Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's pitching matchup pitted Miguel Gonzalez up against Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka, who was making his Yankee Stadium debut.
The Orioles made that debut look sour early in the game when Jonathan Schoop blasted a three-run homer in the 2nd. The Yankees responded with a pair of solo tanks from Carlos Beltran and Kelly Johnson in the bottom of the 2nd.
Tanaka settled in and turned in a nice home debut effort while the Yankees were able to tie the game a 3-3, folowing a RBI groundout to score Beltran.
Miguel also registered a quality start and the game remained tied until the top of the 9th inning. The Orioles tacked two runs on the board after leading off the inning with four consecutive singles. Nick Markakis drove in a run on his single and Chris Davis brought home the other run on a sac fly.
Tommy Hunter held on for the save despite allowing a run on a Brian Roberts sac fly and the Orioles leave New York with a big series win!
Miguel Gonzalez needed a good start tonight after his disastorus season debut in Detroit. He entered the game with a solid track record in Yankee Stadium aside from a few gopher ball issues. Those gopher ball issues creeped up again tonight with Carlos Beltran and Kelly Johnson taking him yard in the 2nd inning.
Gonzo buckled down and cruised through the third, highlighted by a nice paint job of a 91 mph fastball on the low outside corner to sit down Derek Jeter. Beltran, an orioles nemesis in the making, lead off with a double in the 4th. Gonzalez managed through the inning and got out of it with just Beltran scoring on a groundout. He cruised through the 5th and 6th inning and left the game with a relatively low pitch count of just 85 pitches.
His best pitch of the night was his last as he painted the outside corner with a dandy 76 mph curveball on a 3-2 count to strike out Alfonso Soriano. This was an improved outing from Gonzalez. Not a sexy effort on his part (and he lived dangerously with his fastball command at times) but he limited the damage and kept the O's in the ball game with 6 relatively solid innings of work.
Final Line: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 3 K, ND
Evan Meek took over in the 7th and cruised through the inning 1-2-3. He got Brian Roberts to strike out swinging on a high fastball and painting the upper outside corner with a 91 mph cutter to Yangervis Solarte for his second strikeout. Meek allowed a leadoff double in the 8th to Brett Gardner but retired the next batter Jeter on a groundout.
Buck made the call for lefty specialist Brian Matusz and the decision paid off. Matusz retired Ellsbury on a popout to third, intentionally walked Beltran, and got brian McCann to fly out to center to end the inning.
Tommy Hunter made us nervous in the 9th as he allowed a leadoff double to Alfonso Soriano who would go on to score on a Brian Roberts sac fly. With one on and one out, he induced a game ending double play off the bat of Yangervis Solarte to seal the win.
The Orioles jumped on Tanaka in the 2nd inning but struggled to get much going against him from there on. Matt Wieters and Steve Lomardozzi got on via singles and Jonathan Schoop deposited on a belt high fastball for a huge three run bomb.
Once Tanaka settled in, he did a great job of keeping the Orioles bats in check with a nasty slider and split-changeup combo which the likes of Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and Nelson Cruz flailed at several times in the dirt. His fastball command was a bit iffy at times so the Orioles were able to gets their hits here and there from innings 3-through-7. But, Tanaka came up with strikeouts early and often to work out of the innings and finished with 10 on the night.
Ryan Flaherty hit a big leadoff double in the 9th and Jonathan Schoop, Nick Markakis, and Delmon Young followed that up with a trio of singles. Flaherty and Schoop would score the Orioles 4th and 5th runs.
Young finished 3-for-5 for the second consecutive night and looks very comfortable at the plate.
Adam Jones and Schoop recorded the other multi-hit nights for the Orioles offense.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
While neither play was egregious enough to charge an error, Chris Davis misplayed two groundballs on the night that he normally makes a play on for an out. The first one took place in the 1st inning off the bat of Brett Gardner. The second one took place in the 9th on a Kelly Johnson grounder that put runners on the corners with no outs and made me nervous abaout hwo the inning would turn out.
The Orioles turned three double plays in the game, the most crucial of which ended the game in the 9th. Davis redeemed himself with a nice scoop of Steve Lombardozzi's bouncing relay thro to first.
Key Moments In The Game
Jonathan Schoop coming through with a three-run bomb in the 2nd. Tanaka held the Oriole bats at bay the rest of his outing so it proved crucial that the Orioles were able to get an early lead on him.
You'll have to take my word for it but for some reason I felt the need to text multiple people before Schoop's at bat in the 2nd that he was about to hit a tank and sure enough, he did.
I tested my luck again with Chris Davis and the bases loaded in the 9th and got a sac fly out of it. Not bad.
The Orioles now have their first 2-game win streak of the year! Baby steps.
The sight of Brian Roberts in pinstripes made me want to yak. Just doesn't look natural.
The O's have off tomorrow and head home on Friday to face the Blue Jays at 7:05 ET.
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