Coming out of Tuesday’s loss, many Baltimore Orioles fans thought the sky was falling. I suppose that last night’s game in theory should have reversed that logic to a point. Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and others homered, as the O’s defeated the BoSox 12-5.
But the game wasn’t without it’s drama in terms of who was going to win. Ubaldo Jimenez was unable to make it out of the fifth inning, despite being given a huge lead. Jimenez’s line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Mychal Givens ended up being credited for the win; it you’re Jimenez, look at it from the perspective that you had worked the angle on a romantic interest for some time and were stalling in a sense before you were ready to ask her out. Then someone else swoops in and does just that after you’ve softened her up a bit.
When you can’t make it out of the fifth of a sure win, that’s kind of what happens. After the game Showalter admitted that Jimenez needed to pitch more like the veteran that he is, but also mentioned that Fenway Park itself can often add to the anxieties of pitchers (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
Ubaldo, a little frustrating because he was really good early on and it looked like he was going to pitch like a veteran should pitch with a lead and then it just kind of left him there and he couldn’t seem to get his delivery back together. I know it’s frustrating for him. Created some anxiety in the game. Of course, in this ballpark, it’s always a possibility. Nobody takes anything for granted.
Much of the early damage was done off of Boston’s Wright (a knuckler) in the first inning. Machado’s RBI-double got things going in the first inning, which was followed by Trumbo’s RBI-single. If you’re Boston, you’re thinking okay let’s just regroup after giving up a couple of early runs. Ha!
Trey Mancini came to the plate later in the inning with two on, and smacked a three-run homer to center field to give the Birds a 5-0 lead. That brought Schoop to the plate, and he followed suit with a solo shot to left. When the dust settled, the O’s led 6-0 after one inning.
And the route continued an inning later. Jones and Davis added solo homers, and Mancini added a second homer (a solo shot) in the third. That ran the score to 9-0, and the Birds had chased the Boston starter from the game.
However the issue with playing the BoSox is that they feel they’re never out of it. A few RBI and a Sandoval two-run homer later, they had chased Jimenez and gotten to within 9-5. Four runs is still a sizable lead for the Orioles, however Boston had the momentum. For awhile, Boston coming from nine down to beat the Orioles in ignoble fashion at Fenway seemed to be the only possible out in this game. But luckily the Orioles’ pen was solid, from Givens to Hart, and eventually Nuno.
The O’s also put a couple of insurance runs on the board late. Castillo smacked a two-RBI double, and Schoop an RBI single in the seventh. That ran the score to 12-5, at which point Boston finally seemed to concede the game. Despite Jimenez’s struggles, the Orioles had broken out the bats in grand fashion at a moment when they needed to do so.
Incidentally just so people don’t think I’m hard-hearted, the analogy I gave above about someone else asking your girl out regarding Jimenez has happened to me more times than I care to admit. Nothing like psyching yourself out having bought flowers, wine, etc. for someone over a period of time and being ready to take the next step…and then seeing someone else step up and do it instead. The point is that to the victors go the spoils – for his sake and for that of the Orioles, hopefully Jimenez realizes that.
The Orioles will now head to Toronto to open up a four-game series this evening. Kevin Gausman will be on the mound for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Francisco Liriano. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.