New Baltimore Orioles catcher Nick Hundley’s first hit for the Birds was a game-winning single in the tenth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Over the past week, the Baltimore Orioles played a couple of the worst games seen in recent memory by a Baltimore team. But on this Memorial Day in Milwaukee, they played one that will be long remembered as a great game for the entire team.
Chris Tillman again had another very difficult start by giving up six runs in 5.1 innings. With a 6-3 deficit going to the seventh inning, Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homer to cut the margin to 6-4. Two innings later with that same score, and with two outs in the ninth and the Brewers fans standing for the final out, Schoop did it again off Francisco Rodriguez. Now 6-5 and still down to their final swing, Delmon Young drove a pinch-hit single into left field and was immediately replaced on first base with David Lough. Nick Markakis powered a mega-clutch double into left-center field scoring Lough to tie the game.
In the bottom of the ninth, Nick Hundley took a shot at being the goat rather than a hero. With a runner at first and one out, on a bunted ball in front of the plate he threw the ball down the right-field line, putting runners at second and third with one out. Ex-Oriole Mark Reynolds came to bat against Darren O’Day with a drawn-in infield; and he hits a screamer to J.J. Hardy who doubles the runner off third! Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good!
Hardy doubled in the top of the tenth inning, setting up the redemption opportunity for Hundley who singled home what would be the game-winning run.
Zach Britton came on for the save, giving up a single and walk with one out, before inducing a game-ending double-play grounder.
There is no way to speak of this game other than to call it a great win for the Baltimore Orioles as they open their most difficult road trip of the season. This is the sort of thing a team can build upon. Today was a game the Orioles should not have won, but they hung in there and hung in there some more until they came away with a victory.
It was great to see Schoop get the two homers. I’ve said it before – I’m so impressed with the way the ball comes off his bat … it really has authority and carries well. J.J. Hardy is now hitting over .300 and I’ll take this all day rather than the home runs at a .235 average. It is great to see Adam Jones having game after game with hits – tripling home two runs today and playing great defense.
Paragraph by paragraph, I am writing an article for publication after the season’s end that will detail highlights and great wins for this 2014 club. This game will be a part of that piece. Could it be a turning point highlight? Time will tell on that, but again, this is the sort of game that can pull a team together with a sense of rightful destiny and defined purpose.