The Orioles recovered from a first inning, 2-0 deficit with plenty of offense and pitching that was good enough Sunday, beating the Oakland A’s 9-5.
Randy Wolf made his initial O’s start, and was roughed up in the very first inning. Collin Cowgill led off with a double to center. One out later, Josh Reddick blasted a two-run homer (29), and it looked like it was going to be another long day in Oakland.
But Wolf’s battery mate Matt Wieters hammered a one-out solo homer (20) in the second, making it 2-1. The Orioles tied it in the third with some small-ball. Endy Chavez led off with a hit. Robert Andino’s sac bunt moved Chavez to second. Chavez advanced to third on Nate McLouth’s ground out to second, and JJ Hardy picked up a base hit (though it could’ve been ruled an error) that A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson deflected into foul ground.
Wieters led off the fourth with another home run (21), and the birds had their first lead of the day. In the fifth, the string of one-run innings continued for the O’s, thanks to A’s starter Dan Straily’s wildness. The rally began with two outs and none on. Chris Davis walked. Adam Jones ripped his 34th double of the season, moving Davis to third. Straily intentionally walked Wieters, bringing up Mark Reynolds. The O’s first baseman worked a five-pitch walk, and the Orioles had a 4-2 lead, and had knocked Straily from the game.
The fourth was also Wolf’s last inning. He settled down quite a bit after the first, and finished with just the two runs allowed on six hits. He walked two and struck out four while throwing 45 of his 72 pitches for strikes. Tommy Hunter came on for one inning of scoreless, if not spotless, relief. He gave up a walk and a hit, but struck out the final two A’s in the inning.
On a day when the bullpen would have to shine, it was Brian Matusz (W, 6-10) who burned brightest. Matusz pitched two perfect innings with a pair of stikeouts. He was helped by a great diving catch from left fielder McLouth in the sixth.
In the O’s seventh, Wieters and Reynolds led off with back-to-back walks. Manny Machado the delivered a double into the gap in left center, plating Wieters. A chopper by Chavez found its way into center field, scoring both Reynolds and Machado, and the O’s were up 7-2.
Both Darren O’Day and Pedro Strop struggled in relief. Strop’s issues led to a cheap, one-out save for Jim Johnson (43), and the Orioles escaped Oakland with one win in the three game set.
The birds head up the coast to Seattle for a three game set with the Mariners starting Monday. Hector Neosi (2-11, 5.54) starts for Seattle against former Mariner Chris Tillman (7-2, 3.39), making his first start since September 2. Game time is 10:05.
- Wieters: 2/3, 2HR, 2RBI, 2BB, 3R.
- Chavez: 4/4, 1BB, 2RBI, 2R.
- Robert Andino and JJ Hardy: 2 hits each. Reynolds drew 3 walks
- Who DIDN’T have trepidation about Brian Matusz coming on as Troy Patton’s left handed replacement in the bullpen? But like so many other moves the mad geniuses in the Warehouse and Dugout have made, this one has had better results than anyone could have possibly imagined. As a stater, Matusz was awful: 5-10, 5.47 ERA. But out of the ‘pen? 1-0, 1.93. In just over 9 relief innings, Matusz has struck out 13, walked 1 (intentionally), and given up just 3 hits. He’s a different guy.
- O’Day: 1IP, 2R, 2H, 1HR, 3K.
- Strop: 0.2IP, 1R, 2H, 1K, 1BB.
- Jones: 1/6, 1K, 6LOB.