The Baltimore Orioles didn’t acquire Seth Smith for his power. So that means any home runs he’s able to provide is gravy more than anything else. However he picked a great moment to give the Orioles his maiden homer as a Bird, and of the 2017 season.
Ubaldo Jimenez seemed a little off from the beginning last night, although the cold temperatures may have contributed to that just a bit. Jimenez’s line: 4.1 IP, 7 H 5 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Jimenez was victimized by the long ball, which is odd for him. And that’s why I say the weather might have played a factor, an idea that was backed up after the game by Buck Showalter (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
You try to give guys a little pass with the weather. You’ve got to have a feel for the split with that weather and I think both home runs were splits that didn’t split properly. I think I’m right. He’s capable of better. Hopefully, when the weather warms up he gets a better feel for it, because he had a good one in the spring.
Jimenez allowed an RBI-single in the first, however the Birds answered in the botto of the inning on Jones’ RBI-single. But two innings later New York had the lead back on Holliday’s two-run home run. They would extend that lead to 5-1 two innings later in the fifth on a two-run homer by Sanchez.
However the Birds weren’t about to go quietly into the night. Not on this day, and not in their home park. With two runners on in the last of the fifth, Manny Machado
smacked a three-run homer to bring the Orioles to within 5-4. And suddenly with that one swing, it was a game again.
It’s important to note that while Jimenez wasn’t as sharp as he could be, the Orioles’ bullpen showed why it’s one of the strengths of the team. They gave up three hits and two walks, having to pitch most of the game. Donnie Hart, a Showalter favorite, recorded the final out of the seventh inning, but that was as big as anything else…
…because in the last of the seventh Smith gave us his aforementioned first homer as an Oriole. It came with a runner on, so it gave the Orioles a 6-5 lead, which they held. That homer meant that Donnie Hart won his first major league game – only recording one out. One of the quirks of baseball, as he was the pitcher of record when they took the lead.
The only area of concern was that closer Zach Britton appeared to roll his ankle while coming off the mound to throw a runner out at first base in the ninth inning. Buck Showalter said after the game that it appeared Britton was fine, but that they’d have to see how he was today. If there’s one reliever the Birds don’t want to lose for any period, it’s Zach Britton.
The series with New York continues in a late afternoon start today at Camden Yards. Kevin Gausman will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Masahiro Tanaka. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.