Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's opening matchup in the three game set in Boston featured Scott Feldman and Ryan Dempster on the mound. The Red Sox jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st off Dustin Pedroia's solo home run. The Red Sox scored their second run of the night when Xander Bogaerts hit a liner to Nate McLouth which he dropped for an error, scoring Jarrod Saltalamacchia from third. Feldman and the relief staff would manage to prevent any further scoring. The Orioles couldn't get much going against Dempster until the 5th inning when Brian Roberts grounded in a run on a fielders choice. Chris Davis would knot the game up at 2-2 in the 6th with a moonshot to centerfield. Danny Valencia came up with a clutch triple in the 8th and pinch runner Alexi Casilla would score for him off a Matt Wieters sac fly. The good Jim Johnson we know and love showed up tonight to put the finishing touches on a 3-2 win.
Scott Feldman entered the game with a 1.77 ERA in his past six starts and would continue that trend with just one earned run (two total) through five innings work. Feldman, however, was on thin a few times in this outing but managed to get through five without putting the Orioles in a hole. His control was off and he fell behind in the count on many occasions as the patient Red sox hitters laid off his constant nibbling, drawing six walks, yes, six walks, against him.
Feldman allowed a solo home run to Dustin Pedroia in the 1st and would see Pedroia again in the 2nd inning with two outs and the bases loaded. Pedroia would line out to Brian Roberts to end the inning. The third inning went a little smoother with Feldman striking out Shane Victorino, inducing David Ortiz into a groundout to shifted Roberts, walking Mike Napoli, and getting Daniel Nava to flyout.
The 4th inning featued more tightrope walking for Feldman who walked Stephen Drew after Salty reached on an error. He managed to work out of a potential jam with a big double play off the bat of Pedroia. With his pitch count escalating in the 5th, Feldman walked Napoli again but struck out Ortiz and got Nava to flyout to left to finish off his outing.
Final Line: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 3 K, ND
T.J. McFarland was brought on to pitch the 6th inning and was on his A game tonight, retiring the side in order while striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew on a tailing two seam.
Kevin Gausman pitched the 7th and induded a grounball out and a double play after Pedroia reached first on a machado throwing error.
Brian Matusz faced David Ortiz to start off the 8th and got him to chase a 3-2 fastball out of the zone. Tommy Hunter was then brought in and retired Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava via flyout.
Jim Johnson entered the 9th and shut the door, striking out Bogaerts on a 96 MPH sinker to end the game. Hunter picked up the win.
The bullpen did their job tonight. Excellent work, boys.
The Orioles batters struggled to get much going on offense through the first four innings, managing just a single from Manny Machado and a walk from Danny Valencia. After Valencia walked again and J.J. Hardy doubled off the green monster, Brian Roberts "fielder's choiced" in a run. Chris Davis dropped an absolute bomb to straightaway center in the 6th. Valencia tripled in the 9th and would score the go ahead run on a Matt Wieters sac fly.
Valencia finished 1-for-2 with two walks.
Manny Machado recorded the only multi hit night going 2-for-4 with a double in the 7th inning.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
The 4th inning was a rare rough showing for an otherwise stellar defense. First, Machado allowed Salty to reach first on a fielding error. Next, Wieters had Salty gunned down at third but Salty managed to slide around Machado's tag. Then, Salty would score on a sinking line to McLouth that bounced in and out of his glove.
A Machado throwing error allowed Pedroia to reach in the 7th. Not a good night for Manuel. He would, however, start an inning ending double play on a groundball off the bat of the next hitter, Victorino.
Key Moments In The Game
Scott Feldman keeping his composure despite not having his best control. Especially in the 4th inning with runners on the corners and an unearned run already in, he buckled down, made good pitches to Pedroia and got him to ground into a double play.
Danny Valencia coming up with a big hit in the 9th along with Wieters making a productive out with a game winning sacrifice fly.
Other Notes/ Musings
That's home run number 51 for Chris Davis which means we have a new single season HR record for an Orioles player. Take a seat, Brady Anderson.
Steve Pearce officially rejoined the Orioles today from the DL as the Orioles said so long to Wilson Betemit yesterday via DFA.
Manny Machado is five doubles away from tying Brian Roberts single season doubles record (56).
Game Two will be same time tomorrow night with Wei-Yin Chen and Jake Peavy on the mound.
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