At the end of the day, it wasn’t a Mark Trumbo home run that rallied the Baltimore Orioles to a victory over Washington. It was an RBI-single with the bases loaded. But when you’ve managed to make it to the last of the twelfth inning, that’s all you really need. The bigger story of the game however is the fact that we made it that far to begin with.
The Birds got all they could ask out of Ubaldo Jimenez last night. Jimenez’s line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 6 K. If you didn’t watch the game that line doesn’t look as stellar as it should. Jimenez made two bad pitches, both of which left the ballpark. But he kept a very dangerous Washington lineup at bay for most of the night.
Murphy smacked a solo homer in the second inning to give Washington a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for Jimenez and the O’s however, Washington’s Scherzer was dealing as well – big time. Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and it was broken up by Smith’s solo home run which tied the game. While both starters were in the game it reminded me of the finale of the DC series last year when these two pitchers squared off. Jimenez was excellent, but Scherzer was superior.
With the score tied in the eighth, Lind smacked a three-run homer as a pinch-hitter, giving Washington a 4-1 lead. At the time, you figured that might be the back-breaker for the O’s in this game. Jimenez certainly deserved better, but he was on track to be the loser. However “The Captain,” Adam Jones, willed his team back into the game in the bottom of the inning with a solo homer, cutting the lead to 4-2.
Washington’s bullpen is a maligned staff, which has struggled to protect leads over the course of the season. And it showed again last night. Schoop’s RBI-double in the last of the ninth cut the lead to 4-3, which was followed by an RBI-single by Hardy to tie the game. And…we played on.
Both teams had their chances at various points to win. However in extra innings, you can all but always give the advantage to the Orioles with their bullpen. Joseph tried to score from second on a single in the last of the eleventh, but he was thrown out at home plate. And Washington basically ran itself out of an opportunity, when Goodwin got doubled up at first on a pop fly in the twelfth. That marked the second time in as many games that Washington had committed all but inexcusable base running gaffes.
The O’s had the bases loaded and one out in the last of the twelfth when Trumbo came up. In a situation like that, the odds of scoring are greater than they are of not scoring. And Trumbo delivered, with an RBI-single to left field which ended the game. This goes as a series sweep for the Orioles, as each leg of the Battle of the Beltways is seen as a separate series. They also finished the homestand at a perfect 6-0, and gauranteed themselves at minimum of a split with Washington this year.
This had the feel of a game on which one might look back when all’s said and done as a key win. Not because of the Orioles’ beltway opponent, but because of how things unfolded. The Orioles never give up until the final out. And that modus operandi served them well last night. When it was 4-1, yes things looked bleak. But as a familiar scene from Animal House tells us, it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor!
The Orioles did get some sobering news before yesterday’s game. The estimation is that closer Zach Britton might be down for 45-60 days. Britton was as surprised by this as anyone, however he’s hoping it’s the short end of that range. Britton is now in Sarasota, which in a week or two he’ll begin throwing.
The Orioles now head down I-95 or the B/W Parkway (whichever route suits you best!) to open a two-game series with Washington at Nationals Park. Wade Miley gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Stephen Strasburg. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.