Asher Wojchiekowski turner in perhaps the best pitching performance for the Baltimore Orioles this year. Wojchiekowski took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before Boston finally got their first hit of the game this afternoon, this under sweltering conditions at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Wojciechowski’s line: 7.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K.
Despite the heat and despite Boston’s outstanding lineup, Wojciechowski thrived on this Sunday afternoon. In fact, Orioles’ pitching as a whole thrived. The lone seventh inning hit surrendered by Wojchiekowski was the only hit the O’s gave up all game. When Brandon Hyde went out to get him (Wojciechowski), he applauded along with the fans.
And the best news is that Oriole bats didn’t waste the effort by the pitching staff. Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the first inning, and the Birds were off to the races. One inning later Chris Davis‘ RBI-double gave the O’s a 2-0 lead.
Davis was starting to get on base more frequently as the all-star break hit. He struggled a bit after the break, but is now slowly working his average up again. Is it possible that Davis could have a semi-respectable second half? What would that look like, and how could it positively impact the O’s?
Mancini came around again in the order in the third, and smacked his second home run of the game. This one of the two-run variety. That put the Birds up 4-0, a lead that got an insurance run when Jonathan Villar hit a solo homer in the eighth.
And it’s a good thing they did. Boston put Betts on base in the ninth inning against Mychal Givens, who felt that the strike zone suddenly got smaller in the ninth. In a situation as such (up five or more runs in the ninth), teams generally don’t hold runners on base. The idea of course being that a team isn’t going to attempt to steal down that much that late.
However Betts decided to steal second base. Given that Givens and the Orioles weren’t ready for that, he took second base. That put the O’s on notice that Boston wasn’t looking to go quietly into the night – unwritten codes be damned. How it looks scrimping and fighting for getting one run into scoring position down that many in the last inning is another story. But they made the Orioles work to get out of the inning and get the win. And they did.
The Birds now head to Arizona for a three-game interleague set against former Oriole Adam Jones. Aaron Brooks gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Arizona’s Robbie Ray. Game time is set for just after 9:30 PM.