And while the Rangers’ parade of five pitchers prevented Nelson Cruz from hurting them with bombs or RBIs, he still delivered three hits and scored two runs. And he also reached base on his first two at-bats, which were both errors by shortstop Luis Sardinas.
All in all it was a good team effort, as everyone on the Orioles contributed at least one hit of the total of 13, expect for J.J. Hardy – who did tally a sacrifice fly RBI.
The final line for Bud Norris – 5 innings / 5 runs / 6 hits / 2 walks / 5 strikeouts – looks worse than the actual performance. Though he ran too many deep counts (including six full counts) and gave up the two Beltre blasts, he came through with a number of critical strikeouts at key moments.
The Baltimore Orioles bullpen also performed in grand fashion, shutting down the Rangers over the final four innings. None of them were clean innings, but T.J. McFarland, Darren O’Day, and Zach Britton did the necessary job to preserve the win. O’Day’s ERA right now is .75 and Britton’s is .88.
It was not a great evening on the basepaths for the Orioles, as they ran themselves into three outs. But the Birds kept the pressure on for the entire game, never being set down in order in any of the nine innings. However, the same was true for the Rangers, therefore making for a long nine-inning game lasting 3:33.
But the win gives the Orioles a chance for a series sweep, along with the opportunity to go 6-4 on their longest road trip of the season. And everything about the Thursday matchup would seem to favor the O’s … and yes, I know, that is often a bad sign.
With injury concern problems surrounding Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman will move up a day to make the start. More news will be forthcoming on Friday relative to Gonzalez and the ripple effect this will have – most likely leading to Kevin Gausman rejoining the team.
Tillman enters with a 5-2 season record on a 4.63 ERA. He has been famously lights-out on some occasions, while infamously horrible in several other games. Which guy will show up Thursday night?
The odds would favor the lights-out pitcher, as Tillman has a career 3-1 record over four starts against the Rangers, giving up 10 runs in 28 innings. His WHIP against them is a great 1.04, and Texas has a cumulative batting average of only .208 versus Chris. Alex Rios is only 1-for-9 with a homer against him, while Shin-Soo Choo is 1-for-7 with a homer as well.
Pitching for the Rangers will be Colby Lewis, who has really struggled this season with a 4-4 record and ERA of 5.44. He has really only had two very good starts on the year. And Lewis is 1-4 with a 5.97 ERA in seven previous games against the Baltimore Orioles – giving up 10 home runs in 34.2 innings.