Baltimore Orioles: Matt Harvey with the win as Birds hold on

Matt Harvey took to the hill for the Baltimore Orioles tonight in Miami. This was also the Birds’ first foray into interleague play, which meant that they O’s lost their DH – and Harvey had to hit. But that didn’t seem to stop the Orioles’ bats, which were hot from the beginning and gave Harvey a deep cushion. Harvey’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Maikel Franco‘s RBI-groundout in the first inning put the O’s in the driver’s seat. It also set the tone. Later in the inning Rio Ruiz smacked a two-RBI double, and the O’s led 3-0. They batted around in the first inning, ironically giving Harvey an at-bat before he even took to the mound.

But more importantly, he had the lead when he got on the mound. He did give a run back in the last of the first, but following an uneventful second inning the Birds opened the game wide open. Trey Mancini and Freddy Galvis each smacked solo homers. That gave the Birds a 5-1 lead in South Florida. One inning later they extended the lead to 6-1 on DJ Stewart‘s RBI-double.

Here’s the issue with having that sort of lead that early in a ballgame: there’s plenty of time for the opponent to come back. And Miami started chipping away. They put two across in the fifth, and two in the sixth. Before they knew it, the Orioles’ 6-1 lead had evaporated and it was only a 6-5 one-run lead.

Freddy Galvis’ RBI-single in the eighth gave the O’s a bit of insurance. But the good news is that the Orioles’ pen was sure, and they closed out the victory without much more drama. And given that this is a two-game series, winning game one is a big deal.

The downside of this win is that Anthony Santander sprained his ankle while on base in the top of the first inning. Santander appeared to be in pain, and had to be helped into the dugout. That’s definitely something on which to keep an eye. It wouldn’t shock me to see Santander headed to the IL tomorrow.

The short series in Miami concludes tomorrow afternoon at LoanDepot Park. Bruce Zimmerman gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Miami’s Trevor Rogers. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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