It’s safe to say the Orioles need to go on a significant run to end June with a respectable record. Things certainly aren’t perfect in Birdland, but Saturday’s win against the Cardinals was a step in the right direction to carve out a promising path moving forward.
Below, the details of a winning Saturday afternoon at Camden Yards.
The game’s start continued the trend of simply disappointing early sequences for the Orioles, as Wade Miley’s command wasn’t nearly where it needed to be in the top of the first. After walking a pair of Cardinals, St. Louis got on the board first via a play that fit the Orioles’ recent narrative rather perfectly.
Miley induced a Yadier Molina ground ball that looked like it would end the inning, but the “routine” play for Jonathan Schoop at second was anything but routine. The view of the ball might’ve been blocked by the second-base umpire, but Schoop couldn’t field the ball cleanly and it went right through into center. It scored Matt Carpenter, the leadoff walk, to give the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead.
Fortunately, despite Miley’s early difficulties, it took just 11 Adam Wainwright pitches for the Orioles to re-claim the lead.
Adam Jones started the Orioles scoring in the bottom of the first by crushing a hanging curveball out of the park to left field, an at-bat followed by Mark Trumbo producing the same result on a ball to center. Trumbo’s blast barely snuck above the glove of the leaping Dexter Fowler, hit just far enough to give the Orioles back-to-back HRs.
How’s that for an eventful first inning?
Miley quickly retired the Cardinals in the top of the second and set the Orioles offense up to attach even more crooked numbers to Wainwright’s line. And on an afternoon in which the St. Louis starter didn’t have his best stuff, the members of the O’s lineup had no issues taking matters into their own hands early and continuously.
With runners on the corners with one out following a Jonathan Schoop single and a Welington Castillo walk, J.J. Hardy gut-punched the Cardinals on a 1-2 curveball on the heart of the plate. He waited and stung the pitch into the left-center gap, plating a pair of runs. That made it 4-1 Orioles, but the nightmare inning was far from over for Wainwright.
With two outs, Machado hit a line drive 113 miles per hour that was gone as soon as it left the bat. It got into the bullpen in the blink of an eye, giving the Birds a 6-1 lead that would kick off the offense’s two-out rally. Wainwright hit Adam Jones and allowed a single to Trumbo before the red-hot Trey Mancini would have his turn.
In his AB, Boom-Boom laced a double that, like Hardy’s shot, rolled all the way to the outfield wall. That scored both Jones and Trumbo, gave the Orioles their seventh hit of the afternoon and sent Wainwright to the dugout for one very early exit.
Tyler Lyons was brought on to finish the inning, which he would ultimately do but not before a ninth earned run was tacked onto Wainwright’s final line. Schoop singled for the second time in the inning, scoring Mancini and advancing the Orioles lead to 9-1.
It was a seven-run frame for the Orioles, an inning that provided Miley with plenty of run support to rely upon for the rest of his outing.
The middle innings weren’t ideal — Paul DeJong hit a two-run homer in the fourth, Molina went yard for a solo shot in the fifth — but Miley persevered and gave Buck Showalter 5.2 of work that appeared as though would be enough to let the bullpen handle the rest of the game with limited stress.
The Birds scored three runs in the fourth inning (including a Schoop HR) that made the score 12-4 when Miley exited. Unfortunately however, Alec Asher’s entrance to finish the sixth inning did anything but boost confidence at Oriole Park.
Immediately, Fowler took a 2-2 fastball and launched it to left-center, a three-run home run that effectively ruined any chance that Miley would have a respectable line. The 12-7 Oriole lead would be held after a few more missteps by Asher and a walk from Richard Bleier, as Mychal Givens saved the day and recorded a strikeout to end the inning with the bases loaded.
It’s never easy for this team, even with an early 9-1 lead.
The panic meter was set high for a short time, but Schoop’s solo HR and Hardy’s RBI double in the seventh helped ease the concern and provide a late seven-run cushion that was fairly safe. With the Ravens up by a touchdown, (you didn’t think you could leave without a football score joke, did you?) it was smooth sailing to the finish line.
A passed ball scored Trey Mancini in the eighth, an icing-on-the-cake run to wrap up the win in game two of the three-game weekend set.
With the win, the Orioles move to 33-34 and sit in sole possession of fourth place in the AL East. Tampa Bay is just one game ahead, and the Yankees’ Saturday loss puts the Orioles 5.5 games back of the division leader. There’s ground to make up, but this win against St. Louis certainly doesn’t hurt.
Tomorrow, it’s Ubaldo Jimenez taking the hill against Lance Lynn at 1:35 p.m ET.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Saturday, June 17?
This poll is closed
Jonathan Schoop (4-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI)
Manny Machado (2-5, HR, double, 2 RBI)
Mychal Givens (2.1 scoreless IP)