The Baltimore Orioles seem to be in perpetual bullpen mode when it comes to starting pitchers. Asher Wojchiekowski was pitching well, but only went four innings tonight before being lifted. Incidentally lots of teams operate in that manner now, but I’ve noticed that the Orioles seem to do it also here and there. Wojciechowski’s line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K.
The O’s took the lead early tonight on the heels of a Hanser Alberto single in the first inning. Cedric Mullins was already on first base, and he scored when the Tampa outfield misplayed the ball. Hey if a team like Tampa’s going to give you runs like that, you take them!
Mullins would later score on a fielder’s choice by Renato Nunez. The Birds led, 2-0 and appeared in control. However Lowe’s third inning two-run homer tied the game at two. Two innings later in the fifth Diaz grounded into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, giving Tampa a 3-2 lead.
As I’ve said, Tampa finds weird ways to score runs. That fielder’s choice came on a high Baltimore chop off the turf. The pitch of the chop allowed the Orioles to only record one out, which allowed a run to score. This as opposed to a ground ball double-play which would have gotten the Orioles out of the inning.
However as has been the case so often this season, Anthony Santander came to the Orioles’ rescue. To be blunt, the dude’s going out and having himself a season. He’s quickly winning the hearts and minds of Orioles fans from the Delaware line to Richmond (VA), and everywhere in between. He’s turning into a legit stud.
Nevertheless, his RBI-single in the seventh scored Hanser Alberto, and tied the game at three. However unfortunately, sometimes complaining does work. Tampa complained about the strike zone for most of the game. In the last of the eighth, it got really small for Oriole relievers. As a result, Perez smacked a misplaced slider out of the ballpark, giving Tampa a 4-3 lead. And a 4-3 victory.
Sometimes you have to roll with the punches. Tampa’s good at that. Their hitters adjusted to the strike zone. The Orioles did not. What that doesn’t change is the heroics of Anthony Santander, who lifted the team on it’s back when it needed it the most.
The series concludes tomorrow night at Tropicana Field. John Means gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Ryan Yarbrough. Game time is set for approximately 6:40 PM.