Jun 14, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bud Norris (25) pitches during the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Enough to Win

The Baltimore Orioles had just enough good things happen on Saturday to pull out a critical 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. This gives the Orioles a 2-1 lead in the series, and a win on Sunday would enable them to pick up a full two games on the Jays as a result of the four-game set. Bud Norris pitched well – not incredibly well, but solidly enough to get through 6.2 innings while yielding only one run. He pitched out of some trouble, and as he often does, limited the damage that could have possibly ensued. I will admit to not being solidly sold on Norris from the end of last season and over the winter offseason. But he has grown on me for sure. Norris is not going to be an all-star, but you have to like the competitive fire and bulldog approach. The margin of victory for the Baltimore Orioles came on a Chris Davis two-run shot to left field. Oh how the Birds need this as a common experience. The O’s took advantage of a fielding error on an Adam Jones grounder to short to have a runner on base for Davis. And speaking of left field, though Nelson Cruz has cooled off at the plate, he helped in the field in this game – making a nice sliding catch in a critical situation, and hitting the cut-off (J.J. Hardy) on an Edwin Encarnacion double to nail Jose Bautista at the plate. The first Orioles run was set up by good base running by Delmon Young and a sac fly from Nick Hundley. Little things that add up! And enough things added up to eek out a win – stuff like a game-ending double play after Zach Britton walked Jose Reyes with one out in the top of the ninth. So, put it in the books as one in the win column; but how about we have a Father’s Day special where the Orioles win a game something like 15-0? Now, can the Baltimore Orioles get a sixth consecutive good game from their pitchers? They have only yielded nine runs as a staff over the past six games. Taking on that task for the Birds will be Chris Tillman. And as we always ask, which Tillman will show up? Will it be the one with two quality starts in his last three games? Or will it be the guy who has twice in his last five starts failed to go beyond one inning? Tillman gave up no earned runs in eight innings against the Jays on April 11th, but on April 23rd they whacked him for seven runs in 5.2 innings. It is all about command. The Orioles hitters will be going against J.A. Happ, who is 5-3 with a 4.37 ERA. He pitched 2.2 innings against the O’s on April 23rd and gave up a solo homer to Matt Wieters. There is not an extensive history of Orioles hitters against Happ. Adam Jones in 5-for-10, Nick Markakis is 4-for-10 with a double, Steve Pearce is 3-for-9 with a double, and Manny Machado is 2-for-6 with a triple. J.J. Hardy and Delmon Young are 1-for-7, while Davis is hitless in three attempts and Cruz has one hit in two at-bats. This looks like a winnable game, and that would be very big for the Baltimore Orioles at this point of the season.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Bud Norris

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