As this macabre 2015 season winds down with meaningless games, we look for joy. Joy in performances, joy in hurting your rivals chances at the playoffs, or joy in the oddities of baseball. Tonight we got some of that joy, albeit fleeting. The Orioles were able to win tonight by a score of 5-3 and so the wheel turns.
The first inning started auspicious enough as a lead off walk by Yankees starter CC Sabathia to Nolan Reimold. Reimold would move to third on a pair of ground outs and score on a soft single to left field by Chris Davis. 1-0, Orioles.
Yet, as so many games have gone recently, Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez would follow in the first inning by giving up a home run--something Jimenez and the entire pitching staff has struggled with--to Carlos Beltran. 1-1.
Jimenez ran into trouble again in the bottom of the third inning. He led off the inning by plunking Didi Gregorius and yielding a single to Stephen Drew. After a ground out, that was a near double play, and a strike out, in stepped that man again. Beltran singled on a line drive to center field scoring two more. 3-1, Yankees.
The Orioles would put together a threat in the fourth inning after a lead off walk from Davis and a single by Jonathan Schoop, but, as the Orioles have struggled with all too much as of late, the rally died from there. Yet, in the fifth inning they would get a little help. Again, a lead off walk, this time by Dariel Alvarez, and a single by Nolan Reimold put two on and none out. The first out was on a sacrifice bunt by Gerardo Parra moving the runners to second and third with Manny Machado on deck. Sabathia, still in the game, struck out Machado and with two down hit Davis on a 1-2 count.
That ran Sabathia from the game, yet his line was not yet determined. Adam Warren came into the game and got Schoop to hit an easy ground ball which Chase Headley flipped to Stephen Drew. Yet, Drew let the ball slip through his legs and into the outfield. Alvarez and Reimold came around to score. 3-3. A bit of luck, how nice. Sabathia's final line at 4.2 innings pitched, with 4 hits, 3 runs, 1 earned run, 3 walks, and 5 strike outs.
Lost in all of this was a pretty good game from Jimenez. While the three earned runs aren't ideal, Jimenez ended up pitching 7 innings, only surrendering 4 hits, the 3 runs, 0 walks, and 8 strike outs. Again, we must find some joy in the little things.
Then, some more joy. In the top of the eighth inning with Warren still pitching and one down, Steve Pearce smacked a solo home run into the left field stands. 4-3, Orioles and a little joy found in a guy who has struggled with health and poor performance. Team Steve rides again.
From there the Orioles turned to Darren O'Day who did how he do and got the job done in short order. Meanwhile, Joe Giradi took full advantage of showing everyone that he can manage by wasting all of our time, made what I assume was 38 pitching changes. I don't really know, who cares? Girardi feels no need to provide or find any joy.
The Orioles would score again in the top of the ninth inning adding a very nice late add on run. Nolan Reimold led off the inning with a walk off of same faceless pitching drone (it was Nick Rumbleow if you care) which was followed with a one out walk from Manny Machado off of another anonymous henchman (James Pazos, do you care?).That brought baseball destroyer Chris Davis to the plate who smashed a ground rule double over the head of Beltran off of the same pitching automaton (Again, it was Pazos, you don't need to care). 5-3 Orioles.
Zach Britton slammed the door shut in short order. 5-3, Orioles, final score. Jimenez got the win, Warren hung with the loss, and Britton with the save. The Orioles are off tomorrow, but are back at Camden Yards on Friday against the Royals, Mike Wright faces Danny Duffy at 7:05pm.