In the more than seven months since the Orioles traded Yovani Gallardo to the Mariners for Seth Smith, there have been multiple occasions where I've found myself grinning, simply swept up with glee at the idea that the O's actually traded Gallardo for a real, functional, different baseball player.
I mention this at the start of this recap because the Orioles, playing the Mariners on Monday night, encountered Gallardo as an opponent rather than as a teammate. I don't know how he was in the clubhouse and all of that - a great guy, for all I know. But he was never good and he spent most of the year looking like a disastrous signing. And still, despite that, Dan Duquette was able to trade him for Smith.
Gallardo looked like every bit of the Orioles version of himself on Monday night, unfortunately for him. He has spent most of the season looking like that. After the Orioles smoked him for a whopping eight runs in four innings, Gallardo now sports a 5.84 ERA for the season. It's not an accident. He never had a chance, and by extension, neither did the Mariners, who were sunk almost from the get-go in an 11-3 O's win.
This whipping is one that the Orioles sorely needed to administer in order to help their wild card standing. With the win, they gain a full game on both the Mariners and the Rays, passing each of them in the chase for the second wild card spot. The O's also gained a half-game on the idle Angels and Twins. They're now two games back of the Angels, with three teams standing in their way.
It's hard not to be in a good mood about a game where the Orioles pounded out 16 hits worth of offense against a wild card foe. It's just as hard to stave off the happiness about a game in which the Orioles starter, Kevin Gausman, held the Mariners offense to just two runs in seven innings of work. If he keeps that up, his season ERA is going to end up dropping below 5!
I'd like to say that the Orioles took control of this game from the very beginning, but that's not quite true. The game did start off great, mind you: Swaggy T himself, Tim Beckham, swung at the first pitch Gallardo threw in the game and blasted it over the fence in right field to give the Orioles an early 1-0 lead. This was Beckham's 16th home run of the year, and already his fourth as an Oriole.
The dominant Gausman who cruised through seven innings was not quite evident immediately, though. The bottom of the first inning got underway with the Mariners erasing that lead in two batters: Jean Segura and then Yonder "Manny's brother-in-law" Alonso delivered back-to-back doubles. Another single plus an error left Gausman facing a second and third, none out situation.
Here Gausman battened down the hatches and rode out the storm. He picked up a pair of strikeouts, including former Oriole Nelson Cruz, then ended the inning with a groundout. This escape was an impressive one and more importantly, one that Gausman has not made in many other games this season.
It was the second inning where the Orioles really blew a hole in the Mariners' hull. From there, they never looked back. The O's second was a "six runs on six hits" kind of inning, capped by a glorious Manny Machado grand slam. This was Machado's 23rd home run of the season.
Gausman had mostly smooth sailing the whole rest of the way after the first inning. This was not a "pad his league lead in WHIP" game for Gausman. The Mariners got to him for just six hits and a walk in seven innings, with Gausman striking out six batters. They scored the second run off of him when catcher Mike Zunino led off the fifth inning with a solo shot.
In all, the Orioles hit four home runs in the game. Smith also hit a home run, although it wasn't off Gallardo. That would have been too perfect. It was his 12th homer of the season. Trey Mancini also put some wind into the Orioles' sails with his 21st dinger of the year. Mancini is still sailing on towards possibly challenging the O's rookie home run record, held by Cal Ripken Jr., who hit 28 in 1982.
Every O's starter except for Caleb Joseph got a hit in the game. Beckham and Chris Davis both picked up three hits in the game, while Machado, Smith, Jonathan Schoop, and Adam Jones all had multi-hit games.
How good of a game was it? It was the kind of game where in the fourth inning, MASN's Gary Thorne was singing showtunes, egged on by his partner-in-crime, Jim Palmer. If Thorne's singing from Man of La Mancha it's either a very good game or a very bad one, and this one was certainly a good one.
The O's and Mariners will be back in action on Tuesday night in Seattle, with the Orioles having another chance to get themselves back to a .500 record. Wade Miley and Andrew Albers are scheduled to take the mound in the 10:10 contest.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 14?
This poll is closed
Seth Smith (is not Yovani Gallardo)
Manny Machado (GRAND SLAM, BABY!)
Kevin Gausman (seven strong innings)
Chris Davis (three hits in the #7 spot)