Baltimore Orioles’ starter Wade LeBlanc couldn’t make it out of the first inning yesterday. He surrendered a solo homer to Pillar on the second pitch, but with two outs he called for the trainer. LeBlanc left with what was later deemed elbow soreness, and Thomas Eshelman abruptly took over, pitching very well. Eshelman’s line: 4.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
The O’s loaded the bases in the last of the first but let Boston off the hook. They also loaded the bases in the last of the third, but weren’t quite as charitable. Rio Ruiz‘s two-RBI single gave the Birds a 2-1 lead. Almost immediately following Ruiz’s single, Andrew Velazquez pushed a bunt down the third base line, scoring a third run for the O’s.
Not a lot of guys are going to bunt with two strikes. And that might be part of the reason why Velazquez did it. Call it the element of surprise, perhaps. Either way it worked, and the O’s ended up with a two-run lead.
Boston however would rally in the fifth. Bogaerts’ RBI-double off the right field scoreboard would get them to within 3-2. However Miguel Castro recorded a strikeout with two outs, ending the threat with the O’s in the lead.
However the O’s got some insurance back in the seventh. Rio Ruiz’s two-RBI double gave them a 5-2 lead. And that turned into a 5-4 victory following Bradley’s two-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Another example of why insurance runs are important.
As sloppy as the first two games of the series were, the O’s earned a series split with Boston. That makes a world of difference in terms of momentum as they now hit the road. The Wade LeBlanc injury is a concern, and we’ll have to see where he stands moving forward. But tomorrow being an off day, the Orioles could also skip him in the rotation this week and not be too bad off. The Birds will head to Tampa for a series beginning Tuesday night following an off day tomorrow.