The Orioles and Red Sox have met numerous times at Camden Yards in September in games with playoff implications. Implications for one of the teams, anyway, and the Orioles haven’t been that team. Oh, 2012…how Orioles Nation has waited for you.
There are four games left in the regular season, and the Baltimore Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East. Go ahead. Read it again. We’ll wait…
That’s four games LEFT, not four games IN. September 29, and the Orioles are in the penthouse. In 2012.
Before the game Saturday night, the Orioles honored Brooks Robinson with the unveiling of his statue. There was a sell out crowd. The Orioles also found out before the game that the Toronto Blue Jays had beaten the first place New York Yankees for the second time in three days. With a win over Boston, the Orioles would slide back into a tie for first.
Rookie Steve Johnson took the mound for the O’s, carrying a 4-0 record with an ERA well under two. He set the Sox down in order on the first, but ran into some trouble in the second, giving up a walk and a hit. But he was helped out when Matt Wieters caught Cody Ross trying to steal. A strikeout and foul out later, and the threat was over.
In the O’s second, Manny Machado smoked a single to center, scoring Chris Davis for a 1-0 Orioles lead. In the fourth, Orioles star center fielder Adam Jones, who has played ever single game this year (including the All-Star Game) generated a run with his ever-present hustle.
On a grounder to short, Boston’s Mike Aviles fielded and threw high to first. First baseman Mauro Gomez leaped, grabbed the throw, and came back down on the bag. But Jones, as he always does, busted it down the line. Running full speed all the way, Jones crossed the first place bag before Gomez came down. As it turned out, this play was enormous. One out later, Chris Davis launched another homer, his fourth in the current homestand and 30th on the season. Jones’ hustle turned what would have been a solo home run into a two-run shot, and a 3-0 lead.
In the Sox fifth, Johnson gave up a two-run homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and the lead was quickly back down to just one. After Johnson gave up a leadoff hit to Jacoby Ellsbury and a walk to Scott Podsednick in the sixth, Buck Showalter went to the bullpen for Tommy Hunter (W, 7-8). A ground out and sac fly later, the Sox had tied the score at three.
But in the bottom of the seventh, Orioles rookie provided the game’s big blow. Machado ripped a 1-1, 92 MPH fastball just over the left field wall for home run number seven, and a 4-3 lead.
Brian Matusz and Darren O’Day provided the O’s with a shut down eighth inning, and Jim Johnson set the Sox down in order in the ninth for his 49th save, and the 4-3 win.
The Orioles will hope to finish off the sweep of the Red Sox Sunday at 1:35. Joe Saunders (2-3, 3.62/8-13. 4.08) pitches for the O’s, vs. Zach Stewart (0-1, 27.00/1-3, 7.91) for Boston.
- On the night the Orioles honored Brooks Robinson, the defense came to play. Manny Machado started a brilliant 5-4-3 double play with a fine, backhanded pickup on a short hop. Fading into foul ground off balance, he spun and delivered a perfect throw to Robert Andino at second, who fired to Mark Reynolds at first for two. Reynolds himself too over the fifrth, with a diving, double-saving stop and put out, followed by a spectacular catch in foul ground that actually saw him end up pinned between the tarp and the stands, and Endy Chavez made a great diving catch in right.
- Bullpen of Hunter, Matusz, O’Day, J. Johnson: 4IP, 1H, 0R, 1k, 1 inherted runner scored.
- Davis: 2/3, 2R, 1HR, 2RBI.
- Machado: 2/3, 1R, 1HR, 2RBI.
- JJ Hardy looked very bad against Sox starter Felix Doubront (L, 11-10). 0/4, 1K, 3LOB.
- Andino: 0/2, 2K, 1LOB