The Orioles had another tough loss tonight in the Bronx against the fourth place Yankees. Jim Johnson received the loss and his sixth blown save of the season. Ivan Nova earned the win in a complete game pitched on a spot start for the Yankees. Miguel Gonzalez went 6 innings giving up only 1 earned run on 4 hits and 5 walks.
The O’s went up early with a 2 run blast by Weiters for his 11th homerun of the season (Davis scored). In the bottom of the 4th, Luis Cruz hit a line drive to left fielder Nate McLouth with Vernon Wells tagging from 3rd and scoring on a close play at the plate. Both teams were shut out for the rest of the game until the 9th. Nova finished the top allowing no hits in the inning and only giving up 3 hits in the game. Jim Johnson came in, in the bottom of the inning to try to record his league leading 29th save of the season.
The Yankees did not let him complete the game and would turn over the line-up in the inning with the number 9, 1, and 2 hitters coming up to the plate. David Adams reached on a line drive single to right field. Next up, Brett Gardner in an attempt to move the runner over, bunted his way to first on a error by Jim Johnson. Then, comes Ichiro to the plate who sac bunted the runners to 3rd and 2nd being put out by Matt Weiters at 1st. The O’s decided to load the bases, and rightfully so, by intentionally walking Robinson Cano to set up a double play. Jim Johnson then walked Travis Hafner on four straight pitches to bring the game tying run home and give the blown save to Johnson. The O’s still had a chance to get out of the inning with a double play and keep the game tied with Vernon Wells coming to the plate. Wells hit a ball in between 3rd and short that would reach left field and give the Yankees the walk off win.
I know that Jim Johnson has had his struggles this year, but you cannot give up on him and Buck has to keep sending him out there. While in the books the loss goes down under Johnson, you cannot blame him entirely for that loss. The Yankees pitcher, Nova, pitched a great game by only giving up 3 hits and recorded 11 strike outs and 1 walk. This was also the 2nd game in a row in which the O’s only recorded 3 hits. Regardless of the situation, we cannot expect to keep winning with only 3 hits in a game. Our problem this year has for sure been our pitching, but when our starting pitcher only lets up 1 run in 6 innings pitched, we have to be able to put up more runs and win games. You can’t expect to win a game against any team in the AL East by only scoring 2 runs; and that includes playing against the O’s. This is the best division in baseball and possibly all of sports. Not only is every team within 10 games of first, but 4 of them have records over .500.
Now what we have to do as fans is stay behind our team. We just swept the Yankees a week ago at home and now we are playing in their territory. Losing the first game of three is not the end of the world. The O’s are going to come out tomorrow, probably put up 7 runs on 10 or more hits, and give our pitching a chance to win the game. That’s not a prediction, but it has been the pattern we have been playing with for most of the season. They will be alright. There is no reason for people to yell at the television to take Miguel Gonzalez out with the bases loaded in the fifth. That’s just a part of what I had to listen to tonight at the bar. Guess what? He got out of it. Trust in Buck to do what he thinks is right because 9 out of 10 times he is right. He cannot control the fact that Ivan Nova pitched the game of his life and we only put up 2 runs. It happens and that’s why they play the games. So let’s get behind our Baltimore Orioles, come out tomorrow wearing your orange, and cheer them on for game two in New York.