Written by Bruce Smith
For the second straight Friday, the Orioles and the Mariners were pitted against each other. Last week the Orioles pulled out a 2-1 win in Safeco Field. Tonight, the teams played in Camden Yards but the score was once again 2-1 Orioles over the Mariners. Wei Yin Chen had a really strong start getting into the 8th inning. Manny Machado and JJ Hardy both had big two out RBI singles.
The Orioles have now played seven straight one run games which is a new club record. The team has gone 5-2 during that run and continues to win the close games. With the win the Orioles are 61-47. Despite the Blue Jays going 9-1 over their last 10 games, the Orioles continue to lead the division by three games in the loss column.
Wei Yin Chen pitched his best game over the year in the last start against the Mariners. He went eight innings and gave up no runs. Tonight, Chen was even better in my opinion despite giving up a run. He used his slider, curve, and changeup to maximum effect and kept the Mariners off balance all night. Chen’s slider has continued to get tighter as the year has progressed and is now a weapon most of the time.
The Mariners scored their run in the fourth on a Robinson Cano single followed by a Kendry Morales double. The Orioles very nearly threw Cano out at home, but Caleb Joseph received a tough short hop on the throw from JJ Hardy and was unable to hold onto it.
Chen’s final line was 7.1 IP, 5 hits, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 104 pitches, 75 strikes, and the win. Chen is now 12-3 on the season.
Andrew Miller made his first appearance as an Oriole in relief of Chen in the 8th. He sandwiched a walk to Robinson Cano between two easy outs to get out of the inning. The Orioles gave up a lot to get Miller in my opinion, but there is no doubt that he is a really good relief pitcher and he will help the Orioles the rest of the season.
Zach Britton came in and got another routine save recording three straight outs on weak contact.
The Orioles plated their first run in the third inning. Delmon Young started the inning off with a nice double to the right field corner. Caleb Joseph and Jon Schoop both struck out. Nick Markakis got the proverbial swinging bunt down the third base line to put runners on the corners with two outs. Manny Machado deposited the first pitch he saw, a high changeup, into centerfield to drive in the Orioles first run. Adam Jones struck out to end the inning.
The Orioles missed a great chance to score in the fourth inning. Nelson Cruz worked himself into a good count before hitting a backspin bullet over the centerfielder’s head for a lead-off double. Chris Davis flew out for the first out, but Elias threw a wild pitch and JJ Hardy drew a nice walk to put runners on the corners with one out. Delmon Young worked himself into a good count before hitting a one hop seed to the shortstop who proceeded to turn the easy inning ending double play.
The Orioles were close to blowing an even better scoring chance in the 6th inning. Machado led off with a ringing double off the right-center field fence. Jones then hit a bouncer to short. Machado took off for the third base. The shortstop was going to attempt to throw him out, but instead fumbled the ball. Everyone ended up safe which gave the Orioles runners on the corners and no outs. Cruz and Davis were then both called out on third strikes that pitch track showed to be just off the corner. With two outs, JJ Hardy had a very nice at bat, worked himself into a hitter’s count, and laced a line drive right back up the middle to pick up the two out RBI. The hit gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
Caleb Joseph threw a runner out trying to steal, but also picked up an error on another attempted caught stealing when his throw bounced past JJ Hardy.
Key Moments In The Game
Both Orioles runs were knocked in by two out hits after it appeared that the leadoff double would be wasted.
Machado continues to rake the ball and look every bit the young superstar on the rise. He went 3-4 on the night.
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