Thank the old gods and the new, the Orioles are back on track. Wade Miley pitched a gem (not a joke). The offense hit a pair of dongs. Camden Yards was packed. Maybe you got a nice sweatshirt. And the Birds beat the Diamondbacks 6-1 to win the series and get back into a wild card spot. This was a good Saturday night.
Let’s just get right to it: Wade Miley was fantastic. His line: 8.2 innings, one run, seven hits, no walks and 11 freakin’ strikeouts. He got into a few jams throughout the game but was always able to get himself out of it. And at one point, had retired 12 consecutive batters.
I’ll admit it, I have been a Miley hater since he came to Baltimore at the end of July. He has been terrible, but this was a big game and against a team that, yes overall is bad, but they have a few pretty darn good hitters.
Miley did a great job of mixing speeds, locating his fastball and burying that curveball in perfect spots. It was a pitching clinic in which he took a shutout into the ninth inning. On top of that, he works so quick and it is fun to watch when he is going well. This game took just two hours and 36 minutes.
Arizona’s one run came in that ninth inning. Paul Goldschmidt singled and then Brandon Drury doubled off the right field scoreboard to bring him around. Tyler Wilson then came in to get Kyle Jenson to fly out on two pitches.
On top of that, Miley was also caught on MASN’s cameras giving the Arizona dugout a one-finger salute near the end of the game. Not to worry, that is the organization he came up through the minors with, so he probably has a lot of buds over there.
Oh yeah, offense
The Orioles lineup scored early and often in this one, taking a lead in the first inning and never looking back.
In fact, it took just three hitters for the O’s to go ahead; Adam Jones walked and then Chris Davis and Manny Machado delivered back-to-back singles, making it 1-0 Birds. But the rest of the inning was frustrating. Mark Trumbo worked a walk to load the bases with no outs. But rookie Trey Mancini followed with a strikeout and then the ice-cold Jonathan Schoop grounded into a double play back to the pitcher to kill the inning.
The lead would be doubled in the second inning after Matt Wieters led off with a double, which right fielder Yasmany Tomas flubbed to allow Wieters to reach third. Not gonna lie, I walked away from the television and didn’t see the error, but it had to be pretty bad for the iron-footed Wieters to get three bases. Anyway, J.J. Hardy brought him home a moment later on a sacrifice fly to left field. Woo! A two-run lead!
The fourth inning is where the Orioles pretty much sealed the win. Mancini led off with another home run, his third since coming to the bigs earlier this week. This guy can hit a little bit.
A Wieters double, Hardy walk and Jones intentional walk loaded the bases for Davis. A few days ago, this would have been an inning-ending pop out. Instead, Crush smoked a single up the middle to score Wieters and Hardy, making it a five-run advantage.
Mark Trumbo put a cherry on top of the game with a solo dong in the fifth inning, giving the O's their sixth and final run.
That’s all great. The O’s scored their most runs in nine days (a 7-6 loss to the Rays on September 15). But they should have had even more. They blew the bases loaded with no outs in the first inning and then did it again in the seventh inning as Schoop struck out AGAIN and Wieters hit into a double play AGAIN. Schoop is especially cold. He is now 0-for-13 in his last three games.
Back in it
But this isn’t a night for negativity. The Orioles won and with the Tigers loss earlier today means the Birds are back in the driver’s seat when it comes to the second wild card spot. They lead Detroit by a half game for that last playoff spot.
And the fans showed up. No, it wasn’t a sellout, but the attendance number was 40,610. Imagine that, a Saturday night, non-prime, giveaway game the night after a walk-off win. The fans want to support this team. They, along with the marketing department, just have to give them a reason to.
The O’s go for the sweep tomorrow. It would be nice to get it as they wrap up the slate of games at Oriole Park for the regular season and head into a tough road trip. Dylan Bundy (9-6, 4.13 ERA) is on the mound for the Birds. He will be opposed by righty Braden Shipley (4-4, 5.49). First pitch is 1:35.