Written by Chris Slade
The Orioles found themselves in a 1-0 hole in the first inning after rookie Matt Davidson collected his first RBI, driving in Martin Prado from third. Runs have been hard to come by on Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin this year, who entered the game, sporting a 2.53 ERA. That wasn't the case in the second inning when Nick Markakis came through with a key two out single that drove in two runs. Manny Machado then hit a laser two run shot to give the Orioles a 4-1 lead. A Gerardo Parra triple that Jones just barely missed catching for the third out drove in Didi Gregorious from first to cut the O's lead to 4-2 in the 3rd. Both starting pitchers settled down after the 3rd, cruising through the 6th inning without any further score. The Diamondbacks would cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the 7th on an RBI single off Darren O'Day. Jim Johnson let crap hit the fan again in the 9th, blowing the save for the second consecutive day, but got out of the inning with the game still tied.
We're headed for extras...
Nate McLouth blew a golden scoring opportunity by grounding into a double play with the bases loaded in the top of the 10th. Troy Patton retired the side in the bottom of the 10th to keep the game alive. After Roberts singled with one out, Ryan Flaherty grounded into an inning ending double play. Tommy Hunter also retired the side in th 11th to keep the game going for at least another inning. D'backs releiver Josh Collmenter set down the Orioles bats once again in the top of the 12th. Hunter stayed on to pitch the bottom half of the inning and once again, retired the side. The Orioles hitters still couldn't solve Collmenter so the game remained tied heading into the bottom of the 13th. Hunter retired the side once more (yep, NOW the bullpen pitches well) while Heath Bell shut down the Orioles hitters in the top of the 14th. The bullpen options had been exhausted so Bud Norris got the calll to pitch the 14th. The game ended after an Aaron Hill RBI single.
Chris Tillman, coming off a brilliant outing in San Francisco, didn't dominate but pitched a decent game this time out. Tillman started out the game with a meh first inning, allowing a double, walk, and RBI single. Tillman didn't fare much better in the 2nd, allowing a double to Didi Gregorious and an RBI triple to Gerardo Parra. However, he settled in from there and despite not having his usual strikeout stuff, held the Diamondbacks to two runs through the 6th inning. In those innings, he showed good command of his fastball and induced several groundouts on his 12-6 curveball. Like his outing in San Fran, Tillman would ultimately get no-decisioned.
Final Line: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
Aside from Franky Rodriguez, the bullpen has laid a giant stinkbomb this series. Today, the relief corps bent again, and broke again, unfortunately.
Brian Matusz took over in the 7th and promptly allowed a bunt single to Tony Campana. Campana then stole second easily on Darren O'Day, who entered the game after Matusz retired Parra.
A wild pitch allowed Campana to reach third. Then, Prado lined an RBI single off O'Day into leftfield. Right about now I'm starting to think, "Here we go again" as Paul Goldschmidt steps into the box. Goldschmidt walked and I had the same thought as Aaron Hill stepped up. Luckily, O'Day was able to retire both Hill and Davidson to end the inning.
Francsico Rodriguez entered the 8th inning and gave up a lead off double to Wil Nieves. He would buckle down and prevent the runner from scoring, striking out pinch hitter Jason Kubel to end the 8th.
As I took a deep breath and braced for potential impact, Jim Johnson allowed a leadoff double to Gerardo Parra. Parra caught the yips at second on what should've been a successful sac bunt by Prado. I thought that was a good sign. I was wrong. After intentionally walking Goldschmidt, Hill lined the game tying RBI single into left field.
Troy Patton was brought on to face two lefties and pinch hitter Randall Delgado (yes, yesterday's starting pitcher) in bottom of the 10th. He retired them in order.
Tommy Hunter entered the bottom of the 11th and retired the side in order on three groundouts. He stayed on for the 12th and retired the side again, punching out two in the process. He pitched in the 13th too, once again retired the side, giving him three perfect innings.
Bud Norris was brought on in the 14th and surrendered the game winning run.
All of the scoring took place in the 2nd inning. What an exciting inning that was in hindsight.
Manny Machado reached base on an infield single in the first. He hit a two run homer in the second with two outs to extend the Orioles lead. He would finish 3-for-5.
Chris Davis worked a walk against Corbin in his first plate appearance. Corbin would get the best of Davis via strikeout his next two at bats. Davis ended his 0-fer with two singles in extras.
Taylor Teagarden actually hit the ball today, not once, not twice, but THREE times for base hit singles in the 2nd, 4th, and 7th. He finished 3-for-4. Attaboy.
Brian Roberts continued his torrid performance this series. Singled up the middle in the 2nd and 4th. Singled once more in the top of the 11th. Finished 3-for-5 on the day and 7-for-12 in the series.
Nick Markakis had himself a clutch two out RBI single in the 2nd and would finish 1-for-5.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
Young Manuel once again made a Brooks Robinson esque diving stop of ball that off the bat looked like a sure fire double for Matt Davidson down the line. He made a great one hop throw over to first that Davidson just beat out. The play likely prevented Hill from scoring from first.
It's not an easy play but its a play Jones has made before and will again. I'm talking about the ball he just missed off the bat of Gerardo Parra that went for a triple.
Aaron Hill made a nice diving catch off the bat of J.J. Hardy in the 8th inning.
Key Moments In The Game
The Orioles four run scoring barrage in the second inning. All four runs were scored with two outs. This was key because once a pitcher of Corbin's caliber settles in and finds his A command, he'll dominate. That's exactly what happened as Corbin prevented any further run scoring over his seven innings of work, striking out seven in the process.
Aaron Hill's RBI single in the 9th...
Aaron Hill's RBI single in the 14th...
Other Notes/ Musings
Tillman's first and only strikeout came on his 104th and final pitch against a hacking Didi Gregorious to end the 6th. Delayed but not denied.
We had some Orioles fans from...Montana? Yes, the MASN camera crew cutaway to these fine folks in the stands proudly holding a big banner that displayed their support for Tillman and let the viewers know they were from Montana.
I made a jab at Mr. Teagarden under the hitting section because entering the game today, he was just 6-for-48 on the season. That's putrid.
Several times throughout the broadcast, I was able to hear some fan screaming like a banshee (to quote Brian Billick) before an Orioles pitcher delivered a pitch. Gave me a good laugh.
If it's bad when a player forgets how many outs there are, it's especially bad when the pitcher does. After striking out Matt Davidson in the 12th for the second out, Tommy Hunter began to head for the dugout. Forgivable though, when he pitched three perfect innings.
What's not forgivable is the manner in which the Orioles got swept this series. Hopefully, a day off tomorrow and a return back home Friday will allow them to move on and right the ship with a series win over the Rockies.
Visit the Orioles Hangout Message Board