It was a beautiful night at Camden Yards with Ubaldo Jimenez on the hill for the Orioles. Everything you need to know about Wednesday night’s game against the Red Sox below.
It didn’t take long for Ubaldo’s first bit of adversity to creep onto the scene. After notching two outs rather quickly in the first, he walked Mookie Betts and allowed a pair of singles to load the bases for six-hole hitter Aaron Hill.
After getting ahead 2-0, Hill worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a dribbler to Manny Machado at third. In classic Machado fashion, he scooped the grounder up and gunned it to Chris Davis to capture the out and prevent the big inning. Jimenez eluded the jam, but still worked his pitch count to 28 after the first frame.
The Orioles bats stayed quiet through their first two innings, but Jimenez, too, kept things scoreless and at bay for the next few innings.
He’d utilize his arsenal to keep Boston hitters off balance for the next few innings, aided in the third by a tremendous play by his catcher. After Xander Bogaerts walked, Matt Wieters beautifully back-picked him, tossing it to Davis for the out. Heading into the bottom of the third, donuts were all to be had on the scoreboard.
With their opportunity in the third, the Birds played a little unconventional baseball to put the first run of the game on the board.
After a Jonathan Schoop bloop single, Matt Wieters attempted to sacrifice bunt to get Schoop to second. However, Boston catcher Sandy Leon chose to try to get the lead runner, skipping the throw, which arrived too late, to allow both Schoop and Wieters to reach safely.
J.J. Hardy then walked on four pitches, loading the bases for Adam Jones. He poked a sacrifice fly to right field to put the Orioles up 1-0, but the other two runners were ultimately stranded.
Hyun-Soo Kim grounded out, while Manny Machado popped out to foul ground on the first pitch to end the threat. After three, it was 1-0 O’s.
When Jimenez loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fourth, it appeared the Orioles wouldn’t have the all-important shutdown inning. But when Leon swung at a 1-1 offering from Jimenez, a bit of Orioles magic popped onto the scene.
Leon grounded to the right of Davis, who went to the dirt, scooped it up and threw it to J.J. Hardy for the first out. Jimenez hustled to first, got there with perfect timing and caught Hardy’s toss, turning two on Leon to get out of the inning.
Ubaldo finished the inning with 79 pitches, hanging onto the one-run lead.
Quiet was the theme for the next few frames, keeping an edge to the Wednesday night crowd at Camden Yards. Kim poked a warning-track shot in the bottom of the fifth, but nothing Jackie Bradley Jr. couldn’t track down in his mitt.
Through the first five, both teams collected just three hits.
Jimenez left to a standing ‘O’ in the middle of the sixth inning, but not before leaving some unfinished business for Brad Brach out of the bullpen. The latter inherited David Ortiz and Mookie Betts with one out, a spot in this game that proved to be the tipping point
The first batter, Aaron Hill, hit a dribbler between Wieters and Brach that’d be cause for miscommunication. Brach charged to the ball before someone said something that caused him to back off, forcing Wieters to try to make the play at first. Hill reached, loading the bases with one out.
After falling behind Bradley Jr., 3-0, Brach masterfully worked all the way back, utilizing a filthy slider and a 97 MPH fastball to induce two swings and misses.
With two outs, the game potentially on the line and the adrenaline pumping, Chris Davis made the mistake of the night.
Leon chopped a grounder in the soft triangle between Schoop, Brach and Davis. Trying to make the quick play — with time to spare — Davis booted the throw while Brach was getting over to cover. He put too much heat on the ball, tossing it behind the bag and allowing two runs to cross.
Without time to breathe, Andrew Benintendi took Brach’s next pitch and launched it right above the wall in right — a home run, scoring three more Boston runs.
Just like that, it was 5-1 Red Sox. Crisis: not exactly averted.
After the top of the sixth, this one was just about over. The Orioles didn’t get another run, just one other hit on the night.
With the loss, the O’s fall to 82-70, in real danger of losing their current Wild Card spot in the coming days.