Remember Bruce Chen? The old O's lefty was going for his fourth straight win on Friday night...unfortunately for him, his club was facing Jason Hammel and the Orioles, and the Birds spanked the Royals 8-2 in front of nearly 30,000 fans at Camden Yards.
Hammel (6-1) went six strong innings, shutting out Kansas City on just five hits and a walk while fanning seven. Stu Pomeranz, fresh from Triple-A Norfolk, went two innings in relief but lost the shutout after surrendering a two-out homer in the eighth. Dana Eveland pitched a scoreless ninth.
The O's struck first, scoring on a sac fly off the bat of Adam Jones, but left the bases loaded in the first with just a 1-0 lead. But the bats came to life in a big five-run fifth...Xavier Avery led off with a walk, then stole second although Chen had him picked off (this kid is FAST). Robert Andino laid down a perfect sac bunt that turned into an infield single, and then promptly stole second. Chen had Andino picked off as well, but he hustled and slid in under the tag...instead of none on with two outs, the Birds had runners at second and third with no one down. If you haven't accepted that some Orioles' Magic is in the air this season, you really should! The Birds used two doubles, two singles and another stolen base to chase Chen from the game and take a commanding 6-0 lead. Chris Davis added another pair of runs with a two-run bomb in the seventh.
The O's (29-17) still hold the best record in the AL and maintained a one-game lead over the Rays in the East. The Birds send their own Chen (Wei-Yin) to the mound on Saturday afternoon...