Baltimore Orioles: John Means solid, Birds fall late

Baltimore Orioles’ starter John Means followed up the best start of his life (a no-hitter) with about a lead solid an outing as one can have tonight at Citi Field against the New York Mets. Means didn’t yield another no-no, but he held the opponent scoreless for the second straight outing. And odds are he would have pitched deeper into the game had he not been coming up with the bases loaded and less than two outs. Means’ line: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Unfortunately for the Orioles, New York starter Stroman matched Means on just about every pitch. And that brought us into the seventh inning with no score. As I said, the bases were loaded with Means’ spot coming up. Under National League rules of course, Means had to hit.

But the O’s opted to lift him and they sent up Pat Valaika as a pinch hitter. And Valaika’s sac fly-RBI gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. One inning later with a runner on third, Freddy Galvis laid down a perfect bunt, squeezing the runner home. Galvis also beat the ball to first base, giving him an RBI-single, and giving the O’s a 2-0 lead.

Conforto’s RBI-single in the bottom of the eighth would get New York on the board. However after getting a couple of guys on in the ninth, they tied the game on Smith’s RBI-single. They would later walk off as winners on an infield RBI-single by Mazeika.

Closer Cesar Valdez gets the blown save and the loss. But New York had the look of crazy people in their eyes in the last of the ninth. They were determined. And the O’s stood in their way.

But that shouldn’t take anything away from Means’ performance. Technically I suppose one could argue that he fell off a bit given the fact that he didn’t pitch a no-hitter. But that’s obviously a tough act to follow. And this outing was strikingly good. It’s just a shame he was non-decisioned.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Citi Field. Former New York Met Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Taijuan Walker. Game time is set for just after 12 PM.

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