The action in this one started early and continued throughout the game. The Orioles bashed the Royals 9-1 and on most nights that would be the main story. However, tonight some extracurricular activities are going to get most of the attention.
The Early Punches
The Orioles offense got off to a hot start tonight off of Royals' starter Yordano Ventura after a lengthy top of the first from Ubaldo Jimenez. Adam Jones led off the inning with an infield single which was followed by a Hyun Soo Kim single down the left field line. With runners on first and second Manny Machado doubled scoring Jones from second and advancing Kim to third. Next up was Mark Trumbo who laced a double to the left field wall scoring Kim and Machado. 3-0 Orioles on 12 pitches and still no outs. Welp, that went by awful fast. Then, with one down, Jonathan Schoop singled into left field allowing Mark Trumbo to score from third after he advanced on a fly ball from Chris Davis. 4-0 Orioles, still only one out in the inning.
Next, perhaps a moment that will get overshadowed by other happenings in this game, Pedro Alvarez put a drive into a ball into left center field and Lorenzo Cain sprinted back, leaped at the last second, and snared the ball before it fell into the Orioles bullpen. Easily one of the best catches I have ever seen. The crowd agreed and gave him a standing ovation.
Another moment that may get drowned out by the rest of the noise came in the second inning. Ryan Flaherty stroked a major dong onto Eutaw Street increasing the Orioles lead to 5-0. Ryan Flaherty is going to have a plaque in a major league ballpark. Truly anything is possible.
As eluded to earlier, Jimenez struggled throughout the night, but was able to wriggle out of damage. He was in jams in every inning he pitched and finally left in the sixth after failing to retire the first batter he saw. The worst jam came in the fourth inning when after allowing three consecutive singles to lead off the inning Jimenez walked Reymond Fuentes (the number 9 hitter of course) the first run he would allow. Yet, that would be all he allowed. With the bases still loaded and one down Alcides Escobar flared out to Davis, Whit Merrifield was called out on strikes after a lengthy at bat, and finally Lorenzo Cain flew out to Adam Jones. Jam escaped. Now 5-1.
All in all Jimenez pitched five plus innings, gave up eight hits, walked three, and only allowed one run. Talk about scattering the base runners.
The middle innings of this one were defined by play outside of the lines so to speak. With one down, Manny Machado stood in. But, first we have to go back to earlier in the game. In the second inning, after giving up four in the first (and nearly six save for Cain's great catch) Ventura threw inside to Machado twice, brushing Manny back. On the third pitch Machado hit a fly ball that looked like a solid connection. He admired the hit. The ball died in the wind/wasn't hit all that hard after all and the two exchanged some words. All of this comes from some decently bad blood that started last September as well. Ventura seems to have this stuff follow him around. Now, back to the future.
On the first pitch to Manny Ventura uncorked his hardest pitch of the night, a 99 mph fastball right into Machado's back. Now, these two are not known for their cool heads and they reacted no differently. Machado immediately rushed the mound, Ventura dropped his hat and glove like he knew it was coming. Machado laid down a solid right cross and the brawl died from there. Suspensions are coming which will particularly hurt the Orioles with the loss of Machado for any period of time. A Ryan Flaherty-Paul Janish left side of the infield makes me queasy.
The Orioles quickly responded in kind to new Royals' pitcher Chien-Ming Wang. With Janish now at first base Trumbo annihilated a baseball to center field and Davis followed him with his own homer to right center field. The score now 8-1 Orioles. The appropriate--and ultimately most satisfactory--response to an opponent being a jerk is to mash taters.
Adam Jones added on another run in sixth inning again off of Wang when he smashed a home run into the left fields stands. 9-1 Orioles which would hold on to be the final score. I'd be remiss to not mention Mychal Givens and Vance Worley as well who combined for four innings and only two base runners saving the bullpen for the finale tomorrow and making the end of the game nice and easy.
Join us tomorrow for the final game of this
series at 7:05pm as Chris Tillman (7-1) faces off against Edinson Volquez (5-5). I'm sure nothing too out of the ordinary will happen.