It wasn't a quick one, but Yovani Gallardo and the Orioles did it again. The win column is something they're rather used to this season. Thanks to fireworks on offense, this one wasn't close.
Both Gallardo and Padres starter Christian Friedrich handled their business early - only one baserunner reached through the first three full frames (Gallardo's walk to Yangervis Solarte). But as the fourth inning rolled around, the Orioles proved why they're very worthy of being called one of the best teams in the game.
Said Jim Palmer during the inning: "It's like a different guy came to the pitching mound here in the fourth."
Adam Jones worked a four-pitch walk, setting the stage for Jonathan Schoop who completely split the left and centerfielders on a heavy-hit liner to the gap. That scored Jones from first, sending Manny Machado to the plate to do ... well, Manny Machado things.
On a first pitch curveball, he smoked a line drive that hit off Wil Meyers' glove. The ball trickled into right, plating Schoop for the second run of the inning.
Just like that, the perfect game, no-hitter and shutout were gone in a flash. Sorry, San Diego.
Later in the inning, after Machado took second on a wild pitch, Mark Trumbo launched his 23rd home run of the season. All he had to do was throw his hands at the 2-2 offering and it was gone as soon as it hit the bat.
4-0 Orioles after three and a half ... quite the quick turnaround. In the next half inning, Gallardo managed to capture the all-important shutdown inning after a frame with offensive fireworks - after the fourth, it seemed all but finished, but it wasn't until the top of the fifth that San Diego's collapse was officially noted.
A one-out Gallardo single (yeah, he hits too!) and Jonathan Schoop double put runners at second and third with two outs for Machado. Padres manager Andy Green decided to walk number 13 to send Chris Davis to the dish. And though it didn't turn out exactly as the script might've written itself, the game of baseball decided to keep pushing things in the Orioles favor.
Davis hit a dribbler down the line that stayed fair by inches, forcing a tough-angled throw up the first base for Friedrich. The play couldn't be made, the ball skipped away, two runs were scored, and Green would be furious.
He'd give umpire Bill Miller an old-fashioned argument that would ultimately get him tossed, but not before the scoreboard put two more notches in the run column for the visiting Birds. If the deal wasn't sealed before that debacle, they certainly were once Green headed for an early shower.
Gallardo dominated through the first five, but the Padres did find a way to put a three spot up in the bottom of the sixth. Brett Wallace put a three-run shot over the fence to make it a four run lead, an advantage that Odrisamer Despaigne nearly coughed up in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Despaigne allowed a walk and a single to put runners on the corners for Wallace's next at-bat, but the threat was quickly stifled by the brilliant Brad Brach. He induced a 5-6-3 twin killing to wrap up the inning and set up a giant ninth inning for the Orioles bats.
With one more shot to put runs on the board, the Birds didn't want to leave San Diego without padding the stats just a bit more. After walks to Matt Wieters and Schoop and single from Adam Jones, Machado hit a two-RBI double to left to boost the score to 9-3.
If that wasn't enough, Trumbo, too, collected two RBI (his 59th and 60th) on a double to left field. Think he's All-Star worthy?
By the end of the shellacking, it was 12-3 with just three outs to capture. Oliver Drake left a few meatballs over the plate for the Padres to score three runs, but Mychal Givens saved the day to give the Orioles a win.
17 games over .500 ... the Birds of Baltimore look like they're here to stay.