John Means made one bad pitch for the Baltimore Orioles today. Other than that he pitched well enough to win. And he deserved to get the win. But that isn’t how it always works out in baseball. Means’ line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
The Birds found themselves trailing early when Zimmerman’s RBI-groundout scored a run in the first inning. But they didn’t trail for long. Come the last of the first Trey Mancini sent a shot deep into the left field grandstand, tying the game at one.
One inning later, it was Maikel Franco’s turn. His solo shot gave the Birds the lead, which was extended to 3-1 in the fourth on a solo homer by Ryan Mckenna. At least for awhile the ball was flying off of Oriole bats.
However the mid to late part of the game slowed down. It kind of turned into a long slog. Of course Washington used this time to take the lead. Zimmerman, once again – this time a three-run homer. This gave Washington a 4-3 lead.
The O’s already had the series. Nobody would have necessarily blamed them for dropping the finale. But they fought on. To their credit.
The Birds loaded the bases in the ninth. Pat Valaika’s sac fly-RBI tied the game at four. Ramon Urias came to the plate as a pinch hitter, with a chance for the Orioles to walk Washington off. And to sweep the series.
Urias sent a bouncer to third. Ryan McKenna ran on contact – which to be honest, I felt was a mistake. Yet, I probably look to play it safe a little too often. And go figure, the throw from third was off line. McKenna slid in under the throw, and the Birds walked off as 5-4 winners. The okay was reviewed, and upheld.
Manager Brandon Hyde addressed his decision to send McKenna after the game:
We had one of our better guys to have at third base in that situation, obviously running on contact there. McKenna got a really nice read, ball hit dirt early, great slide at the end. I was just kind of hoping the throw would be off-line. He’s a plus runner and got a good break. … Good things happen when you put the ball in play and Mac with a really nice contact read there. Was a fun one.Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
Again, I would have held the runner. But had they done that…all bets would have been off. It’s a win. And had I been in the dugout odds are I would have managed them right out of said win!