With the return of football season, there will be a lot of talk about which team is favored and by how many points. Now that sports gambling laws are entering the 21st century, you’ll likely hear a bit more about spreads and totals. Who knows, maybe you’ll even win a buck or two.
Texas scored six runs before the first out in the first inning, and the Rangers cruised to a 9-4 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
Aaron Brooks started for Baltimore and simply did not have it tonight. He plunked Shin-Soo Choo to start the game, walked Elvis Andrus, and allowed a single to Willie Calhoun that loaded the bases.
Nick Solak turned a slider around and hit it right back to Brooks, but Brooks could not field the ball cleanly. Brooks was able to collect the ball and fire it to home plate, but the ball sailed past the catcher to give Texas its first run of the game.
I really wish I could stop here. You know how this game is going... Danny Santana took advantage of the RBI-opportunity with a two-run single to left field. The Birds trailed by three runs before recording an out. It got worse.
Rougned Odor absolutely blasted a 2-2 slider onto the flag court to give the Rangers a 6-0 lead. The homer came right after a trip to the mound by Orioles pitching coach Doug Brocail. Whatever he said, he should have said something else.
To their credit, the Orioles answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Jonathan Villar led off with a single, Trey Mancini reached on an error, and Anthony Santander drove in Baltimore’s first run with a single to right field.
Dwight Smith Jr. worked a walk before Mancini came around to score on a wild pitch by Texas starter Jonathan Hernandez. Rookie outfielder Mason Williams came through with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit in half.
The bats cooled in the second, but Texas snuck out a run in the top of the third. After a double play erased a leadoff single, Odor lined a two-out double to center field. Delino Deshields singled up the middle to drive in Odor.
Brandon Hyde had seen enough, and Chandler Shepherd entered to record the third out of the inning.
Shepherd, who spent a majority of this season with Boston and Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliates, pitched a scoreless fourth and fifth before running into trouble in the sixth. Deshields singled up the middle with one out, and Ronald Guzman followed with a soft single to left field.
Unfortunately, Guzman’s single trickled right under the glove of Dwight Smith Jr. and Deshields motored all the way home to make it 8-3. Jeff Mathis doubled home Guzman to cap the scoring for the game.
Baltimore’s offense really struggled after the first inning. Yohander Méndez, who picked up his first win of the season, struck out six Oriole batters in only 2.1 innings. Baltimore struck out 13 times, and never stood a chance after the early deficit.
You’re not going to win many games when you plunk the lead off hitter and walk the second batter of the game. You’re definitely not going to win if you allow six runs to score before recording an out. Pair that start with three errors, and you end up with a 9-4 loss at home.
The high note of the game had to be the appearance of Austin Hays in Baltimore. The Orioles were able to promote Hays after a recent rule change regarding the Arizona Fall League. Now, Hays can play in Baltimore this month and still get at bats in the AFL come October.
Hays struck out in his only two at bats after pinch hitting for Williams in the sixth, but he made a slick diving catch in center field. Hays will certainly be in consideration for the Orioles center field job next season, and it’s nice knowing he can handle a glove out there.
The Orioles will finish up the weekend series against Texas tomorrow afternoon with Asher Wojciechowski on the mound. If Wojciechowski can toss a clean first inning, he’ll already be ahead of Brooks. Maybe we should all just watch football for a day.