What seemed to be a disastrous road trip a few days ago, now turned into a 9 game set where the Orioles return home, with 2 out of 3 series victories. Not too shabby. Consider looking at a record of 4-5, and how average that appears, but think of the sweep in Houston, and exhale, as the Orioles moved their season series record to 10-5-1.
It all started in the first inning, when Mike Clevinger walked defacto leadoff man, Adam Jones. Two batters later, Manny Machado singled to left. Another walk was issued to Chris Davis, and up came Mark Trumbo. On a 3-2 pitch, Trumbo sent a laser beam off the left field wall which led to all 3 runners coming across the plate, and left Trumbo standing at second with his 8th double on the year.
In the top of the 4th inning, Ryan Flaherty scored Jonathan Schoop, on a sacrifice to give the Orioles a 4-0 lead.
The Indians threatened in the bottom half of the 4th, by scoring 3 runs via two home runs. One came from Carlos Santana, his 9th, and the second came from stolen base threat Mike Napoli, his 10th, scoring Francisco Lindor, who walked prior to Napoli’s at-bat. It wasn’t until the bottom of the 6th that the Indians were able to break it even, as Jason Kipnis launched his 7th home run to right field.
With that 4th run scored, Chris Tillman had his consecutive quality start streak halted at 7 games in a row. Tilly has now given up 6 home runs this year, through his 11 starts.
Then came the top of the 7th inning. “Kim, right field, is this number one?? IT IS GONNNNNNNE FOR KIM!!!!” That was the call from Jim Hunter when Hyun Soo Kim launched his first major league home run, to right field, a 377′ shot. Roch Kubatko most definitely had the best summary tweet regarding Kim’s first home run:
The look on Kim’s face when he entered the dugout after rounding the bags for his first big league home run was absolutely priceless. It was just like seeing a kid in little league round the bags after a grand slam. When asked about Kim’s HR, Buck Showalter said, “I think his teammates are happier than he is. He’s hit a HR before.” Speaking through an interpretor, Kim said “he didn’t think it was going over the wall.” It most definitely cleared it by a good 12 rows or so.
In the bottom of the 8th, Brad Brach had come on, and had allowed a single to Kipnis, and a double to Lindor, which moved Kipnis to 3rd. Darren O’Day was summoned from that point. After recording an out via ground out from Mike Napoli, O’Day intentionally walked Jose Ramirez, which loaded the bases.The excitement then came as O’Day got a called strike-3 on Lonnie Chisenhall, and then proceeded to strike out Yan Gomes swinging.
Buck Showalter had actually wanted to avoid using O’Day today due to the fact that he was feeling under the weather, but he did not have a choice. In the end, it paid out, and O’Day got to rest up on the bench knowing he just kept the Indians (26-22) off the board, in a bases loaded situation.
The Orioles had a 5-4 lead in the top of the 9th when Nolan Reimold stepped up to the plate. Nolan gave the birds an insurance run when he launched a 94-mph fastball, on a 1-1 count, over the left field wall, about 8 rows back. This gave the O’s a 6-4 lead, and effectively sealed the deal.
Zach Britton came on and recorded his 14th save on the year, but not without excitement. The first two batters of the inning singled, and the Indians were able to bring the winning run to the plate. That was snubbed out, for a few moments, as Carlos Santana grounded into (what looked like) a double play. The umpires reviewed the play, and determined that Ryan Flaherty missed the tag on Marlon Byrd, in an attempt to turn a game ending triple play. Rajai Davis was called out at second, and Carlos Santana beat the throw to first base. None of this mattered though, as Zach Britton was able to strike out Kipnis, and Lindor to end the ball game, and seal Chris Tillman’s 7th win of the year.
At the time of writing this post, the Boston Red Sox have just defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in 11 innings, and remain 1 game up on the Orioles (28-20), as they come to Baltimore, starting on Memorial Day Monday, for four games.