Jul 1, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor (73) is out at second base as Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) makes the play in the seventh inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Rangers 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles – Moments that Prove Big in a Ball Game

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The Baltimore Orioles took to the sky again last evening to hit three home runs and win the second game of the Texas series by a score of 8-3. Hey, when you hit three or four homers each night, who needs the three-run bomb to make a difference?

Actually, making a difference in every game is one play or two, here and there, that one team makes and another fails to accomplish.

Tuesday night was an illustration of this very principle. Let’s talk short stops …

In the bottom of the fourth inning with the bases loaded, Caleb Joseph hits a routine double-play grounder to short stop Elvis Andrus, who does not come up with the ball. The Rangers should have been out of the inning trailing the game by a 4-2 score. By the time the third out was recorded, the score was 8-2.

In the top of the next inning – the fifth – with one out and a runner on first base, the same Elvis Andrus grounds a ball to Jonathan Schoop. J.J. Hardy make an incredibly excellent turn at second base and narrowly gets Andrus at first on his throw. Inning over. McFarland’s night ended successfully. In the win column for the Birds.

Tonight’s Game ……..

The Orioles will be facing the Rangers’ Miles Mikolas. Yes, the first at-bat will feature Markakis versus Mikolas – gotta love this sport. Who needs The World Cup with names like these?

Mikolas has pitched one inning this year for Texas. The other 14.2 innings of his big league career were in San Diego in 2012 and 2013. He has never started a MLB game. He was 5-1 with a 3.22 ERA at his AAA assignment this year – pitching in 16 games, starting a total of six of them.

All of this is, of course, terrible news for the Baltimore Orioles. This is the sort of pitcher that will shut them out with only two hits over seven efficient innings … something like that seems to often occur.

The Orioles will go to Chris Tillman tonight. He is now 7-4 with a 4.18 ERA, and has given up only five runs on 23 hits in 28 innings over his past four starts. Tillman’s last start against Texas was on June 5th, and it was one of those two total disaster games he has pitched this season. He only lasted one inning, getting drilled for five runs on six hits and three walks.

If you take away those two one-inning meltdowns from Tillman’s record, he has a 2.82 ERA in the remaining games.

Tillman is 3-1 / 4.66 ERA in five career starts against the Rangers. The current Texas roster is 15-for-68 against Tillman, but with three doubles and four homers. Elvis Andrus is 5-for-11, and Adrian Beltre is 4-for-9 with a home run. Alex Rios Carlos Pena, and Shin-Soo Choo are a combined 3-for-26, with Rios and Choo having a home run as their only hits.

Here is the Baltimore Orioles’ batting order for tonight – game #3 of the series, and #3 without Manny Machado

Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Chris Tillman J.J. Hardy

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