A pair of two-run homers by Adam Jones was all the offense the Orioles would need on Monday night in Anaheim to defeat the Angels 4-2. The “no-miss” long balls each followed a single and double by Nick Markakis. Beyond that, Steve Pearce and Nelson Cruz each had an isolated single. And that is the end of the offensive report for this game.
The Angels’ starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker was extremely good, apart from the four hits by Markakis and Jones. He had about the best split-finger pitch you will ever see, and over his 5.2 innings he tallied 10 strikeouts. By the end of the game, 15 Orioles had struck out. The only starter to not have a strikeout against him was Cruz.
Yet at the same time, a total of 11 Angels walked away from the plate, most of them looking … some of them angry at the umpire. The last reference is to Mike Trout, who said at the All-Star game that he wanted to be like Derek Jeter. Yep. He’s doing it.
Orioles fans have to love starter Bud Norris. He is the quintessential “battler.” He had some good stuff, though it was not as outstanding as Shoemaker. But Norris fought and battled the whole evening. He gave up eight hits and two walks over his 6.2 innings, yet always seemed to have the critical pitch at the most important moment. What a great competitor.
Along the way, in the second inning, Norris also had to overcome a nasty “comebacker” that hit him in the right shin or ankle. It was clearly an extremely painful event, but he walked it off and threw a 95 mph fastball for his first pitch after the incident.
After tonight, I am a Bud Norris fan for sure! He does not have the best stuff, but he is one very feisty competitor who won’t let up in any circumstance.
The bullpen of Brian Matusz, Darren O’Day, and Zach Britton got the final seven outs of the game in order, preserving the win that puts the Orioles back to four games ahead of the Jays and Yankees who both were losers. Yes, I called them “losers” … and it felt good.
But again, the star of the game is Adam Jones, who totally centered and smashed a pair of pitches to account for the difference. Being from Southern California, he looked totally at home in every way. When asked about it after the game, he remarked about the weather and the air as compared to Baltimore, “You don’t have to worry about sweating your life away in BP (batting practice).”
Game two of the series (#99 on the year) will have Miguel Gonzalez headed to the mound with his 4-5, 4.04 ERA. Will he be able to keep the potent Angels offence under control? Erick Aybar will be returning to the lineup tonight.
In his career, Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 21 innings against his former franchise. The LA roster against him is a combined 9-for-47 (.191). Trout is 2-for-9, but both hits were home runs. Howie Kendrick is 3-for-9 … and that’s about it!
The Angels will counter with Hector Santiago – no ace, with a 2-7 record and 4.32 ERA. The 26-year-old has only ever pitched 14 innings against the O’s who are a combined 10-for-46 (.217) against him. Adam Jones is 3-for-8 with a home run, and Chris Davis is 2-for-6 with a homer; but J.J. Hardy is 0-for-8.
Game time is again at 10:05.