Everyone knows from The Wire that in Baltimore, the gods will not save you. That still leaves Welington Castillo. The Orioles catcher had a night to remember on Wednesday night with a go-ahead grand slam that helped snap the Orioles six-game losing streak, and eleven-game road losing streak, in a 10-6 victory over the White Sox.
Finally! It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy but finally, the Orioles won a game. They have avoided sliding into last place in the division, since the Blue Jays were also winners on Wednesday, and they have pulled back up to .500, at least for now. Chris Tillman pitches on Thursday, which is its own problem the Orioles will have to deal with later on. For now, they are winners.
This game against the White Sox had enough of its share of problems as it is. Until Castillo hit his grand slam, the version of this recap that was composed in my head started off with the same quote followed with, “Neither will Dylan Bundy.” Any time you look at the scoreboard in the second inning and the starter has allowed five runs, you have to wince a little bit.
The contractual early inning disaster
Unlike the Beatles, Bundy did not get a little help from his friends in this game. Although he was tagged with the five runs - four earned - on his final line, Bundy deserved better than what he got. In the early innings of the game, the defense, particularly second baseman Jonathan Schoop, was playing for the Benny Hill highlight reel.
The White Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning on two singles and a walk. The second of the singles was a ball that Schoop should have fielded and it was called a hit. Two runs scored after this. To be sure, Bundy allowed Tim Anderson to hit the two-run single, but he shouldn’t have been in that situation.
The O’s pulled the deficit back to 2-1 with back-to-back doubles by Trey Mancini and Schoop to start off the top of the second. Despite still having a runner on second and nobody out, the Orioles were not able to push any more runs across.
That led to the bottom of the second inning where the Orioles seemed like they were in full on meltdown mode. Bundy gave up a leadoff dinger to Matt Davidson. Problems continued for Bundy as he hit a batter, then served up a run-scoring single to Melky Cabrera.
On this play, a Schoop throwing error left Cabrera on third base, where he was able to score on a sacrifice fly. That was the unearned run. The inning continued after a Manny Machado throwing error. It was wet in Chicago, with the game having been delayed by more than an hour and a half before it began, but that’s no excuse for MLBers. The Orioles losing 22 of their last 32 games has had many such plays at its root.
Everything seemed bleak and hopeless, for a couple of innings, at least. Bundy stabilized and ended up getting through five innings without allowing any more runs,. Some nights, that’s the best you can get and you have to live with it and hope the offense scores some runs. Luckily, they did.
The O’s offense gets its chances
Facing off against former Oriole Miguel Gonzalez, the O’s loaded the bases with no one out in the fourth inning. Castillo hit a grounder to third base that goes down in the scorecard as a fielder’s choice where no out was recorded. Thanks for the free run, White Sox defense.
Two quick outs left you fearing the Orioles were going to blow the chance, but never fear, Hyun Soo Kim is here - sometimes, when Buck Showalter actually plays him. Kim singled to drive in two runs and leave the O’s trailing, 5-4. Castillo got caught in a rundown after the throw was cut off, ending the inning.
The O’s were back for more in the top of the fifth. It took until there were two outs to get a rally started. Mark Trumbo and Mancini each singled, the third time on base in the game for Mancini. A walk to Schoop loaded the bases for Castillo, who never, MASN’s Gary Thorne reminded us, had hit a grand slam in his career.
Castillo changed all of that with one swing of the bat, hammering a 1-1 pitch into the hedges beyond the center field fence in the ridiculously-named Chicago stadium. Just like that, the Orioles were on top, 8-5.
Gonzalez was charged with all eight runs in just five innings pitched. Lest anyone spend any time regretting Gonzalez not being on this year’s Orioles, his ERA now sits at 5.49.
That grand slam was all the Orioles would need, although they got more runs for good measure. A J.J. Hardy leadoff double started a sixth inning rally that saw Adam Jones and Mancini both drive in runs. That was Mancini’s third hit of the night. The Orioles held a 10-5 lead. Surely even for the battered O’s bullpen, that would be enough, right?
No bullpen drama tonight
The answer is yes. Mike Wright pitched two scoreless innings, helped out by a line drive double play. He was followed by Mychal Givens, who threw a 1-2-3 eighth and was tasked with finishing up the ninth, too, due to a low pitch count of 13.
Nothing can come too easily for the O’s. Givens gave up a home run to pinch hitter Alen Hanson to lead off the ninth. That was Hanson’s first career MLB homer in 97 plate appearances. It’s been that kind of series.
When Jose Abreu singled with two out, Showalter summoned Brad Brach for the last out. It was not a save situation since the tying run was not yet on deck. Still, no more messing around. Avisail Garcia lined out to center field and the game was over.
A win is a win. The Yankees lost, so the O’s even pick up a game in the division and are 6.5 games back, for whatever that matters. Maybe they can split the series in an afternoon contest on Thursday. Tillman starts for the O’s in the 2:10 game against White Sox lefty David Holmberg.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for June 14, 2017?
This poll is closed
Welington Castillo (GRAND FREAKIN’ SALAMI)
Trey Mancini (3-4, double, walk, three runs scored)