Over the previous four games, the O's had scored just five runs on 21 hits. The team, known for hitting home runs in bunches, had just one long ball in that span, and it came from the unlikeliest source, Joey Rickard. You knew those struggles had to come to an end soon, and boy did they against poor, poor John Danks and the ChiSox bullpen.
But first, the pitching!
Before the offense even got a chance to hit, the O's were down 2-0 in the top of the first inning following a Todd Frazier two-run home run to left field. It came off of Tyler Wilson's worst curveball of the evening. He hung it and the White Sox third baseman banged it.
Apart from that one slip-up, Wilson looked to be in control for much of his (brief) start. He only managed to last for 4.2 innings, but struck out three, walked one and allowed four hits in that time. At times, his change-up looked real nasty. But he began to tire a bit as the night went on and ended up hitting a man and allowing a single in the fifth to end his night. Following the game, manager Buck Showalter said they only wanted him throwing 85 pitches. He ended up tossing 91.
Mychal Givens got the call out of the bullpen first. The submarine/side-armer did not have his best stuff. The slider was not really sliding too much and the fastball was just a touch over 90 mph. Even still, he finished off the fifth inning and took care of the sixth as well.
Right-hander Dylan Bundy followed with a nice little two-inning appearance, allowing three hits and striking out one. He too had his change working pretty well and now has his season ERA down to 2.00. He might actually be a useful piece out there.
Southpaw T.J. McFarland finished things off, but he didn't look so hot. He allowed just one hit and struck out one, but at one point he threw the ball about 55 feet. Unfortunately, it needs to go 60 feet and six inches to make it to home plate. But this was not a night to complain. He had not pitched in nearly a week and got in his work.
The return of the bats
All the offense needed in order to cure itself of the awful plague that seemed to be haunting them the past few days was to face the pitching staff with the lowest ERA in all of Major League Baseball. Makes sense, right? But really, much of the damage came against Danks, who has arguably been the weak link in the Chicago pitching chain. He continued his early season woes in Baltimore.
Things got started early. In the bottom of the first, a walk from Manny Machado and a Chris Davis single set the stage for the middle of the order. Following a Mark Trumbo strike out, Adam Jones, who was 1-for-33 against Danks in his career heading into tonight, doubled to right centerfield to score Machado. Davis was thrown out at the plate in what turned out to be a close play but the ball reached the catcher about two weeks before Crush did.
In the third, the Orioles took the lead and never looked back. Machado doubled to score Rickard from first base. Davis followed him with a DONG to give the Birds a 4-2 lead. Then Trumbo went back-to-back with a DONG of his own. Now, this is the Orioles team we expected to see in 2016!
From there, the hitters needed a little two-inning breather before just pouring it on in the sixth inning. J.J. Hardy led off with a double and Nolan Reimold drove him in with a hard ground ball to Brett Lawrie, who booted it. A few batters later, Jonathan Schoop (single) and Rickard (walk) had reached for Machado. This was not an ideal situation for White Sox pitcher Jake Petricka. DONG! Manny gave the Orioles their first grand slam of the 2016 season with a long fly ball into the Birds bullpen. That made it 10-2 and from there, they just coasted through the remainder of the evening.
-Reimold has been really good in brief appearances this season, hitting .321 for the season. He went 2-for-4 with a run scored tonight.
-Maybe Rickard isn't fading after all. He had two more hits tonight in addition to a walk and two runs scored.
-Hyun-Soo Kim got another at-bat and of course he got a knock. He now has a .545 batting average and has a hit in three straight games.
-The bullpen continues to be outstanding. Givens, Bundy and McFarland combined for 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing six hits and striking out four. It was a cold night and they weren't at their best, but they got the job done.
-The White Sox were really hot coming into Baltimore, having been winners of their last six, including a sweep of the Blue Jays.
It will be the second of a four-game set. Right-hander Mike Wright (1-2, 6.23 ERA) gets the nod for the Birds. He will be opposed by lefty Carlos Rodon (1-2, 4.05). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. at Camden Yards.