Monday, July 28, 2014

Game of the Day (7/27/14)

Orioles 3, Mariners 2 (10). Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez, who has been both solid and largely unnoticed since coming in as a 28-year-old rookie two seasons ago, took on Seattle's Roenis Elias, who is having an unspectacular debut season at age 25.

Elias was perfect for the first two innings. Gonzalez allowed a Dustin Ackley single in the bottom of the first, but left him on; the second was another story, as Corey Hart and Mike Zunino singled and Chris Taylor doubled, simultaneously picking his first extra-base hit and RBI in his third career major league game. Baltimore responded promptly in the third, as Manny Machado singled, Caleb Joseph doubled, and Jonathan Schoop singled Machado in to tie the score. The Orioles still had runners at the corners, but Nick Markakis popped up and Steve Pearce hit into an inning-ending double play.

The scoring calmed from there, although there were still rallies aplenty. An Ackley single and a Kyle Seager walk put runners at first and second in the bottom of the third before Gonzalez escaped; Nelson Cruz walked in the top of the fourth, and Zunino and Taylor both singled in the bottom of the inning, but all three runners would be left on. Baltimore loaded the bases in the fifth on two-out walks to Schoop and Markakis and a Pearce single, but Elias coaxed a forceout from Adam Jones to end the inning.

Gonzalez was spotless in the bottom of the fifth. Tom Wilhelmsen relieved Elias in the sixth and worked around a two-out JJ Hardy double; Gonzalez then walked Logan Morrison in the bottom of the inning, but left him at first. After Wilhelmsen threw a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, the Mariners rallied in the bottom of the inning against Brian Matusz, as Ackley singled with one out and took second on a wild pitch, then saw Robinson Cano walk behind him. But Matusz recovered, retiring the next two hitters and keeping the game tied at 1.

The tie didn't last much longer. Brandon Maurer took the mound in the top of the eighth and allowed a one-out Jones double. Cruz was intentionally walked, and one out later, Hardy drew another walk to load the bases. Machado then singled to score Jones with the go-ahead run. Darren O'Day relieved in the bottom of the inning and recorded the first two outs without incident, but then served up a game-tying homer to Zunino.

Maurer allowed a leadoff hit to Schoop in the ninth, but Fernando Rodney then entered and got a double play ball from Markakis. TJ McFarland walked Cano in the bottom of the inning but permitted nothing else, sending the game to extras. Jones greeted Yoervis Medina with a double in the top of the tenth; Cruz and Chris Davis then walked to load the bases with nobody out. Hardy popped up, but Machado followed with a longer fly ball that allowed Jones to come in with the go-ahead run, and Zach Britton set the Mariners down in order to finish off the game.

The Mariner and Oriole lineups are not exactly bereft of stars - Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager, for starters. But in this game, the offense came mostly from other sources - in fact, every one of the five runs was driven in by someone occupying one of the bottom three spots in the batting order. That strikes me as something that probably doesn't happen too terribly often.

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