The Baltimore Orioles got another spectacular game from their defense, with key double plays and an out at home to preserve the lead en route to a 3-2 win over AL East leading Toronto.
Game 67 – Toronto Blue Jays (40-30) 2 Baltimore Orioles (35-32) 3 F
W: Bud Norris (6-5, 3.73)
L: R.A. Dickey (6-5, 4.08)
S: Zach Britton (7, 0.76
MVP: Nick Hundley 0-2, 1 RBI, 1 SF, 1 big one at home
The GOOD: Once again, the Orioles starting pitching. Bud Norris gave the Orioles their sixth straight quality start. Norris started rough, and walked in a run, and Oriole fans were cringing.
But after the first two innings, Norris pitched very well, picking up five strikeouts. Norris is quietly making himself a very important part of the team.
One thing about Bud is he is not afraid to show emotion, and there aren’t many Orioles who are like that. For that reason, I think he has endeared himself to the O’s fans. Bud could have easily been the MVP in this game as well.
It would also have been easy to give the MVP to Chris Davis for his two-run home run. As that ended up being the winning margin. However, Davis, Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz all showed a maddening trait in this one.
The MVP award goes to Hundley because he jump started a struggling offense. His sac fly allowed the Orioles to get on the board. The offense was stagnant and was stranding runners left and right before Hundley drove in Delmon Young.
And his defense helped save a run as well, with his tag of Jose Bautista at the plate. The Orioles often overlooked defense was at it again, getting huge outs and turning double plays to help their pitchers out of jams.
The Orioles have made more errors this year than last, but their defense continues to be top notch. Nelson Cruz had several great defensive plays, two sliding catches and the throw home to get Bautista at the plate.
The BAD: The Orioles hitting approach is becoming frustrating. Today, their 3-4-5 hitters each batted four times.
Adam Jones saw 10 pitches, and was 0-2 with runners in scoring position. Davis saw 10 pitches and was 1-2 with runners in scoring position, and those 10 pitches included being walked once. Nelson Cruz saw all of 5 pitches. 5 pitches in four at-bats.
Several of these at-bats came when R.A. Dickey was on the ropes, yet the Orioles offense let him off the hook by swinging early.
What’s NEXT: The Orioles closed the gap to 3.5 games once again, and have a chance to take three out of four against the Jays and cut the division lead to 2.5. The Orioles send Chris Tillman (5-3, 4.91) to the mound, and hope he will rebound from several shaky outings. Tillman has not been good at home this year, something O’s fans hope changes on Father’s Day.
The Jays will counter with JA Happ (5-3, 4.37). Happ hasn’t had a lot of success against the O’s, so with a full Camden Yards expected on Sunday, hopefully the O’s can give the fans something to cheer for. The offense is due to break out, so maybe this will be the game. Of course one could also say the pitching is due for a stinker. Just as long as the game isn’t like last Sunday.