The Orioles were present for a bit of history on Sunday afternoon as Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre picked up the 3,000th hit of his MLB career. Then, after Beltre and the Rangers and all of their fans got to feel good about that, the O’s offense showed up and ran the table for a while, racking up enough of a margin that they were able to hold on even when the Rangers pulled it back a bit later. The O’s eventually won, 10-6.
It’s too bad the Orioles don’t get to keep playing the Rangers. The seven games they’ve played this month against the team from Texas have helped to at least somewhat arrest the seemingly endless cycle of negative momentum. Alas, starting tomorrow, they will have to start beating different, probably better teams.
If back in March you allowed yourself to imagine a potentially successful Orioles season, it probably looked a little something like this. The Sunday afternoon win added a potent offensive output to some acceptable starting pitching by Wade Miley. Why can’t it be like that every game? I think we all know why. But it was fun for today’s sake.
The O’s and Rangers traded scoreless, unremarkable innings through three. The O’s had just two hits by the end of three innings, with one of them immediately being erased by Oriole for probably a day Craig Gentry getting caught stealing. Miley allowed just one hit early on and struck out five of the first eight Rangers.
It was in the fourth inning that things started getting interesting. Like the gigantic brawl in Anchorman, things really got out of hand fast for the Rangers. Manny Machado led off the inning with a double, and almost before you could blink, the Orioles added to that a walk and then three straight run-scoring singles. Trey Mancini, Chris Davis, and Welington Castillo all collected RBIs in this sequence.
Runners advanced on a Joey Rickard fly out, giving Davis the chance to score on a Ruben Tejada groundout. Just like that, the Orioles were up, 4-0. A nice lead, if not exactly a commanding lead, especially with Miley, the MLB leader in WHIP, pitching for the Orioles.
Whether the concept of a “shutdown inning” - that is, a pitcher putting up a zero the next inning after his team scores some runs - has any meaning is something that can be debated. What’s not debatable is that the Orioles are pretty bad at getting them. Or at least, it feels that way. Sure enough, Miley followed up this four-run outburst by giving some runs back.
It all started with a walk issued to Nomar Mazara with one out. That brought Beltre, on the cusp of history, up to the plate. The Rangers fans all got up on their feet. Beltre didn’t let them down, as after working a 3-0 count, with the fans booing that Miley might walk Beltre, he ripped a double down the left field line.
The game briefly stopped at this point for a celebration of Beltre becoming the 31st player in MLB history to collect 3,000 hits. He was congratulated by teammates and by Orioles players, with Adam Jones taking the chance to touch Beltre’s head (he doesn’t like that.) Additionally, Beltre’s children came out onto the field to unveil a design on the outfield fences celebrating Beltre’s accomplishment. This was pretty cool to see.
Miley nearly escaped this jam, but with two outs, Rougned Odor grounded a ball against the shift that snuck into center field. With Machado having to play near third base due to the runner there, and shallow to boot, there was a large hole. Odor’s ground ball found it. Luck or skill? Maybe a little of both. Either way, the Orioles lead was cut to 4-2.
The O’s were not done scoring. This proved to be crucial later on. They kept piling it on against Rangers starter Martin Perez in the fifth inning. With one out, Machado singled, putting himself on base for his good buddy Jonathan Schoop. You know who’s good this year? Schoop! He took Perez deep, Schoop’s 24th home run of the season, driving in two more runs for the O’s.
Just for good measure - also important later - they kept the party going. Mancini followed by drawing a walk, then Davis added a single. That chased Perez from the game. New reliever Jeremy Jeffress was greeted by Welington Castillo in the old Earl Weaver style. That is, he gave up a three run home run. This was Castillo’s tenth homer of the season and it gave the Orioles a 9-2 lead.
That should have been the end of the game having any real drama. Should have been, because the middle of the Orioles bullpen can always make things exciting. This was almost single-handedly accomplished by the Bautista-puncher himself, Odor.
The Rangers second baseman hit a solo shot off of Darren O’Day in the sixth inning. Although O’Day struck out the side, he’s now sitting with a 4.91 ERA. Not what you want to see with two years left on the contract after this. In the eighth, Miguel Castro allowed another homer to Mazara, then got into a little more trouble.
The O’s summoned lefty Donnie Hart to match up against Odor... who promptly hit a three-run homer to cut the Orioles lead to 10-6. Close enough to get Zach Britton into the game in the ninth, especially with scouts wanting to see him pitch back-to-back games? You’d think so, particularly when Hart walked the leadoff man in the ninth.
However, manager Buck Showalter thought differently. He brought in Mychal Givens, who got one out before hitting a batter. With the tying run on deck, it was finally a save situation and finally, in Buck’s estimation, Britton time. Show off for the scouts, baby!
Britton struck out Mazara before getting Mr. 3000, Beltre, to ground out to end the game. Let’s hope that was enough to convince everybody to trade their best prospect(s) for Britton - if the Orioles end up trading him. This is the last game before the deadline, so whatever’s going to happen, there won’t be anything new in a game to change people’s minds.
It was the 13 hits for the Orioles that really made the difference. Six different Orioles had multi-hit games, including a three-hit game from Machado. Offense is fun.
The Orioles head back to Baltimore to take on the Royals starting on Monday night. The O’s will send Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound for the 7:05 contest, with the Royals countering with Danny Duffy. The O’s will come into this series trailing the Royals by 5.5 games for the second wild card spot.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for July 30, 2017?
This poll is closed
Jonathan Schoop (2-4, 24th home run of the season)
Welington Castillo (2-4, HR, 4 RBI)
Trey Mancini (2-4, walk)
Zach Britton (saved last game as an Oriole?)