The Baltimore Orioles and starter Andrew Cashner were beaten this evening by the Seattle defense. And squarely by the Seattle defense, mind you. Granted Seattle scored more runs than the Orioles, which played a role. But I’m not sure how many times the Birds hit ’em where they ain’t, only to find that a Seattle defender was nimble enough to get there to make the play.
And mind you folks, we weren’t talking routine plays. We’re talking plays that would have either netted the Orioles a run or two, or put an additional runner on base to give them a shot at an additional run. And some of these plays defied logic. But this entire season defies logic for the Orioles.
Cashner put forward another quality start, although he had a lapse in the second inning which played a huge role. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 3 K. Cashner recorded the first two outs of the second very quickly – as quickly as he sent Seattle down 1-2-3 in the first. And then suddenly he couldn’t find the strike zone. Before you knew it the bases were loaded, and then Seattle had a 2-0 lead after Gordon’s two-RBI single.
However in between failing to get on base due to another fine defensive play by Seattle and Seattle putting more runs on the board, the O’s did battle back. Jonathan Schoop smacked a solo homer in the last of the fifth, cutting the lead to 2-1. However in a sense Seattle had the Orioles right where they wanted them; this is a team that always seems to win one-run games.
Span’s homer in the sixth would give Seattle their two-run margin back, however the Birds came back and tied it in the last of the sixth. They loaded the bases with nobody out, and Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop grounded into a run-scoring force out and fielder’s choice respectively. You might recall last week in Washington the Orioles had the bases loaded with nobody out, and only netted one run on a ground ball double-play. This result was only marginally better, however needless to say that got more than one run out of the deal.
Seattle would take the lead right back however when they loaded the bases in the seventh and Heredia scored on a wild pitch. Later in the same count Haniger would smack a sac fly-RBI, which gave Seattle their final score of 5-3 in defeating the Orioles. I can’t stress enough however, on “halfway to Christmas night,” the Orioles seemed to give Seattle gifts all night. Many of those balls would have been outs any other time. But somehow they found Seattle mitt’s and became outs.
There was a bizarre sequence towards the end of the game, with Seattle hitting in the top of the ninth. Darren O’Day was called for what might be termed a phantom balk by home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater. O’Day became incensed, and was eventually ejected (first ejection of his career). Buck Showalter came out of the dugout to continue the argument, and he was promptly shown the door as well – the 32nd ejection of his career, and first of this season.
Replays seemed to back up O’Day’s point that what he did wasn’t a balk. He didn’t do anything more than he usually does, and yes he has a hurky-jerky windup. However, Scheurwater actually called O’Day for a balk last season as well. So either Scheurwater’s the only one who’s right, or he’s seeing something that isn’t there. But needless to say, he himself was consistent with how he’s called O’Day’s windup in the past. But again, not many people saw anything there.