After dropping the opening game of a day / night doubleheader in Boston on Saturday by a 3-2 score, it was looking bad for the Baltimore Orioles in the nightcap when Ubaldo Jimenez could not find the strike zone. I know that is a shock, so I’ll pause … … … … while you absorb that information.
After catcher Nick Hundley gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, Jimenez’ wildness caught up with him in the bottom of the same inning by giving up four runs and yielding to Brad Brach to get the final out. The bullpen would not be scored upon for the rest of the game, giving up only one run in 5.1 innings.
The comeback began with Nelson Cruz narrowing the score to 4-3 with a powerful home run in the top of the fifth inning. The Orioles then batted around in the top of the sixth inning with four singles and two walks to plate four runs and establish the final score of 7-4.
Nelson Cruz would total five hits in the game with two doubles and two singles to go along with his home run. His fifth hit to the gap in right field gave him a shot at the cycle, but he was tagged out at third base on a head-first slide. (In other news, Orioles farmhand Mike Yastrzemski did hit for the cycle in Frederick on Saturday night!)
Every Orioles batter had at least one hit except for Chris Davis, though he did have more strikeouts than anyone else, totaling three of them. Actually, the Orioles as a team did strike out 13 times – mostly against John Lackey; however, the pitch count would work against him. The Orioles chased him in the big sixth inning on their way to pounding out a total of 16 hits on the evening.
It was also a first game back for Manny Machado who hit the ball hard on two occasions for a 2-for-5 evening, while also making a Manny-like barehanded pickup.
The win gives the Orioles a chance to win the series and take the lead in the season series which is currently tied at 6-6.
On Sunday, the Orioles will be facing veteran Jake Peavy, who is currently just 1-7 with a 4.82 ERA in 17 starts. This will be the third game this season that Peavy has pitched against the Birds. He is 0-1, having given up nine runs in 12.2 innings. Over his career against Baltimore he is 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA in only five starts.
Adam Jones has been a beast against Peavy with a 7-for-12, including a double and home run. Nick Markakis also has a homer among his five hits in 14 at-bats. Nelson Cruz is 4-for-13 with two doubles and a homer, while Delmon Young is 3-for-13 with a double and home run. On the other hand, Chris Davis is only 1-for-10 and J.J. Hardy 2-for-22.
The Orioles will activate Kevin Gausman and start him for the sixth time this season. In 28 innings he is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA. This is his first occasion to face the Red Sox this year. In one start and three relief appearances over 9.2 innings last year, Gausman was 1-0 with only two runs given up on a pair of solo home runs.
It will be interesting to see if this time will be the final trip back to the Orioles for Gausman.