The Baltimore Orioles were in danger of being part of history as Danny Duffy had a perfect game through 6.2 innings, but in the end it is just another ugly offensive output in a 1-0 loss.
Game 41 – Baltimore Orioles (22-19) 0 Kansas City Royals (21-21) 1 F
W: Danny Duffy (2-3, 1.42)
L: Bud Norris (2-4, 3.58)
S: Greg Holland (11, 2.25)
MVP: Danny Duffy, Perfect game into the 7th inning, 7 IP, 2 H allowed, 2 K’s, 0 BB
The GOOD: The Orioles pitching did another stellar job on Saturday, which is a theme for the team lately. Bud Norris had another excellent start, allowing one run in the first inning which came off an infield single, stolen base, and a single back up the middle. He probably could have finished the game as well. Norris left up 4 hits, only walked 1, and hit another batter.
As far as the rest of the game, the Orioles didn’t get no-hit. However, all three players who had hits (Machado, Jones and Cruz all also had bad at-bats). I will get to that in a second.
The BAD: The Orioles’ stagnant offense continues for another day, but this time it almost made history. Danny Duffy was setting them down through 6 innings, with a perfect game intact. Then Nick Markakis was robbed by Alex Gordon on an incredible diving catch, and you had a feeling that it might be Duffy’s day. But, Adam Jones was able to break up the perfect game with two outs in the 7th.
However, the Orioles only had three hits in the game, all singles. And each of those players also had bad at-bats. Manny Machado got a hit in the ninth inning to keep the game alive. However, earlier in the game (4th inning), the count was 3-0 and Manny swung at the pitch and popped it up, on a ball that may have been out of the strike zone. Jim Palmer was not afraid to voice his disdain for that decision.
Then in the ninth, Nick Markakis was walked after Steve Clevenger weakly struck out as the pinch hitter. The first pitch was in the dirt and Manny Machado flailed at it, with the ball getting away from Royals’ catcher Brett Hayes. Markakis should have easily went to second, but he didn’t. Manny would single later in the at-bat, meaning Nick may have scored if he was on second base instead of first.
With men on the corners and one out, Adam Jones struck out not once, but twice in his at-bat, even getting a second chance on a missed call that got Royals Manager Ned Yost tossed from the game. Jones couldn’t lay off anything in the dirt, raise your hand if you have heard that before.
Then, after Chris Davis worked a walk to load the bases, Nelson Cruz struck out. Now his at-bat was not as egregious as Jones or Machado, but striking out there is deflating. He just couldn’t catch up to what Greg Holland threw.
Manny Machado also had an error in this game. The O’s still lead the majors in defense, but anytime the platinum Gold Glover makes an error, it makes its way onto the bad list.
What’s NEXT: The Orioles go for the series win Sunday at 2:10 from Kauffman Stadium. The matchup is a battle of two top pitchers, as Ubaldo Jimenez (2-4, 4.02) and his sterling May statistics take the mound against James Shields (5-3, 2.54). Not exactly the best matchup for two teams struggling to hit, but you never know when you might get one of those surprising games where it looks like a pitcher’s duel on paper, but ends up being a slugfest. With both these teams due to break out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen.