed as he walked Paredes in the first inning and hit Steve Pearce in the back in the second inning. He didn't allow a hit, though, and thanks to a double play faced seven batters over the first two innings.
It doesn't matter how well you pitch, though, you will eventually be destroyed by Jimmy Paredes. Bauer avoided it in the first by walking him, but in the third he wasn't so lucky. With two outs and Caleb Joseph on base via a single, Jimmy launched a baseball to right center field. It was as no-doubt-about-it as it gets and landed over halfway back into the center field seats. You cannot contain Jimmy. He will not allow it.
The 2-0 lead was one more run than Jimenez needed today, as he was straight dealing. He breezed through the first five innings of the game with just two singles allowed, one of which was of the infield variety. Neither of the runners got past first base.
In the top of the sixth inning, with the score still 2-0, Ubaldo got into his first and only jam of the day. Giovanny Urshela led off with a single, and then with two outs Michael Brantley also singled to put runners on first and second. The typical Orioles fan reaction is to think, "Here comes the dinger," so when David Murphy hit a fly ball to deep-ish right field, I dramatically said "Nooo!" But right fielder Chris Davis (really) made the catch to end the inning.
In order to give Jimenez a confidence boost after his only tough inning of the game, the offense put up two more runs in the bottom half of the inning. It started with Manny Machado's 15th home run of the year, a solo shot that just barely sneaked over the wall. That's okay, Manny, they all look like bombs in the box score! As Machado rounded the bases the camera panned to Jimenez giving an ovation to show his appreciation for the insurance run, and the two celebrated with a dance party when Manny returned the dugout. I am also prone to dance parties when the Orioles score runs, so I was enjoyed it.
While we were still celebrating Machado's dinger, Paredes doubled to right field, because he is awesome. At this point, multi-hit games by Paredes are kinda ho hum, am I right? Paredes moved to third on a wild pitch, then came in to score on a double by Davis. Bauer then struck out Steve Pearce and Chris Parmelee to end the rally.
After having a bit of trouble in the sixth, Jimenez came back stronger than before in the seventh. He needed just seven pitches for a 1-2-3 inning, putting him in good position to come back in the eight to face the Indians' 8-9-1 hitters. He mowed those guys down, too. With Brian Matusz warming in the bullpen to face lefty Jason Kipnis if anyone got on base, Jimenez got a ground out, a strikeout, an another ground out (from Kipnis) to end his night. What a fabulous game for Ubaldo Jimenez. His final line was: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K. All four hits were singles, but the most beautiful part of that pitching line to me is the zero walks.
I mentioned Matusz warming earlier, and he indeed came in to pitch the ninth inning. In usual Matusz form, he walked the first batter to harsh our Jimenez-induced buzz. After he recorded one out, Buck Showalter pulled him for Chaz Roe, who finished the game despite issuing a walk of his own.
O's win, 4-0! They have secured the series win and will go for the sweep tonight at 7:05 p.m. Chris Tillman takes the mound for the Orioles vs. Toru Murata, who will be making his major-league debut. Thanks to losses by the Rays and Yankees today, a win tonight would put the Orioles in a tie for first place in the A.L. East.
Adam Jones returned to center field today for the first time since June 15th. Hallelujah! He didn't have any hits and didn't have to make any throws in center field to test his bum shoulder, but it was great to see him. Hopefully starting him wasn't a folly that will eventually reset his DL clock.
With the win today, the Orioles have logged 5,000 since moving to Baltimore from St. Louis in 1954. Here's to 5,000 more!
Jimmy Paredes was on base four times today. He had two walks to go with a single and a double.
The Orioles are now 17-5 in their last 22 games.
Today's attendance was practically a sellout at 45,675.