The Orioles and Reds faced off in another unlikely pitchers duel, this one featuring Wade Miley and Scott Feldman. Neither is expected to shut down an opposing lineups, and yet that’s what both did. Miley was better than Feldman, but both allowed one run and did not factor in the final decision.
The Orioles offense was frustrating for most of the game but ultimately came through in the end with a very timely hit from J.J. Hardy.
Wade Miley had an outstanding night that the O’s hitters unfortunately did not support. He worked quickly, he was efficient with his pitches, and the Reds hitters did not know what to do with him. It was really nice to see.
After three perfect innings in which Miley recorded three strike outs and four ground ball outs, Joey Votto got the first hit of the game for the Reds. Unfortunately for Miley and the Orioles it was a home run. Miley missed his spot by just a little and Votto made him pay.
That home run tied the game at one, but Miley went right back to work. He faced the minimum number of batters in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, allowing just a walk which was erased on a double play ball.
With one out in the eighth inning, Zach Cozart it a double to left-center field. That felt like the go ahead run to me, but Miley proved me wrong. He struck out the next two batters to end the inning and his fabulous night.
Miley’s final pitching line was 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K. Just a great starting performance for the second straight night.
Futility Against Feldman (Plus TOOTBLANS!)
Just as the Orioles should have done much better against Bronson Arroyo in game one than they did, they should have scored more than one run off of Scott Feldman. But alas, that’s all they could muster.
The first hit of the game for either team came from Jonathan Schoop in the second inning. With two outs Schoop launched a very Schoop-like home run to left field that gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. It’s the kind of dinger I’d expect the Orioles to hit off of Feldman.
But instead of adding more to it, the Orioles just stopped hitting. They did have a few runners on base, but in two instances those guys ran themselves off the bases.
There was a peculiar play in the third inning after Manny Machado hit a one-out single. Chris Davis followed with a line drive that looked at first like it was caught just off of first base. Manny dove back to first as Eugenio Suarez fired to second base, then the ball came back to first just as Davis crossed the bag. Someone was out, but who?
Both Davis and Machado stood at first as the umpires conferred. Ultimately they decided that the line drive was caught and dropped on transfer, which meant that Davis was out and Machado got to stay at first.
Manny rewarded that decision by getting thrown out at third on the very next play, a single to right field by Mark Trumbo. Well done.
A second TOOTBLAN (that’s Thrown Out On The Bases Like A Nincompoop to the uninitiated) came in the very next inning. J.J. Hardy hit a ball to center field that Billy Hamilton came too far in on and it flew over his head. For reasons that are a mystery to everyone, Hardy thought he could turn that gift double into a triple. He was thrown out by a mile.
Luckily Hardy would make up for it later in the game, although if he hadn’t done that maybe they wouldn’t have needed to be a hero later, but let’s not dwell.
Hardy’s Late-Inning Heroics
With the starters out of the game and the score still tied, both team’s bullpens looked very good. I don’t have much experience watching Raisel Iglesias pitch but he looked nasty tonight. In two innings pitched he struck out five Orioles and looked dominant doing so. Only Hyun Soo Kim was able to reach against him, working a one-out walk in the ninth that went nowhere.
After Darren O’Day pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings, the Reds sent Blake Wood to the mound to try and hold the score. Wood got Davis, who looked bad all night at the plate, then walked Trumbo. Could Schoop hit another home run to put the Orioles ahead? Well...no. He grounded out to the pitcher with Trumbo moving to second base.
That set the stage for Hardy, who quickly went down in the count 0-2. After fouling off a few pitches he lined a single to left-center field. Trumbo got a great jump and slid in ahead of the tag to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. When asked in the postgame interview with MASN what his approach was in that at-bat, Hardy said he just wanted to keep from striking out.
With that, the Orioles turned to their interim closer Brad Brach, who looked just as good (if not better) than their regular closer who is currently injured. Brach’s perfect inning sealed the win and gave the Orioles a 2-1 series win and 6-3 record on the road trip.
Who is the Most Birdland Player for Thursday, April 20th?
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Wade Miley (8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K)
J.J. Hardy (game-winning hit)