Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and in the same vein, even a baseball team stuck in a serious rut will win a game eventually. The Orioles managed to snap their five game losing streak on Saturday afternoon against the Twins, winning a 5-1 contest against the playoff-contending Twins.
You don’t even always have to be good to win a particular game. You just have to be good enough. So it was for the O’s on Saturday. Despite the fact that they picked up just seven hits, and despite the fact that Wade Miley allowed an average of nearly two baserunners per inning and couldn’t complete the sixth inning, the team was able to put together enough of a complete effort to win the game.
It was the Twins who first broke the 0-0 tie in the bottom of the third inning. Twins All-Star Miguel Sano blasted a hanging Miley changeup over the fence in left field in Target Field. Fortunately, the bases were empty when Miley hit the homer, so the Twins took just a 1-0 lead.
That lead did not last for long. The Orioles own All-Star, Jonathan Schoop, had something to say about the outcome of the game for himself. Schoop, who was actually the starting shortstop on Saturday, came up to bat with his buddy Manny Machado already on base. Machado extended a hitting streak to five games with his fourth inning single.
Twins started Adalberto Mejia made a mistake. Schoop did not miss. The shortstop-for-the-day walloped a Mejia pitch, a thunderous shot that O’s radio said made it up into the third deck of the left field seats. The Statcast estimated distance on the home run was 462 feet. That is a lot of home run.
Schoop’s team-leading 18th home run of the season, tied with Machado, of course, was good for two runs, giving the O’s a 2-1 lead.
This turned out to be all that the Orioles would need to win the game. Thankfully for the nerves of O’s fans who watched the blown 6-0 lead in the previous game, they did not stop scoring. The O’s brought two more runs across the plate in the sixth inning, starting with back-to-back doubles leading off the inning by Joey Rickard and Machado.
Machado eventually scored the fourth O’s run a bit later in the inning when Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar couldn’t come up with a hard grounder off the bat of Mark Trumbo that was hit right at Escobar. Had Escobar gloved it, he might have turned a double play. Had he at least gotten in front of it, he would have saved a run. Instead, Escobar was given an error, with Machado crossing the plate after the ball escaped into left field.
It was the bottom of the sixth inning where things got dicey. Miley got the first two outs of the inning before giving up a pair of singles, bringing the tying run to the plate. With Miley having thrown 107 pitches, manager Buck Showalter gave him the hook at this point, bringing in Darren O’Day, pitching in his third consecutive game.
O’Day kept everybody sweating when an inside pitch snuck in and hit Brian Dozier to load the bases full of Twins. O’Day escaped the mess by striking out Escobar to end the drama.
Miley ended up giving up eight hits and three walks in his 5.2 innings. The only extra-base hit he surrendered was Sano’s home run. Over the whole game, the Twins had just four chances with a runner in scoring position and they did not get a hit in any of them. That’ll work.
That just about did it for excitement in the game. Trumbo added a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning to increase the O’s lead to 5-1. Showalter called on Mychal Givens for two innings and Brad Brach for the ninth. Between the two of them, they allowed just one hit over the final three innings and they struck out three batters apiece.
Schoop was in predictably good spirits following the game, joking around with MASN’s Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer. He was full of laughter as he said that he told Machado during the game, “I’m the shortstop, I’m the captain.” It was Schoop’s first ever MLB start at shortstop. He recorded assists on six groundouts. I didn’t get to see much of the game, so I can’t tell you how he looked.
Why was Schoop the starter at short, you ask? The Orioles wanted to get second baseman Johnny Giavotella, who was hitting well at Norfolk, into the lineup, so that bumped Schoop over to short, where he did play some in the minors.
Giavotella went 0-4 in the game. He was hardly the only hitless Oriole. Though Rickard and Machado each had multi-hit games, the 3-9 hitters combined to go just 3-25. You might not think that would be good for a win.
Most of the time it’s probably not good enough, especially with how the Orioles rotation has been pitching. But two of the three hits were home runs, Miley was back at his successful Houdini act, and for one day at least, it worked out.
One last game awaits on Sunday before the four-day All-Star break sets in. We could all use a break from the Orioles, though we might be singing a different tune when the boredom sets in on Thursday night. Ubaldo Jimenez and Kyle Gibson are the scheduled starting pitchers for another 2:10 contest. Chris Tillman may pitch out of the bullpen.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for July 8, 2017?
This poll is closed
Manny Machado (2-4, extended hitting streak)
Jonathan Schoop (18th HR in first MLB start at SS)
Mychal Givens (2 scoreless IP, 3 SO)