The Orioles and Angels opened up their 4 game series leading into the All-Star break Thursday with a mighty battle of Tug-of-War. Trouble was, the strongest man on the Angels team was Orioles starter, Jake Arrieta.
Every time the Orioles gained an advantage on the rope, Arrieta was right there to pull the advantage back from his teammates. The birds scored one in the first on a walk to Xavier Avery, a Matt Wieters single, a wild pitch by Angels starter Garrett Richards, and an RBI hit from Jim Thome.
Arrieta gave the lead up in the bottom of the first by yielding a single to Mike Trout, who stole second and scored on a hit from Kendrys Morales.
The birds scored three in the second. They got back-to-back home runs by Mark Reynolds and Ryan Flaherty (who was inserted into the lineup when Chris Davis was scratched due to injury), then back-to-back singles by Robert Andino and Xavier Avery. One-out later, Wieters hit an RBI ground out.
Arrieta helped the Angels tug back in the bottom of the second. He got ahead of third baseman Alberto Callaspo 0-2, and could not put him away. The 10-pitch at bat resulted in a leadoff walk. Arrieta then walked the next batter, Howard Kendrick walked on four pitches.
Erick Aybar’s base hit scored Callaspo. John Hester dropped a sacrifice bunt, putting runners at second and third with one out. Trout’s sac fly scored Kendrick, and the inning ended on a Torii Hunter groundout. Heading to the third, the Orioles still held a 4-3 lead.
That’s where thing stood until the Orioles’ fourth. Flaherty led off with a hit. One-out later, Avery dropped a single into left, but Flaherty was called out sliding into third base on a throw from left fielder Mark Trumbo to Callaspo. Replays showed umpire Adrian Johnson missed the call. Actually, the naked eye showed that.
It was the second bad call that went against the birds, but, while damaging, the offense was in no mood Thursday to allow the umpires to slow them down. Avery swiped second, and JJ Hardy drew a walk, bringing up Wieters. The All-Star catcher went down after a 1-1 change-up and hit it into the right field seats, making it 7-3 Orioles.
So the Orioles pitching staff, headed at the moment by Jake Arrieta, was tasked with finding a way to get 18 outs, before giving up five more runs. And they could not get it done.
Callaspo settled in for another epic at-bat to start the Angels fourth. He, again, walked, this time, on eight pitches. He moved to second on a passed ball, and scored on a Kendrick single: 7-4, O’s. Aybar doubled Kendrick to third, and one-out later, Trout hit another sac fly, making it 7-5. By then, Orioles manager Buck Showalter had seen quite enough from Arrieta. Out went the call for the usually reliable Luis Ayala.
The first batter Ayala (L, 2-2) faced, Hunter, knocked in Aybar with a hit. Albert Pujols was next up, and he singled Hunter to third. Pujols then stole second, and Morales knocked in a pair with a hit to left. The leads—once 1-0, then 3-1, then 4-1, then 4-3, then 7-3, were all gone, and would not again be found on this night.
The Halos would plate another in the sixth, when Trout was walked by Matt Lindstrom. He then stole second and third, and trotted home when Wieters’ throw toward third base went into left field.
The birds will try to grab game two of the series Friday night, as Miguel Gonzalez (0-0, 2.31) makes his first major league start, against CJ Wilson (9-4, 2.33) for the Angels. Game time is 10:05.
- The offense came to play. 11 hits, 3 of which were home runs. 4 Orioles had multiple-hit games.
- A major league starting pitcher simply must hold leads of 4-1 and 7-3, and not just for 3.2 innings. In a season filled with dreadful pitching performances, this may have been the very worst for Arrieta (if not, the entire team), simply because of the leads he was handed over and over. It’s hard to imagine the leash being very long for Arrieta after the All-Star break.
- The umpiring was terrible, but 7 runs should equate to a win anyway.
- The bullpen was not very good either. Ayala got the loss after giving up 4 hits and 2 earned runs in 1.1 innings. He also allowed his one inherited runner to score. Lindstrom was also touched for a run, a hit, and a walk in one inning.