Birds Show Their Resiliency This Weekend against Phillies
The 2 nd place Baltimore Orioles (34-26) are going through a rough patch after losing Nick Markakis due to a broken bone in his wrist, Brian Roberts’ absence, slugging starting pitchers, constantly changing lineups among other problems.
However, the last-place Philadelphia Phillies visited Camden Yards as interleague play resumed this past weekend; after losing the first game of the three-game set on Friday night 9-6, the Birds fought back and battled as each game went extra innings, and Baltimore overcame the odds winning their 8th consecutive extra inning affair.
The Birds sit one game out of 1st place behind both the Yankees and the Rays (35-25), who share the best record in the American League.
Game One- Arrieta Shelled
Ace Jake Arrieta toed the rubber for the Birds in the opening game of the three game series and he was chased after just four innings of work. The Phillies entered with a six-game losing streak, however, Arrieta was just the pitcher they were looking for apparently.
Arrieta allowed all nine earned runs in the game on 11 base hits, including two home runs, he failed to walk a batter and he picked up five strike outs as his ERA continues to rise at 6.23. Over his last seven outings, his ERA is 9+.
After the game, it was reported that Arrieta is moving to the bullpen to work out his mechanics instead of heading back to the minor leagues.
The Birds’ pen looked great again on Friday night; three relievers combined for five innings, and they held the Phillies explosive offense to just one hit after they banged out 11 against Arrieta.
J.J. Hardy (11) and Chris Davis (10) each smashed a home run, however, it was not enough to overcome the Phils’ six-run 2nd inning. The Birds lost for the 9th time in their last 12 games as they dropped to 3rd place in the East after Friday night’s loss.
Game Two- Jones’ Heroics
Worley pitched well for Philadelphia as he tossed six innings, allowed just one earned run (three overall) on five base hits, one walk and five strike outs. Hunter matched Worley pitch for pitch most of the game.
However, he was able to last long an inning longer as he completed seven innings, surrendered three earned runs on eight bases hits, including three home runs, which continues to be one of his problem areas.
Heading into the bottom of the 7th, the Birds and Phils were knotted up at three runs a piece until Matt Wieters came through with a line drive single that brought home Hardy as they took a 4-3 advantage.
However, Thome capped his hot night at the dish with a game-tying RBI single to deep center field in the top of the 8 th inning, eventually sending this game into extra innings. Pedro Strop (1.48 ERA) allowed the RBI single, only his 5 th earned run surrendered all season long.
The Birds were 7-2 when extending the game this season; Adam Jones is one of the reasons why the Orioles have been so successful in these types of situations.
After a leadoff walk by Davis in the bottom of the 12th, Jones snapped out of an 0-for-18 slump by crushing his 17th home run of the year, and this 3rd home run in the 12th inning or later this season. The Birds won in dramatic fashion 6-4 setting up a rubber match for Sunday’s matinee.
Game Three- Wieter’s Turn
Wieters tried to be the hero on Saturday afternoon after he delivered the go-ahead RBI single in the 7 th inning. However, on Sunday afternoon, he was able to complete the feat.
He doubled in the winning run in the 10 th inning as the Birds won their second series in a row after losing three consecutive series on their previous road trip. The win also extends the Orioles extra-inning winning streak to nine consecutive games as they are now 9-2 on the year.
Jason Hammel (6-2, 3.22 ERA) started the game for the Birds and pitched well for the most part; he tossed six innings, allowed four earned runs on six base hits, five walks and four strike outs.
The Phillies posted a three spot on the board in the 2nd inning on a couple of RBI singles. After trailing 4-1 in the 4th, Steve Tolleson smashed a three-run home run, his 1st home run of the year, as he tied the game 4-4.
It stayed that way until Wieters drove home Jones in the 10 th inning for the winning run.
Again, the Birds’ pen pitched very strongly as three relievers combined for four-scoreless innings and they allowed just two hits over that stretch.
Tonight, the Pittsburgh Pirates visit Camden Yards as interleague play rolls on. The Birds will be sending their most consistent starting pitcher to the mound tonight as Wei-Yin Chen (5-2, 3.49 ERA) makes his 2nd start against a National League team, and his first against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh will counter with third-year pitcher Brad Lincoln (3-1, 2.40 ERA), who is looking to rebound after his first loss of the season last time out. He tossed four innings, allowed five earned runs on six base hits and suffered the loss at the hands of their rival Cincinnati Reds.
Not one of the Orioles has ever faced Lincoln, which may come as a surprise to some. And, of course, there are no Pirates who have faced Chen since he made his debut this season in America.
In 15 games this season, Lincoln has tossed 30 innings and allowed eight earned runs on 22 hits. He spent most of the season in the pen, but has made a couple of starts recently as he looks to remain in the rotation since he is pitching so well.
Chen has been the Birds’ best starting pitcher this season, and hopes to continue that trend tonight. He picked up the win in his last outing as he tossed seven strong innings against the Red Sox. He yielded just one earned run on seven hits and four strike outs.
Not to mention, Chen is undefeated this season at Camden Yards as he features a 3-0 record with a 2.16 ERA. Tonight should be a good match-up of two young hurlers.
By: Alex Van Rees
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