POWERBALL - Orioles beat Yankees 6-to-3. Win Series.
Written by Mike Laws
O’s blast off to series win over Yanks
New York Yankees 3, Orioles 6
Glass half-empty: The Orioles should’ve swept this series. They had a chance for the rare win over big CC, and failed to seize the opportunity. If Jim Johnson hadn’t blown that save, and the other two in the week leading up to it, the team would now be a game ahead of the hated Yankees in the AL East.
Glass half-full: The Orioles just took two of three from the division front-runners. They rewrote a script that, coming into the week, had them in a free-fall, with no bottom in sight. Their starting pitching not only held up, but came through with flying colors. They not only beat an opposing hurler they (quote-unquote) shouldn’t have — Hiroki Kuroda, he of the sub-2.00 ERA coming into the Wednesday rubber match — they also beat up on him (literally, even, as well as figuratively), forcing him from the ballgame before he could record an out in the third inning.
Maybe it’s just my orange-tinted shades, but I prefer Paragraph No. 2, up there. In either case, on to the bullet points!
- Man oh man oh man was Camden Yards a launching pad tonight. Not that it hasn’t been all series long, but still: Of the nine runs for which the teams combined, fully one — a Curtis Granderson double/Robinson Cano single, in the Yankee third — came by way of some avenue other than the long ball. Manny Machado nearly hit one, with one down in the Oriole half of the first, lifting a fly that died just shy of the wall in left; Nick Markakis followed by belting a Kuroda curveball out into that little moat between fence and back-wall, in right-center. 1-0, Birds. And something like three minutes later, after Adam Jones kept the inning alive with a broken-bat flare into center, Chris Davis did what Chris Davis does, absolutely unloading on a 3-2 fastball, depositing one of his patented towering no-doubters into the bleachers below the big scoreboard. 3-0. Did someone say it was Matt Wieters’s turn? Well, not yet, big fella — the Oriole catcher’s rocket line-drive smashed off the out-of-town scoreboard, good for a double. And though the Orioles would wind up stranding Wieters to end the first, Matt wouldn’t have to wait long for another shot. In the third, the lead now at 3-1, with two men aboard (Jones doubled, Davis singled), Wieters greeted Yankee reliever Preston Claiborne (on to spell an ailing Kuroda, who in addition to simply not looking all that sharp had taken a Machado liner off his calf, back in the second) rather rudely, getting his arms extended on an offering left high and away, drilling it off the facing of that back-wall in right-center, whence it (again) dropped into that little moat-type area (or whatever you want to call it). That’s now 6-1, O’s …
- Oh yeah and also there were Yankee solo shots from Granderson (in the fifth) and David Adams (the ninth) in there as well, but who the hell wants to hear about those? Besides, those were but blips on the radar of the Oriole staff, tonight, with Jason Hammel, as per usual thus far into his 2013 campaign, having to battle, but largely emerging triumphant: He’d surrender a leadoff single and an eventual two-out walk, in the first, before getting Lyle Overbay swinging to end the threat, then required twenty pitches to work around a single from Ichiro, in the second. He’d need one more than that to limit the damage in the third, eventually inducing a rally-killing double play from Overbay; it wasn’t till the fourth that Hammel would enjoy a nice, quick one-two-three trip to the slab. He’d repeat the feat in the sixth, after having coughed up the Granderson dinger the inning prior, and, with two down in the seventh, having just delivered his hundred-and-ninth pitch of the ballgame, was lifted in favor of Brian Matusz. If Hammel was a little hard to watch, between the slightly inflated number of runners allowed and the verrrrrrry deliberate pace at which he worked — well, hey, I guess the results are worth it. And those results proved good enough for the Oriole top-man’s sixth win of the season (against just two losses, which puts him, in terms of record, a half-game ahead of the vaunted Kuroda). In any event, it was now up to the bullpen to preserve that win, which Matusz (one and a third: one walk, nothing else) and Darren O’Day (one inning — the ninth — and the leadoff shot from Adams, but nothing after that, plus two K’s) did with gusto (with an extra tip of the cap to O’Day for refusing to allow another Yankee runner following the homer, thus avoiding the need to call upon the warming, not to mention overworked, Johnson, and thereby provoke fate unnecessarily). 6-3, O’s — and a much-needed, optimism-restoring series victory — is your final.
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