For the first time in 11 days, the Orioles are winners once again. In a somewhat surprising pitcher’s duel, the Birds got back into the win column with a 2-1 victory over the Mets at Citi Field on Tuesday night.
It sure looked like the Orioles offense was going to beat up on New York starter Jason Vargas and his 8.53 ERA in the first inning. Trey Mancini, Adam Jones and Manny Machado jumped on him for three straight singles to begin the game, scoring a run before Vargas even recorded an out. Danny Valencia doubled the lead with a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the good guys a 2-0 lead.
Birds strike first.#Birdland pic.twitter.com/oFVksor6LR— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 5, 2018
But you’ve been around these parts long enough to know what happens next. This Orioles team has not been capable of putting away opponents with their offense. Instead, the bats tend to just disappear, and that is exactly what happened again here.
Things started brightly in the second inning with a Chris Davis lead-off walk followed by Austin Wynns’ first major league hit! An Alex Cobb sacrifice bunt moved the pair up a base each. Trey Mancini followed with a ground ball up the middle, which was gobbled up by second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and thrown home to nab Davis trying to score. Adam Jones flew out to end the inning.
Austin Wynns just got his first major league hit ... and his mom absolutely loved it. pic.twitter.com/nJpr2FoXPk— Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) June 5, 2018
After those first two innings, the O’s had just three more baserunners (two singles, one walk) the rest of the game against Vargas, Seth Lugo and Anthony Swarzak. Two double plays in the eighth and ninth innings put an end to any chance at a rally.
Most nights, that would spell disaster for this team. But the Baltimore pitching staff stepped up and had one of their rare, all-around solid evenings. It all started with, well, the starter.
Cobb hit his peak (so far) as an Oriole tonight. Over six innings, he allowed just the one run on two hits, a walk and seven strikeouts. The only trouble he had all night came in that fifth inning when he allowed the run.
Jay Bruce led off with a single and moved to third on a Kevin Plawecki double. Cobb was able to limit the damage, though. After inducing Adrian Gonzalez into a shallow fly out, Jose Bautista brought Bruce home on a long sacrifice fly to left field. That is where the Mets scoring would stop. Cobb struck out Ahmed Rosario to end the inning.
Of the six innings that Cobb threw, he had four 1-2-3 innings. Apart from that tough fifth frame, his only other imperfect inning came back in the second when he issued a two-out walk to Plawecki. This Mets offense isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders right now, but Cobb looked legitimately good. He had his best stuff and was able to locate it. When that happens, just about any major league hitter is going to have a tough night at the plate.
The bullpen was able to take it from there, beginning with Mychal Givens. The side-armer was not super sharp as he allowed a single, a walk and unleashed another wild pitch over 1.1 innings, but he was able to work around it by striking out two. However, he left Richard Bleier with a bit of a mess in the eighth inning.
Bleier entered the game with one out and a runner on first. Things got dicey when Brandon Nimmo hit a chopper to Valencia at third base. Valencia’s throw pulled Davis off of the bag at first base. But the way in which Davis was positioned on the bag was questionable. The right-handed Davis had his left foot on the bag in an effort to keep any short throws in front of him. Unfortunately, Valencia’s throw was to Davis’ right and he was unable to stretch and maintain contact with the base.
All of that worrying was for naught as Bleier got Cabrera to hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
On came Brad Brach in the ninth inning for the save. A trio of pop-ups enabled the Orioles closer to work around the two-out walk he issued to Bruce and clinch the team’s first win in far too long.
These two teams will wrap up their quick two-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:10 p.m. ET in New York. Dylan Bundy (3-7, 4.46 ERA) will start for the O’s, and he will be opposed by righty Zach Wheeler (2-4, 5.14 ERA).
Who was the Most Birdland Player on Tuesday, June 5?
This poll is closed
Austin Wynns (MLB debut, first career hit)
Trey Mancini (only Oriole to get on base more than once)
Alex Cobb (W, 1 R, 2 H, 7 SO, 1 BB)
Mychal Givens (1.1 scoreless innings of relief)
Brad Brach (Closed out a long-awaited victory)
Richard Bleier (worked out of trouble in the eighth)