Through 5 innings Friday in Atlanta, Orioles starter Brian Matusz had given up 5 hits (including 3 for extra bases) and 3 walks, but just 1 run. 5 strikeouts and a perfectly timed double play helped Matusz escape one jam after another. Then came the 6th.
Down 2-1, the Braves mounted a game winning rally with 1 on and 2 out. Rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons launched a 2-run home run off Matusz (L, 5-7). Pinch hitter Jack Wilson tripled to center, and leadoff man Michael Bourne picked up an infield hit to cash him in.
The Orioles had built a 2-1 lead up going in to the Braves’ 6th, though it could have been much bigger. The birds loaded the bases in both the 2nd and 3rd, and came away empty handed in both innings. It took a pair of Braves errors, along with Wilson Betemit’s double, to finally put the Orioles on the board with 2 in the 4th.
It looked like the Orioles may mount something against Braves reliever Kris Medlen. Adam Jones led off with a single to center, but was picked off of first base by Medlen. Matt Wieters followed that with a walk, and Mark Reynolds grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
In the 9th, Betemit led off with a single to left off Braves closer Craig Kimbrel. But Kimbrel was able to get Steve Pearce on strikes, and pinch hitter Nick Johnson hit into a 3-6-3 double play to end the game.
The Orioles and Braves are back at it Saturday night at 7:05. Jason Hammel (6-2, 3.22) faces off against Brandon Beachy (5-4, 1.98).
- Good outings from Luis Ayala (1.1 IP, 1H, 2K, 0BB, 0R, 1 inherited runner stranded) and Troy Patton (1IP, 1H, 0R) out of the bullpen.
- The Orioles were 0-6 with runners in scoring position. They left 7 men on base.
- Adam Jones’ baserunning blunder in the 8th was huge. Down 2, on base with a leadoff single, his run meant nothing in that situation. The next batter, Wieters, walked. Who knows what that inning could have turned into? No reason to get picked off of first base there.