The Baltimore Orioles got out of the month of April, and Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t be happier, pitching 7.1 innings of shut-out, spectacular ball on the way to the O’s 3-0 win in Minnesota.
Game 27 Baltimore Orioles (15-12) 3 Minnesota Twins (12-15) 0
W: Ubaldo Jimenez (1-4, 5.19)
L: Ricky Nolasco (2-3, 5.82)
S: Tommy Hunter (8, 2.53)
MVP: Ubaldo Jimenez, 7.1 IP, 10 K’s, 3 H, 1 BB, 10 ground ball outs, only 2 fly ball outs
The GOOD: Ubaldo Jimenez. This is the player the Orioles were hoping for when they gave him the 4 year, $50 million deal in the offseason. He was efficient, he changed speeds, he blew away hitters, he had 10 strikeouts. To put it succinctly, Jimenez was dominant.
Once Jimenez exited, Zach Britton came in and did what he has done all year, strand a runner and pitch lights out. Britton’s ERA is down to 1.06. Speaking of lowering ERAs, Tommy Hunter made fans a little nervous allowing a lead-off double. But he came back and got the next three, including two on strikeouts. Hunter also was getting squeezed a little at the plate.
Also good was Nelson Cruz. Dan Duquette’s two biggest acquisitions showed why on Friday night at Target Field. Cruz went 2/4, had a double and a 2-R HR. Nelson also scored on a Matt Wieters RBI. Speaking of Wieters, he went 2/3 and was walked once. He now is hitting a scorching .354. Going in to Friday’s action he was 8th in the majors in average, and will only move up. In fact, Wieters could start Saturday as the AL leader in batting average!
Also good was watching Manny Machado be Manny Machado. He made a couple fine plays in the field, and also had his first hit of the season, and then scored on Cruz’s rocket to left field.
The BAD: Well, not a lot. Steve Pearce struck out three times, coming back down to Earth a little after being Thursday’s hero. JJ Hardy and Delmon Young were the only Orioles not to register a hit in the game.
Jonathan Schoop picked up his fifth error of the season, although it did not slow down Ubaldo. The Orioles defense has not been as crisp this season as last, but the Orioles picked up their second win in as many days when making an error.
What’s NEXT: The Baltimore Orioles will send lefty Wei-Yin Chen (3-1,4.34) to the mound for Saturday’s matinee game against the Minnesota Twins and right-hander Kevin Correia (0-3, 7.33). First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 from Target Field. The Orioles will try to continue their winning streak on the first Saturday of May.