What else could it be but the Orioles’ sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park. What a wild weekend. It certainly wasn’t easy because it took 39 innings and 13 hours and 40 minutes for the Orioles to complete the sweep. It included a come from behind victory on Friday night, a dominating performance by Jason Hammel on Saturday and Orioles DH Chris Davis outpitching Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald in extra innings on Sunday.
Orioles fans have a right to be excited. When you start getting wins on the mound from your DH you start thinking that maybe its your year. Let’s start with Friday night. Folks that’s a game that the Orioles have no chance of winning in years past. The Birds kicked the ball around early which could have led to disaster against a great hitting Red Sox club. Wei-Yin Chen would have none of that. The O’s two first inning errors didn’t faze him as he wiggled out of the first without allowing a run. Chen didn’t have his best stuff but somehow managed to battle his way through five innings and gave the Orioles a chance to win. The bullpen took over shutting out the Red Sox for the last eight innings.
One of the things I love about baseball is how a player can redeem himself in different aspects of the game. Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has struggled at the plate all year and Hardy had a chance to give the O’s the lead with the bases loaded and no one out in the seventh. Instead Hardy grounded into a double play. A run scored but that killed the rally. Hardy would redeem himself in the bottom of the eighth, snagging Cody Ross’ liner that was headed into center field and doubling David Ortiz off of first base. That would send the game into extra innings. Chris Davis was the hero with an RBI single in the 13th. That would be an omen as Davis would be a hero in a different way on Sunday.
Saturday was a yawner by this series’ standards. Jason Hammel was dominant striking out eight Red Sox and giving up just two runs in the Orioles 8-2 victory. The O’s put the game away in the third inning, scoring seven runs on seven hits off on Red Sox starter Aaron Cook. Mark Reynolds and Adam Jones homered to power the Orioles offense. That set the stage for Sunday’s wild 17 inning affair. The day started with the Orioles jumping out to a 5-0 lead. The Orioles did all the little things wrong in this game and still figured out a way to win. The Orioles gave away a run when Matt Wieters misread a Nick Johnson double and stopped at third. That left Johnson and Reynolds on second at the same time and Johnson was tagged out. It didn’t seem like it mattered as the O’s were cruising. That was until the fifth inning. O’s starter Tommy Hunter ran out of gas and Will Middlebrooks crushed a grand slam to left to tie the game 5-5. Both teams scratched out a run in the eighth inning and that’s when the real fun began. The O’s put the lead-off man on in five of six innings starting in the 10th. They failed to move the runner over in all five of those innings. Endy Chavez failed to get a bunt down, and Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Chris Davis hit into double plays to erase the leadoff man. The Chris Davis double play grounder was part of an 0-8 afternoon at the plate including five strikeouts. Remember though what I said before about redemption? Well the 0-8 at the plate didn’t matter because Davis had a more important job on Sunday afternoon. Getting the victory in relief. That’s right by the time the 16th inning rolled around the Orioles had used their entire bullpen and sent Davis to the mound to pitch. Davis pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the victory. He struck out two batters and got help when J.J. Hardy’s relay throw gunned down Marlon Byrd at the plate. The win leaves the O’s with the best record in baseball. That’s correct you read that right the best record in baseball. Of course when you make as many mistakes as the Orioles did on Sunday and still win the game maybe it is your year.
Oriole miscues in Sunday’s game:
Johnson and Reynolds on second base at the same time in the 4th. Johnson tagged out.
Reynolds throwing error in the seventh inning
Orioles failed to move leadoff runner over in 10th inning
Chavez failed to get bunt down in 11th inning
Markakis grounded into DP after leadoff man reached in 12th
Chris Davis grounded into DP after leadoff man reached in 13th
Adam Jones grounded into DP after leadoff man reached in 15th
Wilson Betemit error in the 16th inning
Wilson Betemit caught stealing after walking in 17th inning against Darnell McDonald
Best non-sports related event. The New Romance at Padonia Station. G-Marsh and the boys were rocking Padonia Station on Saturday night. A brief power outage couldn’t even slow them down. Go easy on the smoke machine next time G-Marsh!!! That’s my wife Nan and the lovely Jill below. Until next time…