So what is the one thing that is better than beating the Boston Red Sox? Of course – beating them twice on the same day!
And that is what the Baltimore Orioles did on Saturday by taking a daytime home-field victory in Sarasota 7-3 and then busing the mostly “B” team down to Ft. Myers to paste them again 13-2.
Both games featured the huge encouragement of three strong innings from Orioles starters. In Sarasota, Bud Norris had a very effective outing by giving up only two hits in three innings while touching 92 with the fastball. And in Ft. Myers, Kevin Gausman repeated the feat by giving up only one hit in three frames.
Other solid pitching performances were turned in by Orioles hurlers in each game. Darren O’Day pitched a perfect frame in the afternoon (throwing some newly-learned change-ups), while Tim Berry looked extraordinary in two innings to finish the game. In the evening, Ryan Meek followed Gausman with two perfect innings and six strikeouts, Mike Wright with two scoreless innings, and Ryan Webb with a perfect 8th. The Red Sox were shut out for 8.2 innings until Troy Patton gave up a two-run homer to Christian Vasquez for Boston’s only score.
The only other struggling pitching performance at all on Saturday was Tommy Hunter who left a pitch in the middle of the plate that Will Middlebrooks did not miss – depositing it well over the Sarasota fence. And Eduardo Rodriguez allowed a two-run homer to the Sox’ right fielder Bryce Brentz, though Rodriguez showed the form that has the Orioles so high on his potential.
In Sarasota, 12 Baltimore Orioles players pounded out 13 hits, with Matt Wieters as the one player to register two. Nick Markakis looks as strong and locked-in as I’ve ever seen him and he doubled, as did J.J. Hardy and Nelson Cruz. And Alex Gonzalez continues to impress and make a case for being retained with a beautiful swing on a two-run homer.
The Baltimore Orioles offense in Ft. Myers was more than sufficient with Henry Urrutia doubling in a run, while Rule 5 draftee Michael Almanzar gave the Birds a 4-0 lead with a two-out double in the sixth inning. (This might help make the Sox wish they had him back, which, of course, may well happen). Almanzar would add another RBI in the next inning where the wheels completely came off for the Red Sox, as the Orioles used a series of errors and hits to score five more runs before an out could be registered. Even minor leaguer Mike Yastrzemski got into the act with a hit and two RBIs for the Orioles… gotta love that angle!
For the Red Sox, you know you have had a bad day when you have 3x as many errors as runs, and twice as many errors as hits. Yes, Boston committed six errors in the game, with only three hits and the two runs.
You have to love this Kevin Gausman kid and some of the stuff he says. He is trying out some glasses, since his contacts are doing some funky things with his eyes (the opposite of my experience with both). But Suns writer Eddie Encina tweeted these great quotes from the young pitcher,
“I feel like when I put them on I have a little alter-ego … Maybe it will evolve into a piece of tape in the middle. Whatever makes the hitter think, ‘What is this geek doing on the mound?’ and then throw it by them.”