As the saying goes in sports, if you know the name of the umpire at the end of the game then the umpire probably had a bad night. Well, home plate umpire Dan Bellino had a very bad night and his erratic strike zone unfortunately defined much of the game. I'm not sure I've heard a more passive aggressive Jim Hunter as he attempted to keep his rage from coming through the broadcast. Hunter was throwing more shade than a tree in the desert (editor's note--not a saying).
The action in this game started early. Orioles starter Chris Tillman struggled through the first inning throwing 38 pitches. Michael Saunders led off the game with a single up the middle which Josh Donaldson followed by smoking a high fastball to the left center field gap for a run scoring double. 1-0 Jays. With one out, Tillman walked Edwin Encarnacion and with two down hit Russell Martin with a pitch to load the bases. Tillman then walked Justin Smoak on a 3-2 count to walk in a run. Always a great sight to see. 2-0 Jays. Tillman would then get Pillar to ground out to "minimize" the damage.
Not to be outdone in the first, the Orioles attempted to create a rally of their own. Joey Rickard led off the inning with a line drive that actually went through Donaldson's glove and then stole second which was confirmed via a lengthy replay. If you follow you me on Twitter, you know my opinions on replay review. Anyways, Manny Machado followed that up with a single to score Rickard, 2-1 Orioles. Adam Jones then doubled to right center field and Chris Davis walked (which he would do 4 times on the night). Bases loaded, no outs. Then Ol' Danny boy struck, ringing up Mark Trumbo on a change-up that was low and outside on a 3-2 count for the first out of the inning. Next, Matt Wieters came up and grounded into a double play. Inning over, only one run to show for it. Blame it on the ump.
Until the bottom of the seventh inning, neither team scored as the pitchers did their best "settling in" acts as the aforementioned Mr. Hunter loves to put it. The Orioles had their chances with multiple runners on base in multiple innings. The fifth inning brought about another Ol' Danny Boy Blunder. Matt Wieters checked his swing on a low pitch, but Bellino rung Wieters up himself rather than appealing to third base which incensed Wieters. Possibly from having a front row seat to the drunken man's strike zone all night Wieters snapped and gave Bellino a piece of his mind. Wieters got tossed, probably because Bellino was tired of getting yelled at all night.
Tillman on the other hand really did get some good results and limited base runners to keep the Orioles in the game and give the offense a chance to comeback.
Baseball things would then occur again in the bottom of the seventh. Against the switch pitching phenom Pat Venditte Davis walked and Trumbo got hit by a pitch. Caleb Joseph stepped to the plate, only in the game because of the Wieters ejection, and laced a single to right field. It stayed up long enough that the runners could only advance a base. Bases loaded, one down for J.J. Hardy. Hardy scorched a ball to right center field, but the fleet of foot Kevin Pillar raced it down to limit the scoring to just one run. 2-2 tie game.
Darren O'Day would shut down the Jays in the top of the eighth inning, only allowing a walk to his arch nemesis Joey Bautista. The bottom of the eighth would bring more runs. With one down, BABIP God Joey Rickard singled up the middle against Brett Cecil. With Machado batting, Rickard advanced on a passed ball. The grittiness seeps out of his pores. Machado would then bring Rickard home with a bloop double into right field. 3-2 Orioles.
Zach Britton would beat the Jays into the ground in the ninth inning striking out one and getting two ground ball outs. 3-2 Orioles win. He gets the save, O'Day (1-0) gets the win, and Brett Cecil (0-3) would get the loss. Join us tomorrow as Yovanni Gallardo starts for the Orioles in Kansas City against Chris Young.
Please vote in the Most Birdland Player of the night in the poll below. I have my hunch on who wins, but I think some credit can go around here.