Buck Showalter Looks To Lead The Baltimore Orioles To A Winning Season in 2012...Let's Go O's!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

O's Drop Second Straight To Toronto

The O's hadn't lost back-to-back games at home since late July, but it happened on Tuesday night after they were blanked 4-0 by the Blue Jays.

There hasn't been much to cheer about the past two nights at the Yard...the O's have hit a little bump in the road at the worst possible time. Luckily, the Yankees lost on Tuesday night as well so the O's didn't lose any ground (New York won on Wednesday afternoon so the O's are now two games out of first).

Joe Saunders wasn't bad, but he had absolutely no run support. Saunders (8-13) allowed four runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 innings but gave up 11 hits while walking none and fanning two. The O's managed just six hits (five singles) and stranded nine men on base.

Sadly, the highlight of the game was the ninth inning...Dylan Bundy made his home debut and pitched a scoreless frame, and the O's loaded the bases with two outs before Ryan Flaherty skied a ball to center field to end the game.

The O's need to win on Wednesday night to split the series and keep up in the postseason race...they lead Oakland by a half-game for the top Wild Card spot. Miguel Gonzalez will try to right the ship tonight...

Birds Settle For Doubleheader Split With Jays

Over 30,000 fans welcomed the O's home for a doubleheader against Toronto on Monday, and the Birds gave them quite a show...a rousing 4-1 win in Game 1, and a heart-breaking 9-5 loss in Game 2.

Adam Jones put the Birds on top 2-0 with a two-run blast in the fourth inning of Game 1. Jones went 4-for-4 with three singles in the game. Ryan Flaherty blasted a solo shot in the fifth.

Steve Johnson started and impressed yet again, lasting only five innings but blanking the Jays on three hits and three walks, fanning six. Johnson is now 4-0 since being called up with a 1.62 ERA.

Wei-Yin Chen struggled in Game 2, allowing two runs in the first and two more in the second to put the Birds in an early hole. The O's battled back, and trailed 5-4 heading into the seventh inning. Jake Arrieta had struck out the side with runners on the corners in the sixth, but gave up a grand slam with two outs in the seventh to effectively end the O's comeback attempt. The Orioles loaded the bases in the ninth but managed just a run in the loss.

The Birds send Joe Saunders to the mound on Tuesday night, as they try to bounce back and keep pace in the postseason race,

Monday, September 24, 2012

O's Can't Complete Sweep In Boston

You can't win 'em all, right? The O's came close to a three-game sweep of Boston, but Ryan Flaherty struck out looking with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the Birds fell to the Red Sox 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.

Chris Tillman allowed just one run on six hits and a walk over six innings, striking out four. Troy Patton's first appearance since coming off the DL was a success, as he retired two of the three batters he faced. Luis Ayala took the loss after giving up a run on back-to-back doubles to start off the eighth inning. Dylan Bundy made his MLB debut later that inning and needed just seven pitches to get the final two outs.

The Birds loaded the bases in the ninth with just one out, but Manny Machado grounded into a force-out before Flaherty struck out to end any chance of a comeback in extras.

The Orioles went 6-3 on the road trip after starting off with two straight losses in Oakland, and didn't lose any ground since the A's beat the Yankees in New York. With just 10 games left, the O's are a game behind the Yankees for first in the East and lead Oakland by a game for the top Wild Card spot.

The Orioles host Toronto for four games starting with Monday's doubleheader...I'll be there for the twin-billing. Steve Johnson will start Game 1 while Wei-Yin Chen is slated for Game 2.

Thome Puts O's Ahead To Stay In 12th

Orioles magic...feel it happen! The Birds did it again Saturday afternoon, beating the Red Sox 9-6 in 12 innings at Fenway Park.

The O's won six straight for the first time all season (they had won five straight six times before) and have now won 16 straight extra-inning contests, a franchise best.

Randy Wolf started and went five innings, surrendering three runs. Jake Arrieta allowed another two runs to score over two innings in relief, and Pedro Strop allowed Boston to tie the game after giving up a run on back-to-back doubles with two outs in the eighth. Tommy Hunter was credited with the win after a scoreless 11th inning, where his fastball was clocked at 100 mph. Jim Johnson picked up his Major League leading 47th save.

Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds both blasted solo homers. Jones led-off the 12th with a double and came home on Jim Thome's ground-rule double. Thome, playing in his first game since returning off the DL, was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts before knocking the eventual game-winning hit.

The Birds look for the sweep on Sunday afternoon...Chris Tillman takes the hill.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

O's Finally Beat Lester, Sox

You know it's a magical season when the O's beat Jon Lester. In 21 starts, Lester has owned the Orioles with a perfect 14-0 record. But on Friday, the Birds finally handed him an "L" in a 4-2 win in Boston.

Miguel Gonzalez (7-4) took the win against his former club. Gonzalez went 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk while fanning three. Jim Johnson closed out the game in the ninth, picking up his 46th save of the season, an Oriole record.

Matt Wieters paced the offense, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. The Birds out-hit Boston 10-8 and went 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position. The O's (86-64) are still just a game behind the Yankees in the AL East. Randy Wolf will take the mound for the Birds on Saturday afternoon.

Friday, September 21, 2012

O's Need Extras To Sweep M's

It only took 11 innings this time. Just a day after a marathon 18-inning win, the Birds took down the Mariners 3-1 on Wednesday night, completing a three-game sweep.

It was the O's 15th straight extra-inning victory this season...that's the longest streak since Cleveland won 19 straight in 1949.

The Eric Bedard trade continued to haunt Seattle, as it was Adam Jones who launched the eventual game-winning homer off his former club. Chris Tillman, also acquired in the trade, started the game on Monday and was credited with the win.

Both clubs scored a run in the fourth and took a 1-1 tie into the 11th inning before Jones' heroics. Jim Johnson picked up his 45th save of the season, tying Randy Myers for the most all-time as an Oriole.

As of this post, the O's (85-64) are a game behind the Yankees (86-63) for first in the East, and are tied with Oakland for the top Wild Card spot. Oakland opens up a three-game set in New York tonight, while the O's start their own three-game series in Boston. Miguel Gonzalez is slated to take the mound against Jon Lester.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

O's Rally Past Mariners In 18 Innings

This season gets crazier by the minute...the O's outlasted the Seattle Mariners in a 4-2, 18-inning victory that started on Tuesday night and ended almost six hours later on Wednesday morning.

The Birds had been held to just two hits through eight innings and went into the ninth trailing 2-0. The O's started the ninth off with back-to-back singles to chase Seattle's starter, then tied the game with a two-run single off the M's closer. Little did they know the game would be deadlocked for another nine innings...

Is it even shocking that it was Taylor Teagarden's pinch-hit single in the 18th that scored the go-ahead run? Not this year. Teagarden has only seven hits this season but three have given the O's the lead in extra-inning contests...absurd? Nope...it's just Orioles Magic.

The O's have now won 14 straight extra-inning contests. They were tied for first in the East with New York (the Yankees are now a half game ahead after a win Wednesday afternoon). Joe Saunders takes the mound Wednesday night as the Birds go for the three-game sweep of Seattle.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

O's Strike Early Against Seattle

The Orioles gave Chris Tillman plenty of run support on Monday night, taking a 7-0 lead over the Mariners after two innings in Seattle.

Tillman (8-2) hadn't pitched in two weeks, but continued his dominance over the team that traded him away. He allowed just a run (a solo homer) on three hits, walked none and struck out four over six innings. The 'pen didn't fare as well, but the early cushion was too much for Seattle to overcome.

Nate McLouth started things off with a lead-off homer, and the O's went on to score three in the first and another four in the second. Matt Wieters homered in the fourth inning, his third dinger in the last two games, and has tied his career-high with 22 long balls on the season.

The O's are just a half game behind New York for first in the East, and still hold the second Wild Card spot. The Birds send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound on Tuesday night...

Monday, September 17, 2012

O's Sink A's, Secure A Winning Season

It's official. The 2012 Orioles are a winning club. The O's won game number 82 on Sunday night, avoiding a sweep with a 9-5 victory over Oakland.

Matt Wieters homered twice, and Endy Chavez went 4-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the club. Wieters became the fifth Oriole to hit 20+ homers this season. Pretty much the entire lineup contributed, as Nate McLouth and Mark Reynolds were the only Birds to go hitless (though Reynolds drove home a run with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth).

Randy Wolf started for the first time as an Oriole, and though he didn't go deep, he kept the Birds in the game. Wolf lasted just four innings but surrendered only two runs before being relieved. Brian Matusz (6-10) picked up the win and Jim Johnson collected his 43rd save of the year.

The Birds remain a game behind New York in the East and are two games behind the A's in the Wild Card chase. If the season ended today, they would travel to Oakland for a one-game playoff. There's still plenty of time left...the O's start a three-game set in Seattle on Monday night, with Chris Tillman scheduled to start.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Five-Run Third Sinks O's In Oakland

The O's took an early lead but a five-run third inning was too much to overcome in a 5-2 loss to the A's on Saturday night.

Zach Britton cruised through the first two innings and entered the third up with his team up 2-0...he finally made it through the inning with his club trailing 5-2. Britton (5-3) lasted just four innings, surrendering the five runs on four hits and four walks in his second straight poor outing.

Offensively, the O's outhit the A's 8-5 and scored first on a Mark Reynold's RBI double in the second and a Nate McLouth homer in the third, but the bats went quiet over the final six frames.

The Birds have now dropped two straight and trail New York by a game in the East. The O's look to salvage the series with a win on Sunday afternoon...Randy Wolf will make his first start as an Oriole.

O's Fall To A's Out West

After a Yankees loss, the O's had a chance to take sole possession of first place in the East, but fell to Oakland 3-2 on Friday night.

Chris Davis blasted his 26th homer, a monster shot to dead center to tie the game at two in the fifth inning, but Oakland scored in the bottom of the frame and the Birds were unable to come back. The Orioles grounded into four double plays on the night, and Xavier Avery was caught stealing with Davis at the plate to end the game.

Joe Saunders looked good but took the loss after allowing all three runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings, fanning six. Jake Arrieta pitched the final two frames, striking out five of the six batters he faced.

The upside? The O's are still tied for first place in the East on September 14th...simply amazing. Zach Britton is scheduled to take the mound on Saturday night.

O's Sweep Rays After Walk-Off Win In 14th

For the first time in 15 years, the O's have reached 81 wins in a season. With Thursday's 3-2, 14-inning win over Tampa Bay, the Birds, expected by many to hit 100 losses this year, have ended their 14-year losing streak...finally.

In the process, the club extended an incredible streak of 13 straight extra-inning victories, a franchise record.

In yet another marathon game, the O's had plenty of chances, but finally came through in the 14th. The Birds went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 16 men on base, but Manny Machado's RBI single to score Adam Jones gave the O's their second straight walk-off win over Tampa Bay.

The Birds went 5-2 on the homestand, splitting with New York before sweeping the Rays. The O's remain tied with the Yankees for first in the division, and now head out on a nine-game road trip through Oakland, Seattle and Boston. Joe Saunders takes the mound on Friday night.

O's Walk Off In Ninth Inning Thriller

The magic continues...the Birds walked-off in the ninth inning with a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

Nate McLouth was the hero this time with the game-winning hit, a single off the right field wall that plated Manny Machado. Machado had singled to start the inning after ending the eighth with a spectacular defensive play. Both players got the obligatory shaving cream pie to the face after the game...

Things started off awkwardly, as Miguel Gonzalez served up a solo homer to the very first batter he faced. Gonzalez settled down though, allowing just two runs on six hits and five walks while striking out four over six innings. Jim Johnson (2-1) picked up the win.

The O's have now taken two of three from the Rays and remain tied for first in the East with the Yankees. The Birds finish off the seven-game homestand tomorrow afternoon...Wei-Yin Chen is slated to take the mound.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hardy Powers O's Past Rays

It was a bittersweet victory...the O's took a share of first place in the East after a 9-2 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, but may have lost ace Jason Hammel.

Hammel (8-6) left in the fourth inning after he appeared to aggravate his right knee while on the mound. He had held the Rays to just one hit (a solo homer) and a walk. It was just his second start since rehabbing the knee after having surgery in July. Hammel said the pain he felt was similar and will undergo an MRI today. This would be a huge blow to a club that just lost Nick Markakis for the rest of the regular season...

The bullpen stepped-up, though. Steve Johnson (3-0) took the win, and five relievers combined to allow just a run (another solo shot) on four hits over the final 5 1/3 frames.

J.J. Hardy homered twice, drove in five runs and fell a triple shy of the cycle. Matt Wieters added a two-run double in the fifth and Chris Davis went Yard in the seventh.

With the Yankees falling in Boston, the Birds are tied for first and are two games ahead of the Rays. Miguel Gonzalez looks to extend the lead later tonight at Camden Yards...

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Yankee Spanking

The O's had a chance to take sole possession of first in the East but fell to New York in a 13-3 drubbing on Sunday afternoon.

Zach Britton lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and five walks while fanning two. Britton (5-2) was looking for his fourth straight "W" but never found a rhythm; he walked in two runs in the fourth inning before being pulled for Jake Arrieta. The bullpen didn't fare much better, as four relievers combined to allow eight runs on nine hits and three free passes.

The O's scored all three runs in the fourth inning, cutting the Yankees lead to two runs, but the Birds managed just four hits all game and never came any closer.

It was revealed after the game that Nick Markakis would get surgery on his broken thumb suffered in Saturday night's contest. Nate McLouth batted lead-off while Chris Davis manned right field. Markakis hopes to return in four weeks...

The O's are off Monday before hosting Tampa By for three games starting Tuesday night. Miguel Gonzalez is slated to take the hill.

O's Survive Late Rally, Topple Yankees

The Yankees loaded the bases with none out against O's closer Jim Johnson in the ninth inning, but the Birds held on (with a little help from the first-base ump) to win 5-4 on Saturday night at Camden Yards.

The Yankees had scored once before the game ended after Mark Teixeira grounded into a double play...replays clearly showed Tex was safe with a head-first slide into first base. But the O's got a call that New York usually gets, and the game was over.

The Yankees had taken an early 2-0 lead against O's starter Joe Saunders, but the Birds tied the game at two in the second after back-to-back solo shots from mark Reynolds (who woulda thought?) and Lew Ford. Saunders (2-1) went 5 1/3 innings, allowing just the two runs on five hits and two walks, striking out two. Darren O'Day and Brian Matusz turned in impressive outings out of the 'pen, but set-up man Pedro Strop struggled yet again. Strop allowed two hits (one a homer) and a walk after retiring two batters before Matusz bailed him out.

The Yankees made it interesting in the ninth, and had the ump made the right call the game would have been tied...instead, the Birds have taken two of three and are tied for first with New York with one game left between the two clubs. Zach Britton takes the mound Sunday afternoon...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Birds Bash Six Homers, Drop Yankees

The momentum had just shifted in the Yankees favor, as New York scored five times in the eighth inning to tie the game at six runs a piece. The O's answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame, homering three times, and took a 10-6 victory in front of a full house at Camden Yards on Thursday night.

The Birds started things off right, scoring four runs in the first inning, including a three-run bomb from Matt Wieters. Robert Andino added a solo shot in the fourth, and Mark Reynolds went deep in the sixth to put the O's on top 6-1. But New York battled back, taking advantage of Pedro Strop's lack of control to tie the game in the eighth.

Adam Jones led-off the bottom of the frame with a solo shot to left to put the Birds on top. After Wieters singled to right, Mark Reynolds struck again, slamming his eighth homer in the past seven games. The guy is a Yankee killer...he's had three multi-homer games against New York in the past week. Chris Davis finished off the scoring with a solo homer onto the flag court.

This was probably the most intense game I've ever been to at Camden Yards...over 46 thousand fans were rocking the park, and for the first time O's fans outnumbered Yankees fans in September. The place was LOUD. The atmosphere was electric; it felt like playoff baseball in Baltimore. Cal Ripken was honored earlier with a bronze statue and stayed to watch the magic of these 2012 Orioles...

Lost in the offensive barrage was the return of O's ace Jason Hammel. Hammel held the Yankees to just one run on six hits and two walks over five innings, striking out six. He took the no-decision after the Yanks roughed-up Strop; Darren O'Day (7-1) took the win.

The O's and Yankees now own identical 77-60 records, and face-off three more times over the weekend. The Birds send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound Friday night...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Birds Miss Out On Sweep Up North

The O's win streak was snapped at three after the club fell 6-4 to the Blue Jays in Toronto on Wednesday night.

The Birds struck first, scoring twice in the second. Toronto scored a single run in the second and third to tie the game, which remained knotted at two until the Jays broke it open with a four-run seventh.

Miguel Gonzalez wasn't rocked but took the loss and was charged with five runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out four over 6 1/3 innings. Luis Ayala came on in relief and allowed both inherited runners to score before Brian Matusz came on to escape the inning with two strikeouts.

Mark Reynolds crushed a two-run homer in the ninth, his sixth in the last six games, but it just wasn't enough. The O's went 4-2 on the road trip and now sit a game behind the Yankees in the AL East. New York comes to town for a four-game showdown starting tonight. Jason Hammel returns from the DL and will take the mound. I'll be there for my Cal Ripken statue...Let's Go O's!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Britton Brilliant As O's Rout Jays

The Orioles ripped the Blue Jays apart on Tuesday night, knocking a season-high 18 hits in a 12-0 romp at Rogers Centre.

Zach Britton turned in yet another gem, going seven strong innings and allowing just four hits and two walks while fanning eight. Britton (5-1) set a career-high last start with 10 k's and has now won four straight.

The Birds matched a season-best with 12 runs, and they didn't get on the board until Mark Reynolds launched a three-run bomb in the fifth inning. Reynolds has five homers over the last five games and now has 17 long balls this season. The O's added another run in the sixth, three more in the seventh and another five in the eighth in their second consecutive shut out of Toronto.

Every O's starter except Robert Andino notched at least one hit...Nick Markakis, Chris Davis, Reynolds and Manny Machado all had three a piece...it was Machado's first three-hit game of his young career.

The win, coupled with a Yankees loss to Tampa Bay, gave the Birds a share of first place in the AL East. The O's and Yanks now share an identical 76-59 record...simply amazing. The Birds go for the sweep later tonight and send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound.

Saunders Impressive As O's Blank Blue Jays

Joe Saunders took a perfect game into the sixth inning, and the Birds toppled Toronto 4-0 on Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

Saunders (1-1 as an Oriole) went 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits (all singles) and two walks while fanning two. The 'pen held the Jays hitless over the final 2 2/3 frames...

Of the O's nine hits, three went for doubles...J.J. Hardy led the team with two RBIs.

After three straight day games, the Birds battle the Jays on Tuesday night. Zach Britton is scheduled to take the hill.

Reynolds Powers O's Past Yanks

The Orioles took two of three from the Yankees in New York for the third time this season, crushing the Bombers 8-3 on Sunday afternoon.

Down 2-0 early, the Birds battled back and took the lead for good with a four-run sixth inning. Mark Reynolds homered twice for the second time this series, becoming the first player to accomplish the feat since David Ortiz in 2003. It was the first time since 1976 that the O's won all three series in New York's stadium.

The O's are now 7-7 against the Yankees this season, and the O's host New York for the final four regular-season contests next week. The Birds went into the Bronx three games behind the Bombers but left just two games back, and were oh so close to sweeping the home team.

The O's head to Canada to take on the last-place Jays for a three-game set starting Monday afternoon. Joe Saunders is slated to make his second start as an Oriole.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Chen's Stellar Start Wasted

The Orioles were cruising until the seventh inning, when a pair of free passes and an error gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead and eventually the win.

Wei-Yin Chen was stellar, and didn't allow a hit until serving-up a solo homer to Robinson Cano in the fourth inning. Chen (12-8) didn't allow another run until the fateful seventh frame. He gave up a run on a bloop single before being pulled in favor of Pedro Strop, who came on to get the final out. Strop had trouble finding the strike zone, walking Ichiro Suzuki to load the bases before walking Derek Jeter, knotting the game at three. A fielding error by J.J. Hardy allowed New York to take the lead. Strop was pulled in favor of Brian Matusz, who coaxed a pop-up to end the inning, but the damage had been done.

The O's had taken a 1-0 lead in the first and added another run in the second off a Manny Machado single. Matt Wieters added a solo shot in the fourth to give Chen a comfortable three-run cushion, but it just wasn't enough. The Birds went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and managed just three runs despite working eight walks off New York's staff.

A win would have put the O's just a game behind the slumping Yankees in the AL East, instead the Birds are now three games behind their divisional foes. The loss also snapped a franchise-best streak of 13 straight one-run victories. The Orioles still have a chance to win the series on Sunday afternoon; Chris Tillman looks to put the Birds back in the win column.

Gonzalez, Reynolds Lead O's Past Yanks

The Orioles kept the pressure on the Yankees on Friday night, beating their divisional rivals 6-1 in New York.

Miguel Gonzalez (6-3) was lights-out, allowing just four hits (all singles) and a walk while fanning a career-best nine batters over seven innings. Brian Matusz gave up a solo homer in the ninth but struck out two in a convincing series-opening win.

Mark Reynolds gave the Birds a 3-0 lead with a two-run shot in the second inning, and added a solo homer in the ninth. J.J. Hardy belted a solo homer in the sixth.

The O's now trail the Yankees in the East by just two games with two games remaining in this series. The Birds (73-58) trail Oakland by a game for the top Wild Card spot but hold sole possession of the second slot.

Things are getting pretty intense...the O's are in serious contention on September 1st. I've been waiting years for the Birds to play meaningful baseball this late in the season. Wei-Yin Chen looks to secure the series win later this afternoon.