Thursday, July 24, 2014

Game of the Day (7/23/14)

Angels 3, Orioles 2. Baltimore's Chris Tillman, who has been pretty good for the last three years, took on LA's Jered Weaver, who has been excellent for nearly a decade.

Weaver set the Orioles down 1-2-3 in the first. In the bottom of the inning, Mike Trout singled with one out, and Albert Pujols followed with a single that opened the scoring by bringing Trout home... from first.

Let's pause for a second here. Having watched the replay of this fantastic event, I can confirm that it was a single off the wall, which is out of the ordinary. Trout was not, however, running on the play. You could argue that it should have been scored "Pujols singles, Trout to third, Trout advances on throw and scores," since Nick Markakis threw the ball to second - but it looks as though Trout might have scored anyway. He is very fast.

Anyway, Josh Hamilton reached on an error, but Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick were retired to end the inning. Weaver was spotless again in the second, while Tillman walked Chris Iannetta and allowed a single to Kole Calhoun; with Trout at the plate, Iannetta was then picked off of second to end the inning. Baltimore then tied the score in the top of the third on a Ryan Flaherty double, a Nick Hundley groundout, and a Markakis single. A Pujols double in the third was not converted into scoring, and the starters combined to retire their opponents in order from that point through the top of the fifth.

Calhoun reached on an error by Tillman in the fifth, and Trout followed with a walk, but the runners ended the inning at second and third. Baltimore then jumped ahead in the top of the sixth when David Lough singled, stole second, and came in on a hit by Adam Jones. LA threatened once more in the home sixth when Aybar was hit by a pitch and Kendrick singled, but Tillman retired the next three hitters and once again stranded the runners at second and third.

Chris Davis led off the seventh with a single, but Weaver retired the next three hitters; Trout drew a one-out walk from Tommy Hunter in the bottom of the inning but was doubled up on a Pujols grounder. Weaver permitted only a two-out Lough single in the eighth, and the Angels rallied against Hunter in the bottom of the inning, starting with a Hamilton single and a game-tying Aybar double. Hunter struck out the next two hitters, with Aybar stealing third during the second at bat. Efren Navarro was then intentionally walked, and Iannetta drew an unintentional walk to load the bases. Brian Matusz relieved and walked Calhoun to force in the go-ahead run; Ryan Webb then came on to retire Trout, but the damage was already done. Huston Street walked Davis in the ninth, but allowed nothing else, thereby finishing off the game.

The star of the game was Weaver, who pitched 8 innings and gave up 2 runs - and even that underrates how good he was, because Baltimore had to do a remarkable job of sequencing their hits and outs to score as much as they did.

But great as Weaver was, the lasting memory I'm likely to take from this game is Mike Trout scoring from first on a single.

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