The Orioles needed a win tonight to remain in first place and to secure a series win against the Red Sox. They got it in fine fashion as the offense, led by Adam Jones, knocked around former O’s prospect Eduardo Rodriguez and Tyler Wilson pitched the game of his professional career to get the win.
Three Cheers for Tyler
Tyler Wilson’s dominant performance on the mound is without a doubt the story of tonight’s game. Wilson has been suffering from Brian Matusz Syndrome since May 11th making it tough to have any confidence in him.
If you’re unfamiliar with BMS, it means that his ERA went up every single game since his start against the Twins on that day. He broke that trend tonight, lowering his ERA from 4.73 to 4.16.
The Orioles needed a hero after Kevin Gausman failed to deliver last night, and Wilson was our guy. He retired the first six batters that he faced and after putting two runners on but escaping the jam in the third, started a run of 11 straight outs that took him through the first out in the seventh inning. David Ortiz broke up the run with a double, but Wilson retired Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley, Jr. to end the inning.
The eighth and final inning for Wilson may have been his best of the game despite a singled allowed. He struck out Rusney Castillo, Sandy Leon, and Mookie Betts all swinging for his three outs. Sure, it was the bottom of the order, but he looked good.
Wilson looked great, but it’s also true that the BABIP gods smiled on him tonight. A number of balls hit off of him were hit hard, but either went right to players or resulted in a great play on defense. Paul Janish, Nolan Reimold, Chris Davis, and Joey Rickard all made great defensive plays tonight in support of their pitcher. As Gary Thorne said, "The D just keeps on providing!"
I don’t say any of that to disparage Wilson. He had a great game and is a huge reason for why they won. But it’s probably hard to shut out the Red Sox for eight innings without a little bit of luck and some great defense.
Let’s Call Him "Five Runs All Earned-Rod"
There continues to be a lot of hand wringing from some about the trade that sent Eduardo Rodriguez to Boston in 2014. That won’t end any time soon, I imagine, but I dream that it might if Rodriguez doesn’t pitch so well.
He’s only made three starts before tonight, so it is a very small sample size, but Rodriguez has had trouble so far this season. That continued tonight as the Orioles got to him for five runs in just 4 1/3 innings.
The first runs scored in the third inning on a home run by, who else, Adam Jones. Jones is on fire lately and tonight was no exception. He followed a walk by number nine hitter Paul Janish with a bomb that sailed out of Fenway Park over the Green Monster. We never would have guessed it at the time, but those ended up being the only runs the Orioles needed tonight.
Adam Jones was the man again in the very next inning. Jones was only at the plate because Dustin Pedroia dropped a double play ball, and he made the Red Sox pay for the miscue. He lined a double to left field that knocked in Jonathan Schoop from third and put runners on second and third and the chance to break it open. Unfortunately Joey Rickard flew out to center to end the inning.
I, along with many of you I’m sure, wondered if that would come back to haunt the O’s. They had a chance to add on runs and they didn’t, and given both the Orioles’ troubles with their starting pitching and the Red Sox ability to score runs, you gotta take advantage of that situation.
Thankfully E-Rod decided to give up two more in the very next inning to give the O’s a comfortable 5-0 lead. A double from Manny Machado started things off, and he came in to score on a single by Chris Davis.
That RBI single chased Rodriguez from the game, but before the inning ended another run was tacked onto his record. With two outs and Matt Barnes on the mound, Schoop hit a double just inside the third base foul line. It went all the way to the wall which allowed Davis to score from first.
The Red Sox relief corps didn’t allow another run, but it didn’t matter. The Orioles had all they needed.
Alone in First Place
The Red Sox did end up getting a run in the ninth with Brad Brach on the mound. David Ortiz padded his stats with a home run that did nothing to change the outcome of the game, but that didn’t stop him from acting like he just hit a walk off homer.
Other than that, Brach had a solid ninth inning to close the game, which sends the Orioles home to Baltimore with a series win and a one-game lead in the division. After losing three of four to the Blue Jays to start the road trip, it’s a nice palate cleanser.
Of course, the Orioles now have to face the Blue Jays again this weekend, but let’s not think about that tonight. Tonight, the Orioles are winners!