Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's game kicked off a four-game set with the Rangers and featured Ubaldo Jimenez and former Oriole lefty Joe Saunders on the mound. The Orioles made quick work of getting runs on the board as Steve Pearce hit a two-run homer followed by an Adam Jones solo shot in the 1st inning. J.J .Hardy added another home run in the 2nd inninng. Pearce hit another two-run shot in the 4th because he's the man. The Rangers scored in the 5th on a fielding error by Chris Davis and the the Orioles added their 7th run in the same inning on a Caleb Joseph sac fly.
Ubaldo Jimenez has been long overdue for a win at home and finally got one tonight. He entered this game with an 0-6 record and 6.28 ERA at Camden Yards. Control issues have plagued many of his home outings this year but so has a noticeable lack of run support in other home outings. Neither was an issue tonight. The Orioles spotted him an early 3-0 lead and Ubaldo never looked back. He was in cruise control throughout the outing and pitched 8 innings for the 1st time the season. The key for him was improved fastball command, particularly early in the count. He limited the Rangers to just one walk throughout, a minor miracle for Jimenez, considering he leads the AL in walks. Getting ahead consistently, also allowed Jimenez to set up the Rangers with his tough to hit slider and splitter late in the count. The Rangers were only able to gather four hits and struck out seven times. One of his best outings of the year and a deserved win.
Final Line: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, BB, 7 K, Win
Ramon Ramirez just had his contract purchased from Norfolk today and made his Oriole debut in the 9th. He pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two batters.
Joe Saunders has proven to be very hittable this year. He also has proven to be a flyball over the course of his career. He also throws lefthanded and was facing a lineup full of lefty killers. Those three factors plus a hot summer night at Camden Yards will often lead to the exact kind of gopher ball show we saw tonight through the first five innings.
Steve Pearce led the way with his first career multi-homer night, both two-run dongs, in the 1st and 4th innings.
J.J. Hardy hit his 2nd home run of the year and raised his average to .294 with a 2-for-3 night at the plate.
Adam Jones is the most notable lefty killer in the Orioles lineup (.412/.474/.753 vs lefties this year) and sure enough, came up big with a 2-for-3 night, including a solo home run in the 1st.
Jonathan Schoop also quietly had a 2-for-4 night at the plate and scored on Pearce's home run in the 4th.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
Chris Davis made the start at third base tonight and showed surprisingly good range on a couple plays. However, he did make a throwing error in the 5th inning that allowed Leonys Martin to score on the play.
Caleb Joseph threw out Elvis Andrus, a legitimate baserunner, in the 7th inning on a strike down the second.
Adam Jones made a great sliding stop on a ball in the right center gap in the 4th and nearly threw out Robinson Chirinos at second, who was ruled safe after video review.
Key Moments In The Game
The first inning was key for the Orioles as a 3-0 lead allowed Ubaldo Jimenez to work with a comfortable lead for once.
Other Notes/ Musings
Steve Pearce is the man. Something only a fellow Gamecock fan as myself could have understood coming into his breakout year. He can flat out hit. Just needed an opportunity to play every day to prove it.
I don't care what Caleb Joseph's pop times say. The guy clearly knows how to use his "below-average arm strength" to make pinpoint throws down to second base on a regular basis and his CS percentage of nearly 50% backs that up.
Ubaldo Jimenez has now allowed just three walks over his last two starts. Please, build off of that, Ubaldo. Don't revert to your Daniel Cabrera-esque ways. I apologize for mentioning that name.
But, seriously, the O's need more consistency from Ubaldo and a big second half like he had last year would be crucial for an Oriole rotation that's lacking a true number one.
T.J. McFarland has been confirmed as tomorrow night's starting pitcher. Nick Martinez will oppose him for the Rangers.
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