Another Friday night, another Baltimore Orioles victory. Still in first place, life is currently very, very sweet for Buck Showalter's O's. Who knows if they can keep up their current pace - but boy, are they fun to watch!
If you watched simply the first inning of Yovani Gallardo's start, you probably would have guessed that he wouldn't have lasted past the second inning. Very simply: it was a disaster.
He surrendered four straight hits (three for extra bases) to begin the game, coupled with a pair of walks to allow Tampa to put up a three-spot in the opening frame. It was awfully ugly, but the rest of the night didn't exactly follow along on the same path.
As the game rolled along, the next five innings would be beautifully executed with little strain. Gallardo settled down, dug in and worked quite the productive outing. He wouldn't strike out many along the way - just three in total - but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He had enough pitches in the tank to work into the sixth inning before Ashur Tolliver entered to record the final two outs in that one.
So Gallardo: 5 1/3, 7 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, HR. 96/61 #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) June 25, 2016
On Tampa's side, starter Matt Moore sprinted out of the gate and may have used up too much gas a bit too soon. He set down the first 13 Orioles through the first four and a third innings, but unraveled to finish out his appearance.
J.J. Hardy plated the first run of the game in the fifth after a Chris Davis double and Adam Jones crushed a solo shot in the sixth inning, but the biggest shot came with the bases loaded later in the frame.
Davis flared a bloop single to right that appeared to only be good enough to tie things, but the hustle of Manny Machado forced an errant throw that got by catcher Hank Conger. The error scored Mark Trumbo, clearing the bases and putting the score at 6-3.
Odrisamer Despaigne acted as the seventh-inning bridge arm with a perfect 16-pitch frame, Brad Brach followed with a scoreless inning in the eighth and Manny Machado treated the crowd to the home run siren with an opposite-field solo shot to boost the O's lead to 6-3.
All that was left to accomplish? Zach Britton's final three outs ... which he handled just marvelously under the bright Friday night lights at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The Birds are now 42-30 on the season, sitting perched atop the AL East.
It's a good time to be an O's fan.