Today is Patriot’s Day throughout New England, and the Baltimore Orioles were simply the opponent. The Boston Red Sox always play a special 11 AM home game on this holiday, and again the Orioles were supposed to just be the opponent. Dan Straily got the start, and effectively dominated Boston – on their day, no less. Straily’s line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
This was the second year in a row that the Orioles were scheduled to be the opponent on Patriot’s Day in Boston, although last year’s game was rained out and rescheduled. I suspect that Boston is wishing that the same had happened today. On their holiday and in front of their fans, they were taken to task by the Birds.
The Orioles got on the board early on an RBI-single by Renato Nunez in the second inning. And in reality, they never looked back. The fifth inning was where the big damage was done however, as the O’s put up three runs and busted the game wide open. Jonathan Villar smacked an RBI-single of his own, and Dwight Smith Jr.’s two-run homer gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead.
Boston’s lone run on the morning/afternoon came in the last of the fifth on a controversial play in which Pearce grounded into a fielder’s choice, allowing a run to score. However Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde challenged the play, claiming that a Boston runner had overshot the base. While replays were inconclusive, Hyde had a decent argument. The problem was that he continued to argue after the play was upheld by instant replay – earning him his first ejection as a big league manager.
So on a very early day, Hyde was sent for his first early shower. But it didn’t make the Orioles fold by any means. If anything, it emboldened them. In the finale of a series in which Chris Davis got his first hit of the season, he also recorded his first homer of the year. This of the two-run variety in the top of the eighth. One inning later Dwight Smith would add a two-RBI double, giving the O’s an 8-1 victory.
Make no mistake that while this goes down as a series split, it might as well be a series win for the Orioles. There are very few circumstances in which a rebuilding team would expect to do anything less than lose or get swept in a series by the defending World Series champions. Especially at their place, and with the series finale being on a special holiday (to the home team).
Perhaps more importantly, Chris Davis broke out this weekend in Boston. Granted Boston’s pitching hasn’t been the greatest, and this weekend was no exception. But if Davis can somehow use this series as a launching point to becoming some sort of force on offense once again, the Orioles will be in great shape.
The O’s now head south to Tampa for a three-game set at Tropicana Field starting tomorrow. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Tyler Glasnow. Game time is set for just after 7 PM tomorrow night.