Andrew Cashner atoned for his Opening Day outing very well this evening at Rogers Centre in Toronto for the Baltimore Orioles. Cashner dominated a Toronto lineup which is as young and inexperienced as that of the Orioles, yet appears to have more issues in figuring out who they are or will be. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K.
Cashner was masterful. He didn’t surrender a hit until the last of the fourth inning. That was the first hit off of an Orioles’ starter since Sunday afternoon in the Bronx. For a team that didn’t know what it’s starting rotation was going to look like two weeks ago, that’s pretty impressive.
This game was a pitcher’s duel for most of the evening. Toronto’s starter Stroman matched Cashner almost pitch-for-pitch. However as can be the case in many instances, one team caught the opposing pitcher right as he was running out of gas. Best time to score runs against a pitcher who’s on his game, as Stroman was!
Stroman started to run out of gas in the sixth inning. Unfortunately for Toronto, they couldn’t get him out quick enough. Or more realistically they couldn’t get the bullpen ready in time. And that was to the Orioles’ benefit tonight.
The O’s got on the board in the top of the sixth on Jonathan Villar‘s RBI-triple. And it was a tight grounder all the way down the right field line and into the corner. Rogers Centre has been a house of horrors for the Birds over the years. But for once it was the Orioles who took advantage of the dimensions and the turf at the ballpark in the great white north, yielding them a run.
Later in that sixth inning Trey Mancini would plate Villar with an RBI-single, giving the Birds a 2-0 lead. And that would end up being the insurance run in a sense. The O’s threatened in the ninth but were unable to put an additional run across. Toronto would smack a solo homer in the last of the ninth, but that was the only threat they posed. And it was an inconsequential threat at the end of the day.
MASN’s Gary Thorne asked manager Brandon Hyde how the O’s are grinding games out after the game. His response was defense. When you’re playing good defense you’re limiting your opponents’ opportunities to put runs on the board. That in essence makes your opponent’s success contingent on the long ball. Which as we know is what the Orioles were last year. That aside, if you can keep guys off base by racking up outs, your odds of winning games goes up exponentially.