Tag Archive | "mariners"

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Orioles “poking around” at Seattle pitcher Vargas?

Posted on 12 July 2012 by Luke Jones

As fans dreamed about the possibility of acquiring Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke or Cubs pitcher Matt Garza over the All-Star break, the Orioles are apparently kicking the tires on a far less intriguing and cheaper option.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported Thursday the Orioles have cooled on the possibility of trading for Garza and are “poking around” at the possibility of trading for Seattle pitcher Jason Vargas.

The first-blush numbers suggest it wouldn’t be a bad move as the left-hander has an 8-7 record with a 4.09 earned run average in 19 starts for the lowly Mariners this season. Vargas has a 1.15 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitcher) and has struck out 86 while walking 32 in 126 innings this season.

However, a deeper look at the stats suggest the soft-tossing 29-year-old is far from an ideal target to compete in the American League East.

Vargas has thrived at cavernous Safeco Field this season, posting a 2-3 record with a 2.84 ERA in eight starts (57 innings), but his road numbers paint a different picture entirely. The southpaw has a 6-4 record with a 5.09 ERA and has allowed 17 home runs in 11 starts (69 innings) outside Seattle.

Those numbers just don’t translate to being successful at Camden Yards, and the Orioles would likely be getting just another guy to throw in the mix with the struggling trio of Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, and Tommy Hunter who are currently at Triple-A Norfolk.

Despite all the talk of acquiring a pitcher such as Greinke or Garza by the trade deadline, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and the Orioles are far more likely to add a pitcher like Vargas, who would have a much cheaper price tag but adds very little upside to the starting rotation.

Such an option may be more realistic, but it’s not going to get the job done in keeping the Orioles in the pennant race unless there’s substantial pitching improvement from within.

In other words, thanks but no thanks.

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Hammel falters late as Orioles lose 6-3 in Seattle

Posted on 03 July 2012 by WNST Staff

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Bovada Sets Orioles Win Total At 69.5, Second Longest Odds to Win World Series

Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Odds to win the 2012 World Series     

Philadelphia Phillies                   11/2

New York Yankees                    13/2

Los Angeles Angels                   7/1

Detroit Tigers                             8/1

Texas Rangers                          10/1

Boston Red Sox                        10/1

San Francisco Giants                 15/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       18/1

Miami Marlins                            20/1

Cincinnati Reds                         20/1

Atlanta Braves                           22/1

St. Louis Cardinals                     25/1

Arizona Diamondbacks               28/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    28/1

Washington Nationals                30/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 40/1

Toronto Blue Jays                      40/1

Chicago Cubs                            40/1

Colorado Rockies                       40/1

Cleveland Indians                       60/1

Chicago White Sox                    65/1

Minnesota Twins                        75/1

Kansas City Royals                   80/1

New York Mets                          80/1

Oakland Athletics                      80/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      100/1

San Diego Padres                      100/1

Seattle Mariners                        100/1

Baltimore Orioles                       150/1

Houston Astros                          200/1

Odds to win the 2012 AL Pennant       

New York Yankees                    13/4

Los Angeles Angels                   7/2

Detroit Tigers                             4/1

Boston Red Sox                        11/2

Texas Rangers                          11/2

Tampa Bay Rays                       9/1

Toronto Blue Jays                      22/1

Cleveland Indians                       28/1

Chicago White Sox                    35/1

Kansas City Royals                   40/1

Oakland Athletics                      40/1

Minnesota Twins                        40/1

Seattle Mariners                        60/1

Baltimore Orioles                       75/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL Pennant       

Philadelphia Phillies                   9/4

San Francisco Giants                 7/1

Atlanta Braves                           9/1

Cincinnati Reds                         9/1

Miami Marlins                            9/1

St. Louis Cardinals                     11/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    14/1

Washington Nationals                15/1

Arizona Diamondbacks               14/1

Colorado Rockies                       18/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 18/1

Chicago Cubs                            22/1

New York Mets                          40/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      40/1

San Diego Padres                      50/1

Houston Astros                          100/1

Odds to win the 2012 AL East

New York Yankees                    2/3

Boston Red Sox                        3/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       9/2

Toronto Blue Jays                      12/1

Baltimore Orioles                       100/1


Odds to win the 2012 AL Central         

Detroit Tigers                             1/4

Cleveland Indians                       10/1

Kansas City Royals                   12/1

Chicago White Sox                    12/1

Minnesota Twins                        16/1


Odds to win the 2012 AL West

Los Angeles Angels                   4/5

Texas Rangers                          1/1

Oakland Athletics                      30/1

Seattle Mariners                        45/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL East

Philadelphia Phillies                   1/2

Miami Marlins                            11/2

Atlanta Braves                           6/1

Washington Nationals                8/1

New York Mets                          50/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL Central         

Cincinnati Reds                         7/5

St. Louis Cardinals                     2/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    11/4

Chicago Cubs                            18/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      30/1

Houston Astros                          100/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL West

San Francisco Giants                 5/4

Arizona Diamondbacks               2/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 11/2

Colorado Rockies                       7/1

San Diego Padres                      15/1

Over/Under Regular Season Win Totals

Arizona Diamondbacks               86½

Atlanta Braves                           86½

Baltimore Orioles                       69½

Boston Red Sox                        90½

Chicago Cubs                            73½

Chicago White Sox                    75½

Cincinnati Reds                         87½

Cleveland Indians                       78½

Colorado Rockies                       80½

Detroit Tigers                             91½

Miami Marlins                            85½

Houston Astros                          63½

Kansas City Royals                   78½

Los Angeles Angels                   91½

Los Angeles Dodgers                 80½

Milwaukee Brewers                    85½

Minnesota Twins                        72½

New York Mets                          73½

New York Yankees                    93½

Oakland Athletics                      72½

Philadelphia Phillies                   93½

Pittsburgh Pirates                      72½

San Diego Padres                      73½

San Francisco Giants                 87½

Seattle Mariners                        71½

St. Louis Cardinals                     85½

Tampa Bay Rays                       86½

Texas Rangers                          91½

Toronto Blue Jays                      81½

Washington Nationals                83½
courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).


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Celebrating Alomar and Gillick with Top 10 96-97 O’s Moments

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

On Friday’s edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST, Thyrl Nelson and I celebrated Sunday’s Cooperstown Hall of Fame inductions of Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick with a four hour tribute to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

During the show, I named my Top 10 moments during that special run in O’s history. As I explained last week, these Birds represented “The Only Magic I’ve Ever Known.”

(I didn’t include Jeffrey Maier or the season ending games in either season on this list. These were the memories we WANT to remember.)

10. Ripken passes Kinugasa (June 15, 1996)


When Cal Ripken played in his 2,216th consecutive game in Kansas City, he already owned the record for consecutive games played.

If he had stopped at 2,210 consecutive games, there would have been no argument that he didn’t hold the record.

With no offense to Sachio Kinugasa, but nothing that happens in Japan can be fairly compared to anything in Major League Baseball. When Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig in 1995, the record was his.

That being said, the fact that Kinugasa was able to attend the game at Kauffman Stadium made the warm June night pretty special. The evident connection between the two men made the night even more fun for baseball fans.

If you ever get the chance to chat with CSNBaltimore.com writer (and longtime Baltimore Sun columnist) John Eisenberg about this night, please do. The stories are a LOT of fun. I’d tell you myself, but they aren’t my stories.

9. Mussina NEARLY perfect (May 30, 1997)


I have never been more captivated by watching a baseball game than I was that Friday night.

At the time, Home Team Sports (HTS) was still a premium channel on Comcast in Baltimore County. Friday night games however were regularly available over the air (most on WNUV 54), allowing 8th graders like myself to sit at home and watch the games instead of hanging out with our friends.

I’ll never forgive Sandy Alomar for the hit that he managed off Mike Mussina in the 9th inning that night. His brother is my baseball idol, but his name is evil in my mind.

There’s been only one Orioles no-hitter in my lifetime (a combined effort from Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson in 1991), never a solo no-hitter. I’ve seen the Orioles no-hit themselves a couple of times, but I’ve never seen an Orioles pitcher throw a no-no.

I really thought I was going to that night.

8. Wire to wire (September 25, 1997)


With their 9-3 defeat of the Blue Jays at the building formerly known as SkyDome, the O’s clinched their first AL East title since 1983.

More significantly, they became only the sixth team in MLB history to win the division title going “wire to wire”, in first place from Opening Day to Game 162.

It was a remarkable run for the Birds, although 14 year old Glenn Clark may not have fully realized how significant it was because he was too worried about playoff matchups and hoping to avoid the Yankees in the ALCS.

He got his way. Unfortunately it didn’t end up making much of a difference.

7. Brady gets 50 (September 29, 1996)


The legacy of Brady Anderson’s 50 home run season in 1996 can certainly be labeled as “clouded” at best.

That being said, whether the 50 home run campaign (which concluded with a dinger on the season’s final day in Toronto) was aided by substance or simply a result of a former leadoff hitter “reaching his athletic opus”, it still stands as the only time in Orioles history a player has reached the mark.

(Frank Robinson previously held the team record with 49.)

Despite the rumors, following Brady’s home run exploits in 1996 was fun for Orioles fans-especially the stretch were he lead off four straight games by going yard.

And no matter how we felt about it, there’s little chance the Orioles make a run to the ALCS in 1996 without those 50 home runs.

6. A walk off slam (May 17, 1996)


Anderson’s “moment” was a season in the making. The Ripken “moment” was nearly 14 years in the making.

Hoiles’ “moment”? Roughly one swing in the making.

The Orioles trailed the Seattle Mariners 13-10 in the 9th inning. What happened next was something I had practiced in my back yard roughly 160,000,000,000 times.

With two outs, the bases loaded and a 3-2 count (of COURSE it was a 3-2 count), Chris Hoiles hit what can only be described as the MOST ultimate of “ultimate grand slams.”

Thank God I hadn’t stopped watching that night.

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Britton’s best keeps getting better for Orioles

Posted on 13 May 2011 by Luke Jones

I’d written several times after impressive outings in Zach Britton’s brief major league career that I got the sense from the rookie that he felt his best was yet to come, whether talking about a need for sharper command, reducing his pitch count to go deeper into games, or simply making better pitches in key spots.

After nine shutout innings against the Mariners on Thursday in which he allowed three hits and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base, it won’t get much better than that.

Rookie or not, it was one of the most dominating performances by a Baltimore pitcher in recent memory.

“I was able to incorporate all three pitches today, whereas I haven’t been able to do that in the past,” Britton said. “I was able to get ahead of guys. Not walking guys is huge, too. That helps you go deep in the game.”

The only problem was Seattle’s Jason Vargas was nearly as good, pitching nine shutout innings of his own as neither pitcher factored in the decision of a thrilling 2-1 comeback victory for the Orioles thanks to J.J. Hardy’s two-run single in the bottom of the 12th inning.

“It would have been a tougher plane ride [with a loss], that’s for sure, to waste an effort like we got from Zach tonight,” manager Buck Showalter said.

The numbers speak for themselves as Britton struck out five without walking a batter. He faced 29 batters — two over the minimum — and retired the final 13 batters he faced. Britton also became the first Orioles pitcher to record nine scoreless innings without earning a decision since Mike Morgan did it on April 16, 1988 against the Cleveland Indians.

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His sixth victory would have been nice, but the 23-year-old was his usual self after the game — upbeat and unfazed.

“Our guys were frustrated, obviously, but they’re not trying not to score me a run,” said Britton, who threw a career-high 108 pitches. “They’re frustrated with some of their at-bats, but like I said, you tip your cap to Vargas. He threw the ball really well. When is that going to happen again?”

Maybe he won’t encounter another pitching duel like that for quite some time, but as Britton continues to grow with every start, you like his chances to find himself on the mound late in the game on more than a few occasions in the future. He’s now allowed one run or less in five of his eight starts, a remarkable feat for a pitcher expected to start the year at Triple-A Norfolk before Brian Matusz was sidelined with a back injury before his schedule first start in 2011.

Yes, his masterful performance came against the Mariners, one of the worst offensive clubs in the American League. He’ll find pitching in the big leagues to be a far greater challenge as the opposition gets a second and third look at the left-handed sinkerballer. Britton will take his lumps — even if only small ones — at some point this season, but his calm, confident demeanor makes you think he’ll take it in stride like he has during his first six weeks in the major leagues.

He’s certainly won over his teammates, who were pleased with the extra-inning win to complete a three-game sweep to conclude a 3-3 homestand but regretted their inability to provide any kind of run support to get him the victory.

“Oh my God, he was unbelievable,” said Hardy, who provided the game-winning hit off Mariners closer Brandon League. “Those guys weren’t taking very many good swings, and he was mixing up his pitches well and hitting spots. He did really well tonight.”

As he walked off the Camden Yards mound after getting Chone Figgins to ground out to end the top of the ninth, he received a standing ovation from the announced 19,082 in an enthusiastic show of appreciation. Considered one of the more difficult parks in the American League in which to pitch, Britton now has a 1.85 earned run average in 34 innings in front of the home crowd.

“We had a lot of great fans out here, and they hung around the whole game, which was big. I was getting goosebumps out there with Figgins, that last pitch right there.”

He wasn’t the only one.

To hear more from Zach Britton as well as J.J. Hardy, Brian Roberts, and Buck Showalter following the Orioles’ dramatic 2-1 win, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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Live from Camden Yards: Orange Crush chat at 7 as Orioles, Britton go for sweep

Posted on 12 May 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles go for the three-game sweep against the Seattle Mariners**

BALTIMORE — After toppling King Felix in a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night, the Orioles (16-19) send Zach Britton to the hill with the chance to complete a three-game sweep over the Seattle Mariners tonight at 7:05.

Britton will go for his sixth win of the season after the Orioles did not have a pitcher record his sixth victory of 2010 until Jeremy Guthrie on August 8. The last Baltimore pitcher to record his sixth win while still in the month of May was Kris Benson in 2006.

According to Elias, the last two Orioles pitchers to record their sixth win as early as May 12 were Scott Erickson (May 11, 1997) and Jimmy Key (May 7, 1997). Unsurprisingly, that also marked the last time the Orioles had a winning season.

Seattle will counter tonight with left-hander Justin Vargas who will be making his fifth career start against the Orioles. He is 1-1 with a 2.35 earned run average in his four starts (23 innings) against Baltimore.

After missing Wednesday’s game while stricken with a stomach bug, Nick Markakis is back in the Orioles lineup, and Mark Reynolds regains his spot at third base after getting the night off in the second game of the series. With a lefty taking the bump for Seattle, Buck Showalter will rest Luke Scott and give a rare left-field start to utility man Robert Andino.

Looking at tonight’s lineup, it’s astonishing to see leadoff hitter Brian Roberts with the lowest on-base percentage (.270) among Orioles starters. The veteran is hitless in his last 27 at-bats and has just two hits in the month of May. It’s hard to remember a time when the long-time second baseman has struggled this mightily despite many fans focusing on the struggles of newcomers Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds.

In other news, relief pitcher Josh Rupe has been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk after clearing waivers. He was designated for assignment to clear room for the returning J.J. Hardy on Tuesday.

The Orioles also announced their April 22 postponed game against the New York Yankees will be made up at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday, August 27 as part of a day-night doubleheader at Camden Yards.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

RF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Chone Figgins
1B Justin Smoak
C Miguel Olivo
DH Jack Cust
LF Mike Wilson
2B Jack Wilson
SS Luis Rodriguez
CF Michael Saunders

SP Jason Vargas (2-2, 4.68 ERA)

2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Mark Reynolds
LF Robert Andino

SP Zach Britton (5-2, 2.93 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Tillman topples King Felix, Mariners in 4-2 win

Posted on 12 May 2011 by Luke Jones

No one needed to tell Chris Tillman how important Wednesday’s start was for him and the Orioles.

Coming off arguably the worst outing of his career, a 3 2/3-inning disaster in Kansas City in which he allowed eight runs and 10 hits in a 9-1 loss, the 23-year-old realizes his days in the starting rotation might be numbered with the return of Brian Matusz — and possibly Alfredo Simon — right around the corner. A 7.16 earned run average entering his start against the Mariners screamed anything but security.

The bullpen was shorthanded after seven innings of work in Tuesday’s 13-inning victory, and Tillman’s propensity for short outings forced the Orioles to skip Brad Bergesen’s side session Wednesday and keep the starter on call to pitch in emergency relief. Win or lose, the right-hander needed to get deep into the game.

To add another interesting wrinkle, Tillman was facing the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2006 amateur draft and later traded him to the Orioles in the Erik Bedard trade in February 2008.

And, oh yeah, he happened to be facing the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez, who would be facing a Baltimore lineup without Nick Markakis — a career .464 hitter against the dominant right-hander — who was suffering from a stomach bug.

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The matchup was as lopsided on paper as you’ll find at the major league level, an almost guaranteed victory for the Mariners.

But instead of taking it on the chin, Tillman pitched six innings and allowed just one run to lead the Orioles to an improbable 4-2 victory over King Felix and Seattle. Relying more on his changeup than he had in his first previous six starts, Tillman allowed three hits, walked three, and struck out five to record his second win of the season.

“It felt good,” said Tillman about beating his former team. “First of all, it was good seeing those guys again, the few that are left. But I think that gave me a little extra boost. Kind of wanted to stick it up their butts a little bit.”

He received plenty of help from Adam Jones, the other marquee player sent to Baltimore in the famed Bedard trade, whose two-run triple in the fifth inning gave the Orioles a 4-1 lead. The center fielder matched a career-high with four hits, raising his average to .286 and giving him the team lead in runs batted in (21).

With uncharacteristic run support, Tillman did the job against a woeful Seattle offense hitting just .232 entering the night. It wasn’t a perfect performance and questions remain about his diminished velocity (the fastball rarely climbed above 89 miles per hour), but his six strong innings were exactly what manager Buck Showalter needed with Jason Berken and Clay Rapada being the only relievers not to have pitched in Tuesday night’s marathon.

“He had a pretty long leash tonight,” Showalter said. “I don’t think he realized just how long it was going to be, especially in the second and third inning. One of those rare times when it’s tough to protect a young pitcher tonight.”

Facing one of the best pitchers in baseball, the Orioles forced Hernandez to pitch into deep counts, forcing his exit after only five innings and scoring three runs in the fifth to take the lead for good. It was enough offense to secure the Orioles’ second straight win and set up an opportunity for a sweep on Thursday night with Zach Britton taking the hill against Jason Vargas.

Kevin Gregg pitched a perfect ninth to earn his seventh save of the season.

Despite the offensive production against Hernandez and solid relief, the story of the night was Tillman, besting the Seattle ace and giving the Orioles an improbable win. It was quite the contrast from his deflating outing against the Royals, at least in the numbers department.

“There wasn’t a whole lot that was different,” Tillman said. “I just made my pitches. Last time, I think I made good pitches early on and then when it came down to making that one pitch, I left it up and they put good wood on it. I think [Matt] Wieters kept me right on line tonight and didn’t let me get away from myself.”

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Live from Camden Yards: Orange Crush chat at 7; Markakis, Reynolds out of lineup against King Felix

Posted on 11 May 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles battle King Felix in the second of a three-game set against the Seattle Mariners**

BALTIMORE — Following one of the craziest games in recent memory, the Orioles face the daunting task of battling against 2010 Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez in the second of a three-game set at 7:05.

The challenge grew even greater this afternoon with the news that right fielder Nick Markakis is out of the lineup due to a stomach virus. It hurts even more when looking at Markakis’ past success against the dominating Seattle right-hander, a .464 average in 28 career at-bats. The high-energy Felix Pie will take his place and bat second in the Baltimore order.

Another lineup change comes via Buck Showalter, who has replaced the struggling Mark Reynolds with Robert Andino at third base this evening. Reynolds is mired in a 9-for-71 slump (.127) and has just five runs batted in in his last 23 games. To say the season’s first 34 games have been a struggle for Reynolds would be an understatement, so a mental break — perhaps for everyone involved — is definitely in order.

Chris Tillman takes the bump for the Orioles as the young right-hander will try to reverse his early-season struggles. His 7.16 ERA ranks last among Orioles starters, and with Brian Matusz’s return — and possibly the return of Alfredo Simon as well — right around the corner, his or Brad Bergesen’s days in the starting rotation may be numbered.

With Baltimore relievers pitching seven innings in Tuesday night’s 13-inning contest, the Orioles are dealing with a taxed bullpen, with Jason Berken and Clay Rapada the only relievers not to work in the series opener against Seattle. Showalter revealed in his pre-game comments that Bergesen will be available in a long-relief role. The right-handed starter skipped his regular bullpen session this afternoon and can pitch in relief if needed. He is still slated to start Saturday’s game in Tampa Bay, but that could change depending on how Tillman fares against the Mariners.

Considering the state of the Orioles bullpen and Tillman’s tenuous hold on a spot in the rotation, an encouraging start is long overdue. A win against King Felix, however, might be a lot to ask.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

RF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Chone Figgins
1B Justin Smoak
C Miguel Olivo
DH Jack Cust
2B Adam Kennedy
LF Carlos Peguero
SS Brendan Ryan
CF Michael Saunders

SP Felix Hernandez (4-2, 3.02 ERA)

2B Brian Roberts
RF Felix Pie
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Robert Andino

SP Chris Tillman (1-3, 7.16 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Orioles prevail over Mariners in wild 13-inning affair

Posted on 11 May 2011 by Luke Jones

Maybe it was as simple as J.J. Hardy’s return to a struggling lineup.

After all, the Orioles were 6-1 when the shortstop left the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers on April 9 and had gone 8-18 before he made his return from the disabled list Tuesday night. Hardy collected four hits, including a home run in his first at-bat, as the Orioles prevailed in a wild 7-6 final in 13 innings over Seattle.

Hardy’s back and all is right in the Orioles’ world, right?

Of course, you’ll excuse my delirium after what will surely be remembered as one of the craziest games of the season.

What started as a solid pitching matchup through six innings between Jake Arrieta and Seattle’s rookie sensation Michael Pineda transformed into a contest filled with comebacks, mishaps, close calls, and a near brawl.

Baltimore’s two favorite relievers, Mike Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg, surrendered leads after the Orioles had fought from behind on two separate occasions to take the lead. Adam Jones’ two-run double in the bottom of the sixth gave the Orioles their first lead in 40 innings before Gonzalez promptly gave the lead right back to Seattle in the seventh.

Gregg blew a ninth-inning save opportunity with two outs thanks to a bloop single to left by Justin Smoak to score Michael Saunders and tie the game, 5-5.

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What followed was inexplicable.

In the last of the ninth, Hardy led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brian Roberts, putting the winning run in scoring position. Nick Markakis lined a hard single to left fielder Mike Wilson, who fielded the ball quickly with Hardy slowing his stride into third base. Instead of logically holding Hardy at third with Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero due up with one out, third base coach John Russell sent the runner and Hardy was gunned down at the plate by 10 feet.

Being aggressive is one thing, especially when you’ve struggled to score runs all season, but running yourselves out of an inning — and a potential win — is another story.

“I don’t want to say it was a late call,” said Hardy, choosing his words carefully about Russell’s decision to send him home in the ninth, “but I guess it did surprise me a little bit.”

The game went to extra innings, where the action turned chippy in the bottom of the 10th when Felix Pie hit a harmless grounder to Smoak. Seeing he was about to be tagged, Pie momentarily ran back toward the plate — perhaps trying to create the first rundown between home and first in baseball history — before turning back to first and charging into the Seattle first baseman, who was blocking the baseline.

The two exchanged words as both dugouts emptied and the bullpens came charging in before order was quickly restored without any punches being thrown.

Asked after the game whether he was surprised that the altercation caused both benches to empty, Pie delivered the line of the year, drawing laughs from the gathered media.

“I’m not surprised. I play winter ball in the Dominican, so a lot of those things happen.”

Is that right?

In the top of the 12th, the Orioles benefited from a favorable call at the plate as Miguel Olivo appeared to slide under the tag of Matt Wieters on a relay throw from Roberts. Instead of the play giving the Mariners the lead, the teams played into the 13th.

After playing 10 seasons in the minors before being called up to the Mariners, Wilson’s first major league hit to left-center plated Jack Wilson to give Seattle a 6-5 lead in the top of the 13th and seemingly their first extra-inning win of the season.

However, the Orioles had one final rally in the bottom of the 13th as Felix Pie singled in Markakis with the tying run, and two batters later, Wieters collected the walk-off hit to score Pie and give the Orioles a 7-6 victory. It marked the third time in the game the Orioles had come from behind to take the lead.

“As long as we keep getting opportunities, you have a chance to win,” said Wieters about the club’s 20 hits and 16 men left on base. “Until that final out is made, you’ve always got a chance. To get that win I think is going to be big for this ball club moving forward.”

Big in a number of ways.

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak and gave the Orioles their first win in extra innings after losing their first three this season.

And with the bullpen taxed after pitching seven innings and the struggling Chris Tillman taking the hill against Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez on Wednesday night, it was a game the Orioles couldn’t afford to lose. After the game, manager Buck Showalter would not rule out a possible roster move to add another arm to the bullpen with Jason Berken now the only long reliever on the 25-man roster after Josh Rupe was designated for assignment earlier Tuesday.

All in all, just another night at the ballpark.

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Live from Camden Yards: Orange Crush chat at 7, ‘Hardy’ a lineup change as Orioles take on Seattle

Posted on 10 May 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles play the opener of a three-game set against the Seattle Mariners**

BALTIMORE — After plenty of speculation that changes were coming to the Orioles’ struggling lineup, the only noticeable different is the return of shortstop J.J. Hardy, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list earlier this afternoon.

He replaces long reliever Josh Rupe who was designated for assignment.

Fresh off a sweep to the Tampa Bay Rays and having lost six of their last seven, the Orioles (14-19) return to action this evening against the Seattle Mariners (16-19) this evening with Jake Arrieta taking the hill against rookie sensation Michael Pineda. The right-hander was named American League Rookie of the Month in April after going 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in his first five big league starts before the calendar turned. Pineda has an impressive 39 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings this season.

Arrieta will seek his fifth win of the season and will try to reverse a nightmarish turn through the rotation for Baltimore starters. In the Orioles’ last four games, starting pitchers have allowed 23 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings.

The Orioles hope to get a spark from the returning Hardy, who last played on April 9 before a strained left oblique landed him on the disabled list. In a three-game rehab stint at Triple-A Norfolk, Hardy was 2-for-9 with three walks and two runs scored. Most importantly, he reported no pain and billed himself fit to return.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

RF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Chone Figgins
1B Justin Smoak
C Miguel Olivo
DH Jack Cust
2B Adam Kennedy
LF Carlos Peguero
SS Brendan Ryan
CF Michael Saunders

SP Michael Pineda (4-2, 2.58 ERA)

2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
3B Mark Reynolds
SS J.J. Hardy

SP Jake Arrieta (4-1, 4.35 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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