While the past two months have been trying for the Baltimore Orioles and Adam Jones, they finished the first half strong. In the wake of Saturday’s victory, they decided to go a step further and dismantled Minnesota in the series finale. While the Birds go into the all-star break now two games under .500, splitting that series in the Twin Cities gives them just a bit of wind in their sails.
Ubaldo Jimenez put the Orioles in a spot to win the game yesterday, really only struggling in one inning. Jimenez’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 3 K. But Jimenez had the lead before even taking their field, as Jones smacked a three-run home run in the top of the first inning to put the O’s ahead to stay. ne inning later an RBI-double by Joseph and an RBI-single by Smith would run the score to 5-0 early on.
However Minnesota’s a team that can bleed you by paper cuts. A small in here or there is seemingly all they need. Jimenez loaded the bases in the last of the second, and walked Dozier to bring Minnesota’s first run to the plate. Grossman would follow with a two-RBI single, and then Kepler’s RBI-double would bring Minnesota to within one at 5-4.
Even though Jimenez got out of the inning with the lead, I suspect that most people probably felt Minnesota had the Orioles right where they wanted them at that moment. Jimenez was obviously on the ropes, and while the Orioles’ offense had been good to that point they had probably run their course for the day – right?
The fact that the Orioles themselves didn’t take that attitude is a good sign. They kept on fighting. Jones added a second homer, this one of the solo variety, in the fifth inning. Caleb Joseph would tag on a two-RBI single later in the inning to run the score to 8-4, and Ruben Tejada‘s RBI-double sent it to 9-4.
That little four-run splurge in the fourth inning was all the reminder the Birds needed of the game earlier in the season against Minnesota at Camden Yards where they surredered a seven-run lead. So they kept the pressure on and kept scoring. That’s not to say they ran up the score, because they weren’t trying to manufacture runs per se, but the hits just kept on coming.
Manny Machado added an RBI-single in the eighth, and Jones another as well on a sac fly-RBI. Minnesota would tack one on as well on a Polanco ground out, running the final to 11-5. Needless to say, the first half was far from perfect. But it ended on a positive note for the Orioles.
This is an Oriole team that’s had a tough tie taking momentum from a win and playing it forward. The fact that they’re off until Friday doesn’t make it an easier. However one has to hope and believe that the rest will do them good. And on the other end they’ll find a Chicago Cubs team that’s struggling even more. There are problems in the Oriole rotation, however Chicago gave up ten runs in the first inning yesterday!