The Baltimore Orioles could have been forgiven for losing tonight. Bruce Zimmerman was supposed to start but was sent to the IL with Bicep Tendinitis at the last minute. So they called up Thomas Eshelman from triple-A Norfolk to make the start. Eshelman’s line: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.
Eshelman obviously didn’t pitch deep enough to qualify for the win. However he gave the Orioles an incredibly solid outing that really set the tone for a win. That isn’t too shabby for a guy who was just up from triple-A earlier today. He acted as a stopper, helping the O’s snap an eight-game losing streak.
While Eshelman probably should have been the story, he wasn’t. On the backdrop of his tee-shirt night, Cedric Mullins continued his amazing first half with a performance worthy of being an All-Star. He led the game off with a solo homer, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead, which would stand until the fifth.
Gurriel’s solo homer in that fifth inning would tie the game. It was the one mistake Eshelman made. Other than that he was stellar. Which given that he had just joined the team today, is outstanding.
But the O’s almost immediately got the lead back. Austin Hays’ RBI-single in the last of the fifth put the Birds back in the lead at 2-1. We also got to see something we hadn’t seen in some time: the Birds adding insurance runs. Freddy Galvis’ RBI-single in the last of the eighth extended the lead to 3-1.
But the O’s weren’t done yet. Maikel Franco also added an RBI-single, making it 4-1. And Mullins came up again with two on. For good measure mind you, he smacked his second ball of the game out of the ballpark. His three-run homer earned him the first Orioles’ curtain call in however long, and earned the Birds a 7-1 win.
Cedric Mullins has been incredibly valuable to the O’s thus far. And yes, he’s worthy of an All-Star game birth. And as a starter at that. Both he and Thomas Eshelman in effect won the game for the O’s tonight, snapping the aforementioned eight-game skid.
The series continues tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Alex Manoah. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.