Things are certainly noisy in Camden Yards these days. The Park is filling up and fans, after years (actually decades) of getting drubbed, have something to cheer about. The Orioles are enjoying another season of division and playoff contention. Going into Saturday’s tilt against the Red Sox the Bird’s were the only team in the AL East to enjoy a winning record against Boston (4-1). Early on it looked like it was going to be more of the same.
Manny Machado, this year’s edition of the human doubles machine, spanked another one off Sox starter John Lackey in the first to score Nate McLouth and Adam Jones singled to bring home Machado. Here we go again, right? Not quite.
Lackey settled down after giving up the two runs in the first and Mike Carp continued to be one of Boston’s most pleasant surprises, giving Lackey a lift with a two-run homer off Orioles’ starter Freddy Garcia in the fourth. Stephen Drew doubled with Gomes aboard to plate another Boston run in the fourth.
The fifth and sixth innings proved just how curious a game baseball is. After a single by Taylor Teagarden the unthinkable happened. Dustin Pedroia made his first error of the year and it wasn’t a cheap one. Mclouth hit a perfect double play ball to Pedroia who simply came up too quick, allowing the ball to go straight through the wickets. Teagarden took third on the miscue and the Orioles were in business with men on first and third with nobody out. Then major momentum breaks happeend
Jarrod Saltalamacchia fired a perfect strike to gun down McLouth who was attempting to steal second. Pedey took the strike and made a great tag to get the out. Curiously, Teagarden didn’t move from third base. Machado hit a hard bounder back to the mound, Lackey looked back Teagarden and got the second out. Nick Markakis flew out to Jonny Gomes in left field to end what could have been a big inning.
In the fifth and sixth Boston played both small and large ball. In the fifth Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second, moved to third on a perfectly placed Shane Victorino sac bunt and scored on a Pedroia groud out; classic NL ball in the heart of the AL East. In the sixth Gomes cranked a solo shot to straight away center field . Garcia’s pitch was only 81 mph so it was all Gomes muscling the ball out of the yard. Garcia headed for the showers down 5-2. Lackey had survived and the Sox offense had thrived. What a difference a day makes.
Lackey cruised through the seventh inning before giving way to Koji Uehara with a three run lead. Uehara shut down the Os in the eighth but Andrew Bailey once again couldn’t barley hold the lead. In the ninth Bailey gave up a single to Jones and a two-runer homer to Matt Wieters. To quote Keyshawn Johnson, “Come on man!” Bailey eventually nailed it down but having a three run cushion with three outs to go and giving up two continues to frustrate and concern the Nation.
Saturday night’s victory ended Boston’s five-game losing streak in Baltimore. Tomorrow, Jon Lester (6-3, 4.12 ERA) faces Miguel Gonzalez (4-2, 3.71 ERA).