The Orioles and Diamondbacks engaged in a battle of futility this evening. The Diamondbacks kept trying to give the Orioles the win and the Orioles kept refusing to take it. Terrible pitcher after terrible pitcher the D-Backs sent to the mound, but the Orioles just couldn’t make anything happen after getting runners on base. Oh, it was bad.
Finally after multiple extra innings in which the Orioles got runners on base but didn’t score, pinch hitters got inserted for unknown reasons, and so much bunting took place, Mark Trumbo was like, "Um, we hit dongs guys." and hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning to win the game.
Let me say that a win is always better than a loss, of course. I will take a win like tonight any day of the week if the alternative is losing. That being said, this one was a doozy that displayed the Orioles’ weaknesses in full force. But hey, the Orioles won and that’s good!
Gallardo Keeps Them in the Game
Yovani Gallardo has not had a good year for the Orioles. This is no secret. But tonight he did as well as I think we can expect, and his six-inning performance kept the team in the game long enough for them to come back.
Gallardo had a very shaky first inning in which he got the first two batters and then walked Paul Goldschmidt. A single and a double later and the D-Backs had a 1-0 lead. He did strand runners on second and third to get out of it, so it could have been worse.
In the second inning Gallardo gave up a leadoff double to Brandon Drury. Then wth two outs and Drury still on second, Jean Segura hit a fly ball to right field that a competent right fielder would have caught it for the third out. But the Orioles don’t have a competent right fielder, they have Mark Trumbo. The ball bounced off of his glove right in front of the scoreboard for a double. Drury came in to score the second run.
After that Gallardo settled in and pitched four scoreless innings. He was far from perfect, but he pitched well enough for the Orioles to win if they could have just scored some runs off of Shelby Freaking Miller.
Shelby Freaking Miller
If you’re not familiar with Shelby Miller, let me give you some background. He has history as a good young pitcher, but this season he has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball. He came into tonight with a 6.90 ERA. He hadn’t had a scoreless outing all year until tonight. He stinks.
Miller looked like the guy I expected in the first inning. He walked two, gave up a single, and Chris Davis came about a foot from hitting a three-run homer off of him. Pedro Alvarez let Miller off the hook when he came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded and let himself be called out on strikes.
After that, the Orioles decided to treat Miller like he was Clayton Kershaw. It was awful. Their second big chance came in the sixth inning, Miller’s last. With one out Chris Davis walked and Trumbo doubled to put two runners in scoring position for Alvarez. Again Alvarez choked, popping out in foul territory. Jonathan Schoop, who looked terrible at the plate tonight, flew out to end the inning.
With Cy Miller out of the game the Orioles were finally able to put a few runs on the board via, of course, the dinger. Look, these guys hit dingers. They need to just accept who they are (more on that later).
With two outs in the eighth inning, Alvarez came to the plate. Unlike other at-bats tonight, there was no one on base. Also unlike other at-bats, Alvarez didn’t make an out. Instead he hit a solo home run onto the flag court. Where was that with runners on base, Pedro?
That made the score 2-1, and the D-Backs brought in their closer, Daniel Hudson. Hudson did not hold the lead for long as the first batter of the night, Matt Wieters, Alvarez in the dong party. Dong, party of two! Anyway, that tied the game and what happened after that was some of the craziest stuff I’ve seen on the field in awhile.
Crazy Stuff on the Field
After the Wieters home run, J.J. Hardy singled to put the winning run on base. Next up in the lineup was Hyun Soo Kim. It seemed perfect. It was his t-shirt night, after all, he should get the chance to hit a walk off! But no. Instead Buck Showalter pinch hit for him with Michael Bourn, which I’m sorry makes no sense.
Bourn immediately confirmed that it was a bad decision by popping up his bunt for the first out. What a waste of Kim! Hudson, who didn’t seem all that interested in winning the game, then threw a wild pitch that got Hardy to second base anyway. Adam Jones singled and third base coach Bobby Dickerson waved him home despite that fact that Hardy is slow and it looked like the throw would beat him by a mile.
The throw did beat him, but there was some confusion about if the catcher had possession of the ball and also did the catcher block the plate. They never seem to call that blocking the plate rule consistently, but it looked to me like Hardy had no lane. Showalter challenged and Hardy was called out. Ok then.
Still, there was a runner on second and two outs (Jones moved up on the throw), so a single to the right place could get the job done. Hudson lost the strike zone and walked Machado, then sad Chris Davis struck out to end the inning.
The O’s had another chance to score in the 11th and again the bunting monster took over. Wieters singled and then Hardy bunted him over. Hardy? Bunting? What was going on!? The D-Backs made an error on the play so that Hardy was safe, which meant that now Bourn was free to also bunt them over, which he did.
That put runners on second and third with one out, and again Machado and Davis couldn’t do anything to get the runner in.
That brought us to the 12th inning, which is when Trumbo said, "Screw bunts" and hit his 44th homer of the year to end the game.
So, not the cleanest game in the world. But a win is a win and hopefully tomorrow they’ll get back out there and have a solid victory that leaves us feeling good about the team.