Baltimore Orioles: Big wheels keep on turning

The Baltimore Orioles continued their hot ways of late, returning home last night and besting Seattle in game one of three. As I said yesterday, this might well be the most important series of the season given the wild card standings. The O’s now stand 1.5 games out of the final wild card spot, and only a half game back of Anaheim at that.

Chris Tillman got the start, and with mixed results at that. His final stat line wasn’t much to write home about, however he battled – as did the entire Orioles team. Tillman’s line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 1 K. Seattle didn’t want to go away – and the fact is that they knew the stakes also.

And Seattle actually had the lead early in this game, as Valencia smacked a soo homer in the second inning. However that didn’t last long. Welington Castillo‘s two-RBI single in the last of the second gave the O’s the lead at 2-1. Jonathan Schoop added an RBI-single of his own, putting the O’s ahead 3-1.

However as I said when the Orioles were on the west coast, many of these western teams don’t buy much into the concept of a coup de grace. In an AL East game the Birds would have taken that 3-1 lead, maybe added a couple more, and perhaps the opponent would have added a run or two. These western teams are scrappy and they don’t take no for an answer. Gamel smacked a three-run homer in the fourth, putting the Orioles behind suddenly, 4-3.

However in the bottom frame of that fourth inning the Birds took control back. Gentry lined an RBI-single which tied the game and loaded the bases. Beckham was then hit by a pitch, and the Birds had the lead again, 5-4. As I’ve said many times, funny things can happen when guys get on base. One inning later Adam Jones gave the O’s what we thought was some padding in their lead with a solo homer.

But again, Seattle didn’t go away. And again it was Gamel. His two-RBI single tied the game at six in the sixth inning. However it was Chris Davis who ultimately gave the O’s the coup de grace for which they had been looking against Seattle. His RBI-double in the seventh put them ahead 7-6, which was the final.

While this game was a win, Seattle put the Orioles on notice that they’re going to be in a dog fight every game along the way this week. And that’s what a pennant race (or wild card race) is all about. Needless to say, the O’s got off to a good start last night leapfrogging Seattle in the standings.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Erasmo Ramirez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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