The Baltimore Orioles put on a great show tonight, getting contributions from across the roster. The most unexpected, of course, was Ubaldo Jimenez, who had himself a fine game in limiting the Jays to three runs.
On offense it was three home runs (of course) that did the trick with one each from Steve Pearce, Manny Machado, and Matt Wieters.
Dongs for Happ
JA Happ is a left-handed pitcher who came into this game with a 3.19 ERA. He has already beaten the Orioles twice this year. This didn’t bode well for the Orioles, and for the first four innings it looked like the Orioles weren’t going to do much against him.
Our guys actually had base runners in innings 1-4, but couldn’t take advantage of them. They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, through those first four, but made up for it with a three-run fifth that put them back on top (for the moment).
As is so often the case, the Orioles used the almighty dong to get back into the game. Steve Pearce, traded for at the deadline because he is a murderer of lefties, got the party started with a solo home run to left field to tie the game.
Two batters later, Manny Machado hit 32nd home run into the visitor’s bullpen. It was a beaut, and with a runner on gave the O’s a 3-1 lead that they would hold until the seventh.
The dong was the 100th of Manny’s young career, making him the youngest Oriole to reach 100 and the third-fastest Oriole to get there.
Welcome home to Ubaldomore
Just like with Wade Miley yesterday, many Orioles fans went into this game dreading the damage that would be wrought on the starting pitcher by the potent Blue Jays lineup. And just like yesterday, that didn’t happen.
Things looked dicey for Ubaldo Jimenez through the first two innings, though he escaped with just one run allowed. In the first inning he walked two but induced an inning ending double play.
In the second the evil Michael Saunders doubled and came around to score on a single. That gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead, but after that Ubaldo stopped pitching the way we expected him to and started kicking ass.
After giving up the RBI single, Jimenez went on to retire the next eight batters he faced. The ninth batter hit a one-out single and was immediately erased on a double play. Ubaldo followed that with a 1-2-3 sixth inning and cruised into the seventh inning with a 3-1 lead. And that’s when things went awry.
Some might say (with the benefit of hindsight) that Jimenez should have been taken out after six innings. He has a checkered past and the Orioles didn’t have a big lead. But I think him going back out for the seventh was absolutely the right call.
With one out, Russell Martin on first base, and Brad Brach warming in the bullpen, guy I hate Michael Saunders came to the plate. I got nervous. You got nervous, too, I know it.
Well, Saunders did just what we feared he would: he hit a game-tying home run. It was deflating and a tough way to see Ubaldo’s night go, but I don’t think it made his ruined his game. It did really stink, though.
Ubaldo got one more out before being pulled for Brad Brach. His final pitching line was 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Not outstanding, but I’ll take that from Ubaldo any time.
Ubaldo Jimenez's ERA in his last three starts? 2.55 (5 ER in 17 2/3 IP). #Orioles— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) August 31, 2016
Did I mention we like dongs?
Once both starters were out of the game with the score 3-3, I felt mild confidence that the boys would get the job done. Brad Brach looked great, pitching 1.1 innings with just one single allowed. That bought time for the O’s offense to come back.
The heroes of the late innings were Jonathan Schoop and Matt Wieters. With two outs in the eighth Schoop worked a walk off of Jason Grilli to keep the inning alive for Wieters.
Wieters has been disappointing at times this season, but this was not one of them. He took Grilli deep for a two-run homer onto the flag court to give the Orioles a 5-3 lead.
After that it was just a formality as Zach Britton came in to get his 39th save of the season.
The Orioles and Blue Jays will meet for a rubber game tomorrow with Yovani Gallardo pitching for the Orioles and and Aaron Sanchez for the Jays. This is a mismatch for sure, but after tonight’s game I’m feeling a little confident.