For one game, the Orioles weren’t one of the two teams they’ve been for the better part of the last month. For nine innings, they weren’t the squad that either, A) was able to squeeze out just enough offense to go with solid pitching for a win that might have cost you a trip to the ER, or B) couldn’t put anything together offensively and were completely inadequate on the mound. Heart attack win, or pathetic loss. That had been the Oriole Way, for a month or so, anyway. Friday night, though, they bunched enough hits to string together some big innings, in beating the Indians 10-2
Now, in the beginning, things sure had that familiar feel. Tied at one in the second, Indians starter Derek Lowe (L, 8-8) walked Wilson Betemit to start the inning. Chris Davis followed that up with a double, putting runners on second and third with no outs. But Lowe got Mark Reynolds and Ryan Flaherty on unproductive outs, intentionally walked Nick Markakis, and retired JJ Hardy on a fly out to Johnny Damon in left.
The birds would not make the same mistakes in the third. Jim Thome, back in Cleveland where he began his days of tormenting opposing pitchers, led off with a double. He moved to third on an Adam Jones ground out. Matt Wieters stepped in and hit a roller to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. With Thome heading toward the plat, Cabrera fired home, but was off line. Thome scored, making it 2-1 Orioles, with Wieters at first and one away.
Betemit then doubled Wieters to third, and Lowe intentionally walked Davis. Reynolds stepped in with the bases loaded and one away, and he just missed a grand slam, hitting one high off the wall in left center. The double plated both Betemit and Wieters, moved Davis to third, and increased the Orioles’ lead to 4-1. Flaherty was next, and he jumped all over a 2-0, 87 MPH sinker that stayed up a bit too much, sending it over the 375’ sign in right-center for a three-run shot. The third career homer from the Rule 5 rookie broke the game open, making it 7-1.
The Oioles weren’t finished. Thome opened the fourth with a long home run to right, his first as an Oriole and the 610th of his career, moving him past Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time list. Jones followed that up with a walk, and Lowe’s day was over. The veteran gave way to Cody Allen, making his major league debut. The rookie walked both Wieters and Betemit, loading the bases with no outs. Allen got Davis on an RBI ground out, making it 9-1, and got out of the inning with no further damage.
All the while, O’s starter Miguel Gonzalez was pitching as if it was still 2-1. The tribe had him in lots of trouble in the first. With one out, Cabrera homered to tie things at one. Jason Kipnis followed that with a double. One out later, Gonzalez walked Carlos Santana, then hit Travis Haffner with a pitch, loading the bases with two outs for notorious Orioles killer Damon. After a visit from Pitching Coach Rick Adair, Gonzalez got Damon on a sharp bouncer to Reynolds at first, ending the threat.
The Indians wouldn’t get another base runner until Santana lead off the fourth with a walk. Damon would single later that inning, but Gonzalez got out of the jam. A Shin-Soo Choo leadoff single in the fifth was quickly erased on a double play. And the tribe went three up, three down in the sixth.
In the seventh, Jack Hannahan hit a two-out, solo home run. That was followed by a double from Choo, and then a trip to the showers for Gonzalez. Matt Lindstrom replace him, getting Jose Lopez on a foul pop to third, for out number three.
Lindstrom would have to leave in the eighth after being hit on the inside of his left knee by a liner off Damon’s bat. He was replace by Kevin Gregg, who retired all four Indians batters he faced.
Chris Tillman (1-1, 1.00) looks to recover from a poor outing in Minnesota as the Orioles take on the Indians again Saturday. He’ll battle Zach McAllister (4-1, 3.17), who is 3-0 in his last four starts, beginning with a win on June 28 in Baltimore. Game time is 7:05.
- Seeing this team put 6 runs on the board in one inning was a complete shock. It was the Orioles’ biggest inning since the 7-run third inning in the middle game of the 3-game sweep at Fenway May 8th. The birds beat Boston 8-2 that day. The next day, Chris Davis would outduel Darnell McDonald in extras for the 9-6 O’s win in 17. Perhaps Davis should throw a bullpen session before Saturday’s game, just in case.
- It was great to see Thome hit number 610 in Cleveland.
- Miguel Gonzalez was stellar. He turned in the Orioles’ third straight excellent start, giving up 2ER on 7H in 6.2 IP with 5K and 1BB. The bullpen is in good shape as Buck Showalter prepares to hand the ball to Tillman and Zach Britton in the next two days.
- Lindstrom was in a lot of pain after taking Damon’s shot off his leg. The O’s, after picking up Omar Quintanilla from the Mets, will have another roster move to make before Saturday’s game. The logical move would have been to send Steve Tolleson down to Norfolk. Now, though, it looks like Lindstrom may be headed for a second stint on the DL this year. The O’s hope that is not the case.