You have to wonder sometimes if the Baltimore Orioles aren’t overly used to AL East play. In baseball’s toughest division, you seemingly beat one another’s brains out. However once the coup de grace occurrs in a game, it’s done. Teams don’t have that pesky nature and don’t want to go away. And that’s haunted the O’s for the better part of the year.
Ubaldo Jimenez was effective for a few innings, but he struggled after going through the order once. Jimenez’s line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 K. The Orioles gifted Jimenez with the lead – twice. But he couldn’t hold it…due to the fact that Seattle just didn’t want to go away.
Tim Beckham started the game with what’s become a familiar pattern for the Birds: a solo home run. It’s really amazing how he’s come to the Orioles and made such an immediate and strong impact. It’s tough to argue at this point that he wasn’t a great acquisition by Dan Duquette.
Seattle would tie the game at one in the last of the third on an RBI-double by Heredia, and later in the inning they took a 3-1 lead on Alonso’s two-run homer. But the Birds weren’t out of it. Rickard scored from third on a wild pitch in the fifth, and Gentry would later add an RBI-triple to tie the game. Up comes Beckham again, and his RBI-single gave the Orioles the lead back at 4-3.
And in many cases, that right there might be the coup de grace in an AL East game. The O’s had both the momentum and the lead back. But Seattle’s not an AL East team, and they’re scrappy by nature. Jimenez immediately put runners on base in the last of the fifth, and Seattle tied it on Cano’s RBI-single. They would then get back-to-back RBI-singles to take a 6-4 lead. Add on a solo homer by Martin an inning later, and the O’s trailed 7-4.
However the O’s did make it very interesting in the top of the ninth. Manny Machado tacked on a sac fly-RBI, and via two walks and a hit batsman, Seattle loaded the bases. Trumbo was then hit by a pitch, and suddenly it was a one-run game at 7-6. However Davis struck out to end the game, and the O’s fell by that 7-6 score.
The Orioles finished the road trip at 4-6, which although is a losing mark – you have admit that this was a really tough road trip. No off days until now, when they’re back home. And the west coast swing is always the worst trip of the season given the longevity and distance. However the tables will turn now, as the O’s will host those same teams at Camden Yards as they come east – after an off day today.
Some Baltimore Orioles fans complained when the Birds acquired Tim Beckham. Admittedly I wondered what the strategy was, although the fact is that he came cheaply. But he’s done nothing but get on base and hit historic home runs since being with the Orioles. He went 4-for-5 again last night against Oakland, in a game that got out of control quickly.
Dylan Bundy pitched the Orioles to a quality start, but he also had a massive lead well before he even took the field. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 10 K. Bundy was the benefactor of a seven-run first inning. Yes you read that correctly – the O’s put up seven runs in the first inning last night.
And it started with Beckham getting on base and setting the table in a sense. The O’s then used RBI-doubles by Machado and Jones to take a 2-0 lead. Mancini and Davis would add RBI-singles to run the score to 4-0, and Castillo would play a run on a ground out. The Birds sent 11 men to the plate in that first inning, capped off by Tim Beckham’s RBI-double in his second at-bat of the inning (and the game).
But the O’s were only getting warmed up. Bundy would surrender a two-run homer in the last of the first and a solo shot in the second, so for awhile it looked like multiple innings like that might be necessary. Jones added a two-RBI single in the fourth, but Oakland would also tack on two more runs an inning later. As if 9-5 wasn’t enough, the end of the game still loomed.
The Orioles put three runs across in the top of the ninth – you know, just in case Oakland had any ideas about coming back. They got RBI-singles from Davis and Beckham, and an RBI-double from Machado. And as I stated above, the final score was thus 12-5.
It can’t be stressed enough however the effect that Tim Beckham is having on the Orioles. He wasn’t just 4-for-5 last night – he’s having that type of game everyday for the most part. This also means that when Hardy returns at some point this month Buck Showalter‘s going to have a decision to make. He’s said that shortstop was Hardy’s job – but…is it really at this point?
One way or the other, Beckham’s been a shot in the arm for a team that direly needed it. Many of Dan Duquette’s moves have been scrutinized time and time again ad hoc by fans. Whatever you may think about his other moves, this seems to be one he’s gotten right. Beckham’s a guy that the Orioles will need to focus on keeping long term, as he could be the shortstop and lead off man of the future.
The Orioles will attempt to take the series with Oakland in this afternoon’s series finale. Jeremy Hellickson will be on the mound for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Kendall Graveman. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.
It’s hard to have a better introduction to a team (and a city) than Tim Beckham‘s had for the Baltimore Orioles this week. The Birds traded for him on Tuesday, and since arriving in town he’s gotten on base multiple times and smacked three home runs. One of those was the 2500th Oriole home run in the history of Camden Yards. And his homer last night was the epic 10,000th in franchise history.
The Orioles got a typical start out of Wade Miley last night. Miley’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K. Miley’s starts aren’t pretty, and he has to lead the century in getting into full counts. But on this night he got out of most of them. He gave up a two-run homer to Upton in the first inning – and that was it.
The Birds got on the board in the last of the third on a Schoop RBI-double to cut the lead in half at 2-1. Two innings later they tied it when Adam Jones smacked the 9,998th homer in franchise history to tie the game at two. It was also Jones’ 20th of the season, marking 7 straight years with 20 home runs or more for Jones.
The Birds took the lead in the last of the seventh on a solo homer by Welington Castillo, which put the franchise at 9,999 homers for their entire history. More importantly however, the O’s held the lead. And with their bullpen, that was a huge thing – especially seeing that this was a big swing game for the O’s.
And one inning later Beckham came to the plate, and exhaulted the Orioles into the history books with the franchise’s 10,000th home run. It’s a small feat for sure, but it sure meant something to the nearly 34K in attendance. Beckham was pushed by the fans and his teammates to take a curtain call, which was well deserved after that one homer as well as the week he’s had.
Rickard would add an RBI-double later in the inning to cap off the Orioles’ 5-2 victory. Some people might wonder if it wouldn’t have been more fitting for the Adam Jones’ of the world to have hit that historic homer. And while that’s a valid point, keep in mind that Baltimore’s a tough old blue collar town that’s been the home to many hard-working journeymen over the years. So perhaps it’s fitting for a guy like Tim Beckham to own that honor…
…the guy literally just showed up here – on Tuesday! He works hard, he hustles, and he does whatever he has to do to get on base. That’s kind of symbolic of the city of Baltimore itself. Some will say that 10,000 homers in franchise history just means your team’s been around awhile – since 1954, in this case. But it’s also a pretty cool moment for fans to think back on all of the great players over the years who have homered for this franchise – and that should bring a smile to people’s faces.
The O’s will attempt to split the series this afternoon. Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.