The Orioles entered the night having lost five straight. The Dodgers had 10 straight home wins, and won 18 of last their 21 at Chavez Ravine. So when Vin Scully said "And a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be," it was hard to believe it would be pleasant for Orioles fans on Korean Night at Dodgers Stadium as starter Kenta Maeda entered the game with a 2.82 ERA.
But Maeda would not prove as good as his numbers, as Manny Machado crushed a 3-run homer, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters both went 2-for-4, and Chris Tillman pitched a gem where he never allowed a lead-off runner on base.
Happy Korean Night, Hyun Soo Kim!
Hyun Soo Kim decided to celebrate Korean Night in the first inning by doubling after a Adam Jones fly out, and while he moved to third base on a wild pitch while Chris Davis batted, he was stranded on a Davis strikeout. Vin Scully Random Fact Of The Inning: Hyun Soo Kim was on the 2008 South Korean Olympic Team that won a Gold medal.
Strike and Counter Strike
The Dodgers wasted no time staking a lead in their first turn at bat. Corey Seager, the rookie All-Star, hit his 21st double and scored on a Adrian Gonzalez bloop single to left field. Vin Scully RFOTI: Baltimore had never won a regular season game at Dodger Stadium going into tonight.
The O's struck back immediately, in the top of the second with a walk by Mark Trumbo, a line drive single to the left-center gap by Matt Wieters to put runners on the corners and a single to right field by Jonathan Schoop that held up long enough that Yasiel Puig was able to throw out Matt Wieters at second base while Trumbo scored. Can't really fault Wieters for that one. J.J. Hardy grounded into a double play to kill the rally. Vin Scully RFOTI: In 1966 World Series, when Jim Palmer beat Sandy Koufax, Willie Davis had three errors in one inning on two plays.
The Dodgers did not answer back in the second, with only Chris Taylor managing a single. Maeda bunted him over to second, but he would advance no further. Vin Scully RFOTI: Frank Robinson won Triple Crown with only time he ever led the league in average, home runs or RBI total, let alone all three. Tillman had a much more efficient inning, matching Maeda's 30 pitches through 2.0 IP.
The O's had a threat in the third, with Jones doubling and Manny Machado being walked intentionally. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but Davis lifted a fly ball to almost the warning track in dead center for the third out. They did force Maeda to throw 20 pitches in the inning, driving his total to 50 over 3.0 IP. Vin Scully RFOTI: Kim didn't make the pre-game ceremony honoring him and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Scully guessed he wasn't told he was to get a gift.
The Dodgers went meekly in the third inning, as Tillman got three outs on just eight pitches. All three outs were ground balls to Schoop. Last Vin Scully RFOTI: Chris Tillman competes in bass fishing tournaments in off-season.
Maeda struck out the side in the 4th inning, working around a single by Wieters and a bloop by Schoop that Howie Kendrick should have caught. But National League rules meant Tillman was up with two outs, and it went about as well as Tillman's 0-for-13 lifetime batting would lead you to believe.
Tillman quickly sat down Puig and Grandal with a fly out and a ground ball when Kendrick got on with a single. For some inexplicable reason, as Tillman was struggling to put away Chris Taylor, Kendrick attempted to steal on the ninth pitch of the at-bat and was out by approximately 1.3 miles.
Earl Weaver Would Be Proud
Kenta Maeda started the inning at 73 pitches, and Orange County Register Dodgers beat writer Bill Plunkett chose then to remind Twitter, "#Dodgers Kenta Maeda 73 pitches in 4 IP. Approaching danger zone -- after 75 pitches opposing hitters jump to .348/.394/.530"
They did. Jones singled to center, Kim walked, and well, I'll just let my rough draft of this recap take it from here:
M. Machado: (Runners on 1B and 2B, no outs) 0-2 hole, OH DAMN he crushed that ball! Hanging curve, LF, back of the bleachers. WHAT AN AT BAT. 3RBI HR. 19th HR of year.
Just like that, it was 4-1 O's, and Kenta Maeda's night was done. Pedro Baez got the first three batters out he faced, but the damage had been done. Tilllman executed an elusive shutdown inning, allowing just a single to pinch hitter Scott Van Slyke in the bottom of the 5th.
The O's managed just a 1-out single by J.J. Hardy against new pitcher Louis Coleman, although Tillman managed to lay down a SAC bunt with two strikes. Pretty impressive.
Manny Does Manny Things With The Glove, Too
With Trayce Thompson batting in the 6th inning, Machado would show why he's an All-Star yet again. Fielding a sharply hit grounder, Machado took three full steps into foul ground, threw across his body and got Thompson by a full step on a throw where Davis didn't have to move his glove.
The O's went quietly in the 7th, going three up, three down against Luis Avilan. The Dodgers did the same in the bottom of the inning, and Tillman was absolutely cruising, even at 99 pitches. The Dodgers had just three hits after the first inning off Tillman. Nice work.
The O's threatened again in the top of the 8th inning with Chris Hatcher pitching, as Trumbo singled to start. Joey Rickard came on as a pinch runner, and advanced to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a pick off throw that flew into center field. So, runner on third, no outs. Of course they didn't score. Wieters struck out, and after Schoop was hit by a pitch in the ribs to give the O's runners on the corners with just one out, J.J. Hardy struck out and pinch hitter Nolan Reimold flew out to end the would-be rally.
Back To Order In Late Innings
Brad Brach made quick work of the middle of the Dodgers' lineup, striking out Utley, Seager and Thompson in the bottom of the 8th. Hatcher got the O's 1-2-3 as well, as Jones, Kim and Machado went in order. The Dodgers' bullpen actually pitched 5.0 innings of scoreless relief again tonight, allowing just two hits.
Zach Britton pitched the 9th, just his third outing since pitching in a game since June 25. He made allowed a single to Adrian Gonzalez just past Schoop, but struck out Puig and Kendrick on filthy 98 mph sinkers in between a deep fly out to right field by Justin Turner.
And with that, the O's losing streak stopped at five, they maintain a 2.5 game lead in the American League East, and the world seems slightly better.