Wednesday, September 1, 2010

O's take first game against Red Sox, face tough test today

Brian Matusz allowed just two runs in six innings, striking out six and walking just one, and Luke Scott and Felix Pie both hit solo home runs in the eighth to give the Orioles a 5-2 win over the Red Sox.

The two runs scored on Matusz came on a two-run shot by Jed Lowrie in the fifth, but those were the only runs the Red Sox could muster against Matusz and the O's bullpen. But with Matusz running out of gas after 98 pitches, the well-rested bullpen went to work, and Jim Johnson, Michael Gonzalez, and Koji Uehara combined for three shutout innings to close the game out. Uehara was particularly impressive, earning a five-out save (his fifth).

The only O's hitters without a hit were Cesar Izturis and Josh Bell, and Scott and Brian Roberts each had two hits. Scott also walked. Nick Markakis went 1-4 with a double, which just happened to be a milestone hit. According to Brittany Ghiroli of, with the hit Markakis became the 19th outfielder since 1900 to record four seasons with at least 40 doubles. Congrats, Nick.

Tonight, though, the O's face a difficult obstacle in Red Sox ace Jon Lester. Lester is already having another fantastic season -- 14-8, 3.12 ERA, 176 K, 63 BB -- but he particularly thrives against the O's. In 15 career starts against Baltimore, Lester is 12-0 with a 2.00 ERA with 77 strikeouts and just 31 walks. The O's will counter with Jake Arrieta (5.10 ERA, 39 K, 46 BB), who lasted just four innings in his last start, against the White Sox. This will be Arrieta's first career start against the Red Sox.

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