The Baltimore Orioles couldn’t complete the sweep in Atlanta this weekend with a win this afternoon. Now that said, the weekend in the south for the Birds was an overall success as they took two-of-three. But Atlanta’s a contending team, and you’re only going to hold them down for so long – if for no other reason than pride.
David Hess struggled on paper for the Orioles, although he made quite a few very good pitches. Hess’ line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K. You can make quality pitches in games, but often times those quality pitches are those that get hit. Atlanta got on the board almost immediately on Freeman’s RBI-single in the first, but the Orioles tied it two innings later. After sitting for a couple of games due to a knee problem, Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the third to tie the game at one.
However Atlanta took the lead right back in the bottom of the inning on Markakis’ RBI-double. Markakis has had a good series against his former team, although perhaps with the exception of today he hasn’t torched them to the point of beating them. Personally I thought it was tragic that a lifelong Oriole who had been through so much and who cared so much for the organization was allowed to walk. However Orioles fans should also keep in mind that Markakis was having major issues as a result of a procedure done on his neck at the time. And in reality, this is the first season he’s had with Atlanta in which he’s really been tearing the cover off the ball.
Culberson’s two-RBI double later in the inning would run the Atlanta lead to 5-1. However the O’s did make a run of it. They were going to lift Hess after the fourth inning anyways, and sent Mark Trumbo up to pinch hit. And Trumbo, who previously had been given the day off with a slight injury, smacked a two-run homer to cut the Atlanta lead to 5-3.
And that’s another reason that I love the National League game. First off I’ve always believed that a pitcher should have to hit. It’s part of the game, and he’s a part of the lineup. However National League baseball allows for moments like that, where a guy’s used only in the one at-bat and he comes through in the clutch. I suppose American League teams could do that as well, but it would be a waste of a potential field player or DH. So it’s squarely a National League phenomenon; of course, moves like that used to be prevalent in both leagues.
However Atlanta would extend their lead to 7-3 on a two-run homer by Swanson in the last of the eighth, which sealed the deal. However make no mistake about the fact that the Orioles had a good weekend down in “hot ‘lanta.” And while they struggled at times in D.C., they also now come home after a .500 road trip. That’s not going to get you back into contention, but it’s a start. Had this exact road trip happened a month ago, they would have headed home after either a 1-5 trip or after two sweeps.
The O’s will open up a four-game series with Seattle tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.