Written by Tony Pente
Chris Davis launched a pinch-hit, three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th to propel the Orioles to a dramatic 6-4 win over the White Sox. The Orioles scored all of their runs off home runs, scoring on a two-run homer by Adam Jones in the 1st inning and a solo homer by Caleb Joseph in the 8th. Brad Brach (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings of scoreless relief.
- Wei-Yin Chen came into this start going 2-0, with a 2.13 ERA with 20K and 2 BB over his last two starts. In the first inning, Chen matched those two walks by putting on the 2nd and 4th hitters with free passes, before getting out of the inning by getting Alexei Ramirez to fly out to left field. After giving up a run in the second inning, Chen tossed three scoreless innings, including a one-two-three 5th inning to put him at 80-pitches through five innings. In the 6th inning though, the White sox started to hit Chen hard as he turned over the order for the third time. Jose Abreu led off the inning with 22nd home run of the season and before Dayan Viciedo smoked a double to wall. After a ground out and a deep sac fly to right field, Chen allowed left-handed hitting Conor Gillespie to collect an opposite field RBI double on his 98th and final pitch of his night to make it 3-2, White Sox. Final Line: 5 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3K.
- Ryan Webb came on the 6th with Gillespie on second and got Sierra to fly out to keep it 3-2. In the 7th though, he allowed a lead off single then with two-outs and two strikes, Abreu struck again with a double that scored Tyler Flowers to make it 4-2.
- Brad Brach came on in the 8th and promptly walked the first batter before getting the next three batters. Using a solid 92-94 MPH fastball, 86-87 MH slider combo, Brach tossed a perfect 9th inning as well to keep it 4-3.
- In the first inning, after Steve Pearce drew a walk, Adam Jones clobbered a Chris Sale 1-1 changeup that landed on the top of left center wall before going over for a 2-run homer to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.
- Caleb Joseph picked up his first three-hit major league game with a 3-for-3 effort that included his second home run of his career that cut the White Sox lead to 4-3 in the 8th.
- In the 3rd inning White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie made an awkward dive to his right and then fumbled the ball to allow Jones to reach on an infield single. In the 5th inning, with runners on first and second and Hardy at the plate, Gillaspie was playing in too far and Hardy snuck in a single into left field that may have been a double play if he was playing at regular depth. It’s a good thing Gillespie can hit because he’s not going to have anyone thinking he’s the next Brooks Robinson over at the hot corner.
- In the second inning, Manny Machado took away a possible double with a nice backhanded stab before throwing a strike to Pearce at first base for the out.
- In the 6th inning, Nelson Cruz made a nice try by diving for a ball that eventually went off his glove for an RBI double that put the White Sox ahead 3-2. That was a play David Lough makes fairly easily.
- In the top of the 8th inning with a man on first and one out, the Orioles defense was not on the same sheet of music. Joseph called for a pitch out as Ramirez took a step and a half towards second base then stopped. Pearce though made no attempt to cover first base and Joseph had to hold his pickoff throw that most likely would have gotten the runner with any kind of decent throw.
Key Moments in game
- With runners on 1st and 3rd and one out in the third inning, Delmon Young struck out on a down and away change by Chris Sale after seeing six straight fastballs. Sale then struck out JJ Hardy to get out of the inning.
- In the bottom of the 4th with two on and no outs, Caleb Joseph put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners over. Sale then hit Nick Markakis on the jersey on a 1-2 count to load the bases to bring up hot-hitting Steve Pearce. Pearce fouled off six straight pitches before flying out to medium right field on the 8th pitch he saw, but it wasn’t enough to get Machado home due to Moisés Sierra’s good arm (Note: Moisés Sierra’s throw was down the line and probably would have scored Machado). That brought up Adam Jones who struck out on a 95-mph high and away fastball.
- With the bases loaded and no one out in the 5th inning, Machado hit a weak ground ball to Gillespie who fired home to get the force. Jonathan Schoop then hit into a tailor made 4-6-3 double play to get Sale out of another jam with no runs scored.
- Gillespie made up for his defense by collecting a two-out opposite field RBI double to put the White Sox up 3-2 in the 6th.
- In the bottom of the 9th, the Orioles got runners on 1st and second with no outs against Sox closer Ronald Belesario. Belesario got Nelson Cruz to strike out on a slider but Buck Showalter went to his bench and pinch-hit Chris Davis for Delmon Young. Davis got behind 1-2, but worked it to 3-2 before launching a slider for a three-run walk off homer over the right field fence.
Observations and musings
- A 12-pitch at bat to Moises Sierra ran Chen’s pitch count to 41 through just two innings despite giving up no hits. Wei-Yen Chen used 17 of his 66 pitches to retire Sierra twice through four innings of work. Sierra came into the game batting .118 (4-34) against lefties.
- Although the Orioles left seven runners on through the first four innings against Sale, they had several good at bats that pushed his pitch count to 83.
- Only in the world of MLB does voting 35 times for your favorite Oriole get you the possibility of a reward.
- Nelson Cruz dropped a single into medium rightfield despite his bat smashing into two pieces.
- The “Go you Chicken Fat, go” song on the Apple commercial may be one of the most annoying and condescending songs I’ve heard in a long time in a commercial.
- Chris Davis may have dislocated Buck Showalter’s shoulders after a wicked two-handed “low ten”. I’m guessing Buck let’s Davis get the pump out before getting his congratulations next time.
- It was Chris Davis’ first pinch hitting appearance of the season and his second pinch hit home run of his career.
- According to MASN, this was the Orioles first pinch-hit walkoff home run since Larry Sheets did it 1988.
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