This was perhaps the game for which the Baltimore Orioles had been waiting all season. The team was constructed to play games like yesterday’s. We thought that would be the norm. To this point, it hasn’t been. But yesterday we saw a different Orioles team – one that most fans would just as soon as see for the rest of the season.
The Birds got a gem out of Kevin Gausman, who set the tone for the team. Gausman’s line: 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Anaheim had a flight to catch, and I suppose they assumed that Gausman would be just as hitable as the other Oriole pitchers they had seen this series. Save for a couple of exceptions, such as Pujols’ first inning RBI single (which gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead), that wasn’t the case.
We’ve seen strange things happen to this Orioles team all year. Balls falling in where they shouldn’t, balls being lost in the sun, balls sliding through the infield, etc. And often times, those small anomalies led to donnybrook-like innings which doomed the O’s on the spot. For once, those bounces fell the other way.
Adam Jones hit a lazy pop up towards Anaheim’s first baseman Cowart, who called for the ball. Couldn’t have been a more routine play, for what should have been the first out of the inning. But Cowart lost the ball in the sun, it fell in between first and second, and Jones was safe at first. It was only a single; but again, those are the types of plays which the Orioles have allowed to haunt them when they’ve happened to them.
And true to form, that play did in fact start a bit of a donnybrook. Manny Machado followed Jones to the plate, and smacked a two-run homer which gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead. That one mistake, that one mental lapse by Cowart…it gave the Orioles an opening, and they jumped through it. That was also a key point in the game because as much as I’ve written about teams holding the Orioles accountable for their mistakes, for once the O’s didn’t let an opponent off the hook.
Mark Trumbo came to the plate next, and the result was the same; Trumbo’s homer ran the lead to 3-1. Steve Wilkerson also smacked his first career extra-base hit later in the inning, which was an RBI-double and gave the Birds a 4-1 lead. And to cap things off, Tim Beckham‘s two-RBI double ran it to 6-1.
Again, think of how often the Orioles have made slight mistakes in games this year (such as Beckham hesitating to throw the ball to first base on Saturday), and how they’ve ballooned into bigger things which equaled big losses. That’s exactly what happened in the Orioles’ favor with Cowart losing that Jones pop up in the sun. I’m not suggesting that the O’s only won because of that, because when you’re given a gift it’s also about what you do with it. Most of the time when something like that has happened in the Orioles’ favor they’ve taken the aw shucks attitude and let the opponent off the hook Whereas when it’s happened to the Orioles (much more frequently than it’s happened for the Orioles, but I digress) the opponent hasn’t let them off the hook. For once the O’s took advantage today.
The O’s batted around in that fourth inning, which brought Trumbo back to the plate in the last of the fifth. And he delivered for the Birds, smacking a second solo home run. Later in the inning Trey Mancini would hit one as well, running the score to 8-1. Anaheim’s Calhoun would smack a solo shot of his own in the eighth, but that was as close as Oriole pitching was going to let Anaheim get as the Birds ran away with it in an 8-2 victory.
Those are the types of things that have been happening to us. I don’t care who you are, if the ball gets in the sun, it stays in the sun. … I thought one of the big keys today, the things we haven’t been doing, was the add-on runs. We get the six-spot and we add on some more runs. And that keeps a good mentality going.
Showalter was also asked in his press conference who his started was going to be on the Fourth of July in Philadelphia. He said that he had to update a few things and that an announcement would probably made on today’s off day. Interesting response, needless to say. However ultimately for one day, Orioles fans left the yard happy after a nice win.