With every team decorating their home ballpark seats differently this year, it’s interesting to observe the unique setup in each city. Tonight I noticed that the Phillies have the most cardboard cut-outs of any Orioles’ opponent I’ve seen so far this season.
For me personally, it’s just eerie to have fake fans — with awkward white outlines surrounding their heads and bodies — filling the stadium. And why didn’t anyone bother taking the time to clip the images properly? I would just as soon prefer empty seats. Nothing against folks who like the cut-outs, but that’s just my opinion.
Zack Wheeler, the Phils right-hander who signed a five-year, $118 million contract this offseason, came out throwing gas this evening. He was blowing the ball past O’s hitters in the first, working in the 97-98 mph range at the outset. By the third inning, Wheeler’s velocity would drop off a bit into the 94-96 mph range.
Two outs were logged quickly in the top of the first by Wheeler, but the O’s worked him for a couple base runners before he could get out of the inning. Baltimore would continue to get runners on base in the early going but failed to bring anyone home until past the midway point of the game.
In the second inning, Austin Hays was picked off first base after reaching on a single. The end of the inning found Chris Davis stranded at first after he lined a single up the middle.
Cobb was cruising through the Phils’ lineup early with 19 pitches in his first two innings. Oddly enough, seven of those pitches came in one at-bat against Jean Segura in the bottom of the second.
On the other side, Wheeler didn’t have his first 1-2-3 inning until the fourth.
It took the Phils until the third inning to register their first baserunner, which came on a ground ball that skipped under Chris Davis’ glove at first base and was ruled an error. As a result, Jay Bruce was able to coast into second base on the play. After Bruce advanced to third on a ground ball out, Adam Haseley worked a walk to put runners at first and third with one out. The very next batter, Andrew McCutchen, drove both runners home with a single to right center.
The first batter of the home half of the fifth, Jay Bruce, stretched the Phillies lead to three by depositing a solo home run into the second deck of the outfield seats in right center.
The O’s finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth when Anthony Santander legged out a double to start off the inning, just beating out the throw from Bryce Harper in right. Then Renato Nunez pulled a line drive into left center to drive home Santander and give the Birds their first run of the night.
Rio Ruiz scorched a ball into the left field corner — his second hit of the night up to that point— to send home Nunez and bring the Orioles within one run of the Phils. Dwight Smith Jr. continued the hit barrage, delivering an RBI single past a diving Scott Kingery at second and into right field. Tie ballgame, 3-3.
That was the end of the night for Wheeler. He exited with two outs in the six, having allowed eight hits, one walk, two strikeouts and three earned runs on 84 pitches (57 strikes). His ERA rose from 2.08 to 2.89.
On the Orioles’ side, Cobb was pulled after 5.1 innings. Tanner Scott inherited two runners from Cobb in the sixth and loaded the bases with a walk before ending the inning on a groundout.
Cobb’s final pitching line included three hits, three runs (two earned), two walks, two strikeouts and one home run allowed on 71 pitches (49 strikes). His ERA rose slightly from 2.51 to 2.75.
The Orioles continued their offensive outburst in the seventh when Pat Valaika hit a leadoff single and hitting-machine Hanser Alberto laced a liner into the left field corner. Valaika showed off his speed by scoring all the way from first and Alberto was able to advance to third on the play. Santander followed with an RBI single, and the O’s were up 5-3.
An exhilarating play in the bottom of the eighth went well for the O’s at first, but was overturned on review. Andrew Velazquez, who had entered the game as a pinch runner for Dwight Smith Jr., came barreling home from third before Phillies’ pitcher Jose Alvarez had even thrown the ball. Alvarez ran towards home plate and lobbed the ball to J.T. Realmuto, with Velazquez initially being ruled safe on a head first slide. But upon further review, the play was reversed.
Mychal Givens breezed through the seventh inning but Miguel Castro was not so lucky in the eighth. Rhys Hoskins reached on a ground ball to Alberto and slugger Bryce Harper cranked a two-run homer to left. With that it was a brand new ballgame, 5-5.
But the inning didn’t end there. After two consecutive strikeouts, Castro then allowed a solo home run to Segura that gave the Phillies a one-run lead.
The Orioles did not go quietly in the ninth against Phillies closer Hector Neris. Chris Davis led off with a walk and two batters later Alberto doubled to right center. After Neris nearly hit Santander with the first pitch of his at-bat, the Phils ordered an intentional walk to load the bases with one out.
Then Nunez came through with a single to drive Davis home and tie the game up once again. Ruiz struck out and something truly odd happened next. Pedro Severino hit a pop up to the right of pitcher’s mound that was dropped by Segura as he ran over the mound in an attempt to make the play. It was ruled an infield single. Two runners scored and the Orioles were back in the lead, 8-6.
After getting two quick outs in the bottom of the ninth, 2020 Orioles closer Cole Sulser loaded the bases after a Hoskins single and back-to-back walks to Harper and Realmuto. Didi Gregorius dumped a bloop single into shallow center field, scoring two runs and tying the score yet again, 8-8.
The madness continued in the top of the tenth. With Velazquez on second base to start the inning, Austin Hays hit a line drive to center that Roman Quinn dove for and missed. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and after a few more bobbles by the Phillies fielders, not only had Velazquez scored, but Hays too. It was ruled an inside the park home run. 10-8, Orioles.
In the home half of the 10th, Paul Fry — facing Oriole nuisance Jay Bruce— immediately allowed an RBI single that brought the Phils within one, 10-9. An infield single that glanced off Fry and a passed ball later, the Phils had runners on second and third with one out.
With the infield pulled in, the Orioles obtained the second out of the inning on a grounder to short. Manager Brandon Hyde then pulled Fry in favor of Travis Lakins, who secured the final out of the game by inducing a ground out. It was Lakins’ first save of the year.
After this evening’s exciting back and forth, the Orioles and Phillies will meet up tomorrow night — same time, same place — to play the middle game of this three-game series. It’ll be a tough act to follow after tonight’s extra inning thriller.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Tuesday, August 11th?
This poll is closed
Hanser Alberto (2-for-6)
Anthony Santander (2-for-4, BB)
Austin Hays (2-for-5, including game-winning inside the park HR)
Renato Nunez (3-for-4, BB)
Rio Ruiz (2-for-5)