The Orioles played a very un-Oriole-like game tonight, using timely hitting (and no home runs) to score just enough in support of a good starting pitching performance. Coming into tonight, Rangers starter Cole Hamels had only two losses on the year; now he has three. Orioles starter Kevin Gausman had only two wins on the year; now he has three.
Do you like all of your team’s offense compacted into one tidy inning? So do the Orioles, apparently. They sent eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning, scoring three runs off of lefty Cole Hamels.
Three runs against Hamels is pretty good, actually. He came into this game with a 1.71 road ERA and 2.84 overall ERA. It’s just a touch disappointing to score in the first inning and then fail to add anything on, though.
Hamels struck out Adam Jones to start the game, then the fun started. Jonathan Schoop singled and his BFF Manny Machado hit a line drive that first baseman Mitch Moreland got a glove on. He didn’t catch it, though, and it went trickling into foul territory as Schoop and Machado zoomed to third and second base, respectively.
You may have noticed that Machado sometimes has trouble when running the bases. It’s frustrating, but he’s so good at everything else that maybe it’s just nature’s way of trying to even things out a little bit. At any rate, he got himself thrown out on a ground ball to shortstop by Mark Trumbo for the second out of the inning.
While Manny was being thrown out, Schoop scored the first O’s run of the game. Hamels then momentarily lost all control, walking Chris Davis and Steve Pearce (who got a nice ovation before his first plate appearance) to load the bases.
As slumping Matt Wieters stepped to the plate I thought that it was a shame that this bases loaded opportunity was going to go to waste. Well, Matt showed me! He singled right back up the middle to score two runs and give the Orioles a 3-1 lead.
And those were the only runs they’d score the whole game. In innings two through seven, Hamels allowed just three baserunners on a single and two walks. Matt Bush followed him with a scoreless eighth inning.
Reports of the Goose being cooked were greatly exaggerated
Through the first two innings of tonight’s game it looked like it was going to be a rough one for Kevin Gausman. After giving up a home run to Carlos Beltran in the first inning, Gausman labored through the second. The O’s had just given him a two-run lead and he looked like he was going to give it all back and more.
The first batter he faced, Rougned Odor, hit a ball against the shift that just went inside the third base side for a double. New catcher Jonathan Lucroy singled him in and the score was cut to 3-2.
After a 10-pitch walk to Nomar Mazara, Gausman finally recorded the first out of the inning, then the second and third. But he threw 35 pitches in the inning and looked like he was not long for the game. The Orioles still had a one-run lead, but it looked like it was only a matter of time.
But then Goose got good! He had a quick 1-2-3 inning in the third, then stranded a leadoff double in the fourth. He did allow one baserunner in each of next two innings, but they were erased on double plays. J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis each made a nice play on those.
When Gausman came back out to start the seventh inning, still clinging to that one-run lead, I couldn’t believe it. He finished off the that inning without much trouble and when all was said and done he had thrown 108 pitches and put together a very nice game against one of the better offenses in the league. His final pitching line was 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K.
Closing things out
After Gausman, the reliable duo of Darren O’Day and Zach Britton came in to finish the game. O’Day was perfect, needing just seven pitches for a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Britton was a little shaky, but he got some help from his battery mate.
Say what you will about some aspects, of Wieters’s defense, but you can’t argue with his arm. With one out Britton walked Odor, then threw a ball in the dirt that bounced away from Wieters. Odor took off for second and Wieters made a perfect throw to nail him. It was a thing of beauty.
With the baserunner taken care of, Britton finished off Lucroy with a pop up to secure the series win.
O’s win! Tomorrow night they will go for the sweep with Wade Miley making his Orioles debut.