A rain delay pushed the start time of this game back about an hour and 40 minutes. But even once things got underway the two offenses were slow out of the gate. Through the first three innings neither club managed to advance a runner past second base.
That changed in the bottom of the fourth inning, however, when Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto smacked a two-run homer into the right-center field bleachers, scoring Bryce Harper, who had doubled ahead of him.
As has become commonplace for these O’s, they didn’t stay down for long.
Renato Nunez led off the Baltimore half of fifth inning with a single. He moved to second on a Pedro Severino base hit, and an Austin Hays knock loaded the bases for Pat Valaika.
The blonde-haired utilityman hit a hard ground ball up the middle and between the legs of Phillies starter Jake Arrieta, but it wouldn’t quite sneak into the outfield. Second baseman Jean Segura snared the grounder and flipped it to shortstop Didi Gregorius for the force out at second base. Gregorious then turned towards first for a shot at the second out, but Valaika beat it out as Nunez crossed the plate for the first Orioles run of the evening.
A walk to Hanser Alberto would load the bases once again. Moments later, Anthony Santander unloaded them with a laser beam double to the right center gap, scoring Severino, Valaika and Alberto to give the Birds a 4-2 lead.
Santander’s double knocked Arrieta out of the game. The former Cy Young winner was cruising up until the fifth inning, but got knocked around in his second and third times through the Orioles order. He would have to settle for a final line of 4.2 innings, seven hits, four runs, one walk and four strikeouts against his former club.
The Orioles starter Thomas Eshelman would also finish up his work day later that inning. Over five innings, the soft-tossing righty allowed just the two runs on four hits, no walks and two strikeouts. It was an impressive outing from the 26-year-old. He kept the Phillies off-balance and forced them to put the ball in play. Good stuff, Tom!
Jose Iglesias, serving as the Orioles DH as he continues to deal with a sore quad, added two insurance runs with a double in the top of the seventh inning. The two runners that scored on the two-bagger were Valaika, who had walked, and Alberto, who had singled (of course). It was now a 6-2 advantage for the O’s.
Things wouldn’t stop there. Nunez led off the eighth inning with a walk. Dwight Smith Jr. followed with a single. At that point, Phillies manager Joe Girardi yanked reliever Austin Davis in favor of rookie hurler Connor Brogdon. On Brogdon’s very first major league pitch, Severino took him deep to make it 9-2 and put the game out of reach for the home team.
YOU GET A HIT AND YOU GET A HIT— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 14, 2020
EVERYBODY GETS HITS pic.twitter.com/6zR2was7FG
After Paul Fry tossed a perfect seventh inning, it was David Hess’s turn out of the Orioles bullpen. His outing did not go as well as his predecessor. Over two innings he allowed two runs, both of which came on Realmuto’s second round-tripper of the night.
But before the game was in the books, the Orioles added a cherry on top. And who better to do that than the mohawk-mullet-donning third baseman Rio Ruiz. He lofted a Brogdon fastball high into the Philadelphia sky and hit it just hard enough to sneak it over the right field fence, scoring himself and Bryan Holaday, who had pinch run for Iglesias.
The Ruiz dong forced Girardi to abandon his pitching staff entirely and opt for a position player on the mound. In this case he turned to first baseman Neil Walker. The 34-year-old would finish with the best pitching line of anyone the Phillies put on the hill. In two-thirds of an inning he allowed just one baserunner on a walk, but didn’t give up any runs.
It was yet another impressive team win for the Orioles. The offense collected 15 hits and walked five times. Eshelman did a nice job on a night when the bullpen needed a rest. And the pitching staff, as a whole, did not issue any walks. That is a winning combination.
The Orioles now sit at 10-7 on the season and remain in possession of a playoff spot. As the wins pile up they start to seem less and less improbable. Are the Orioles actually good? It’s still early, but it’s also starting to feel like they might be.
A big series against the Nationals this weekend could provide further insight. They have a chance for two wins on Friday as the two clubs will finish the suspended game from Sunday and play a regular nine-inning game afterwards. First pitch of the resumption is set for 5 p.m. from Camden Yards.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 13th?
This poll is closed
Thomas Eshelman (W, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 SO)
Anthony Santander (1-for-5, three-run double)
Pedro Severino (3-for-5, two runs, three-run homer)
Jose Iglesias (2-for-4, walk, two-run double)
Rio Ruiz (2-for-5, two-run homer)