Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's game kicked off a three-game set with the Yankees with Bud Norris and Chris Capuano on the mound. Derek Jeter drove in a run in the 1st and Nelson Cruz sac flied in a run to tie the game up. The Yankees scored twice on a bizarre play in the 3rd that involved two throwing errors. Adam Jones drove in a run on a single to cut te lead to 3-2. Chris Davis then put the O's ahead 4-3 with a two-run bomb in the 5th. Jones doubled in a run in the 7th and Cruz followed up with a two-run tank to extend the Oriole lead to 7-3. Jonathan Schoop tacked on three more runs with a three-run bomb in the 8th and David Lough singled in the final run of the night. The O's ran away with this one by an 11-3 score.
While he didn't get hit hard, it was clear that Bud Norris was off tonight. He sruggled with his command which led to an inflated pitch count by the time the 5th inning rolled around. The game got off to an unpromising start when Brett Gardner led off with a triple and scored on Jeter's groundout. Norris buckled up to strike out the next to batters to prevent further damage. The next inning was a mess as Norris allowed three hits and a walk. Two runs scored in an inning that prolonged due to throwing errors from Norris and Manny Machado. The 3rd inning went more smoothly with two groundouts and a swinging strikeout. Norris then retired the side in the 4th inning, appearing to have settled into a groove. He pitched another scoreless inning in the 5th but was removed after the inning due to a high pitch count. This could have been an excellent outing if the first two innings had gone much more smoothly. But, Norris didn;t let things get out of hand and gave is team five decent innings and with the strong run support, he earned a win.
Final Line: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K, Win
Brad Brach took over in the 6th and had his usual solid stuff working tonight during his scoreless inning of work.
Darren O'Day worked the next inning plus teo outs in the 8th. He walked two batters as his usual pinpoint control was a little off tonight. But, he missed outside he zone rather than down the middle so the Yankees weren't able to take advantage of the two baserunners.
Tommy Hunter worked the final inning to seal the win. He retired the side in order and has quietly lowered his ERA to 3.53 on the season.
For the third time in four days, the offense has reached double digits in runs. The majority of the damage took place agains the Yankees bullpen as Chris Capuano left the game only trailing 4-3 in the 7h inning.
Nick Markakis singled and scored twice in the leadoff spot while Chris Davis had a two-hit game, including his 21st home run in the 5th, after taking over for Machado.
Adam Jones had a big 3-for-5 game with two doubles and nearly put out a home run in the 8th.
It appears Nelson Cruz may be starting to break out of his slump. he had a two-hit night and absolutely demolished a 3-2 fastball from Adam Warren in the 7th to put two runs on the board for the O's.
Jonathan Schoop had nice 2-for-4 night at the plate with three runs driven in on his 10th home run of the season in the 8th.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
The Yankees gained some early momentum in this game on a bizarre play in the 3rd. Caleb Joseph had Chase Headley gunned down at seciond by a mile so Headley ended up caught ina rundown. Meanwhile, Carlos Beltran attempted to score from third. A throwing error from Manny Machado that hit off Beltran's helmet allowed him to score. Headley then proceeded to score when Bud Norris's backup throw from home got past Joseph.
Jonathan Schoop made a throwing error to first in the 3rd inning to allow Beltran to reach.
Key Moments In The Game
Ironically, the game turning moment came from Chris Davis who had to be subbed in for Manny Machado at third base after Machado left with a knee injury. Davis delivered the go-ahead two-run blast in the 5th and the O's never looked back.
The Nelson Cruz home run came at a good time as it gave the Orioles relievers a comfortable lead to work with heading into the late innings.
Jonathan Shoop's big three run blast acted as nails in the coffin and ensured an Orioles win at that point barring a miracle.
Other Notes/ Musings
Orioles fans were given quite a scare tonight when Manny Machado's knee buckled on a nausea-inducing swing in the 4th inning. Fortunately, the early reports indicate a knee sprain and not something more serious. Still, he may be DL bound bound.
It wasn't pretty at times but Bud Norris is now a 10-game winner after tonight.
The O's an Yanks play same time tomorrow night with Wei-Yin Chen and Shane Greene on the mound. Greene, a rookie, dominated the Orioles his last start agains them, so it will be interesting to see if the bats adjust this time out.
Visit the Orioles Hangout Message Board