Sunday, May 2, 2010

O's offense wakes up in 12-9 win

It's about time. After scoring one run through the first four innings and trailing the Red Sox by three (4-1), the Orioles offense exploded for six runs in the fifth and four more runs in the sixth (and another run in the seventh for good measure). The bullpen didn't pitch particularly well and allowed the Red Sox to score five combined runs in the seventh and eighth innings, but the offense had done enough as the O's were able to hold on to the lead and win, 12-9.

The O's pounded out 12 hits (and three walks), and five of those 12 hits were home runs. Ty Wigginton continues to crush the ball, hitting two solo homers, and Luke Scott had a solo shot of his own. But the two big blasts came from Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis, who each had three-run homers. The home run for Wieters was his first since Opening Day against the Rays.

Going down the lineup, Adam Jones had two hits and a walk, and he scored three runs. Markakis went 3-4 and had a team-high 5 RBI. Wieters, Miguel Tejada, and Scott each had a hit, and Wigginton, as mentioned above, had two big hits. Rhyne Hughes had two singles, and Nolan Reimold, who is still scuffling at the plate, went 0-2 but did have a walk. Cesar Izturis went 0-4 but managed to score two runs.

Brad Bergesen, who was given Jim Johnson's roster spot in order to start, wasn't a whole lot better than in his three previous starts. He gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings, but he did manage not to walk a batter while striking out two. But even though he was pitching in and around the zone, he was still getting hit hard. He allowed two solo home runs, one to David Ortiz and another to Jonathan Van Every. I guess Bergesen will get another start or two, but after four starts he has a 10.57 ERA. That's not going to cut it for very long.

Mark Hendrickson relieved Bergesen and was effective at first, retiring the first four batters he faced and striking out two of them. But in the seventh with two outs and runners on second and third, Hendrickson gave up a two-run single to Victor Martinez and then a two-run bomb to Kevin Youkilis to cut the O's lead to 11-8. Alberto Castillo came in for Hendrickson to retire the final batter that inning (J.D. Drew), but he stayed in to start the eighth inning and served up a towering home run to Ortiz.

Fortunately, Cla Meredith relieved Castillo and got three quick outs to end the eighth, and Alfredo Simon, who oddly enough is apparently the de facto O's closer at this point, pitched a scoreless ninth for his second career save.

Today, the O's go for a three-game sweep of the Red Sox, with Kevin Millwood set to face Josh Beckett. Millwood has been effective in the early season, but Beckett has struggled mightily. He hasn't been as bad as his 7.22 ERA suggests, but he hasn't been very good either. His strikeouts are down, his walks are up, and his home runs allowed are slightly up. He's been a little unlucky (.352 BABIP), but he's been getting fewer ground ball outs, meaning the solid Red Sox infield hasn't been able to help him out as much.

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