The Baltimore Orioles scored into double figures for the second consecutive day and made a winner of Ubaldo Jimenez in his return from the disabled list. The final score of 10-3 over the St. Louis Cardinals featured three home runs by O’s batters, along with a whole lot of other support.
Most any pitcher would like his chances when his team hits three long balls. Added to the six from the previous evening along with 31 total hits from the two games, the Orioles have scored 22 runs in just 16 innings. The bats are back.
And the most encouraging bat to return to the hits and home runs columns is that of Nelson Cruz. Nellie certainly likes hitting off John Lackey, connecting on this day for his 30th homer of the season – three of them off his irritable foe. The Orioles tagged the former Red Sox pitcher for nine runs in five innings. Sweet!
What is impressive about the nine home runs is that they have been hit by eight different players. That is depth in the lineup, as Buck Showalter rightly commented after the game:
“You want to pass the load around,” Showalter said. “The more a pitcher has to focus on numerous guys, and not have breathing spots in the lineup … Hey, let’s face it, some guys coast a little bit through certain parts and save their bullets. The more you can keep them from doing that, it shortens their outing.”
Speaking of guys with a load of bullets in a clip, Caleb Joseph homered in his fifth consecutive game. An interesting storyline for Sunday afternoon’s series finale will be to see if he can move it to six in a row. This would tie him will Reggie Jackson and Chris Davis as the only Orioles to accomplish that. Pretty impressive stuff!
Presuming that Buck puts Joseph into the lineup on Sunday, he will be facing Lance Lynn who is 11-8 with a 2.89 ERA. This is a good pitcher. In his past six games, the right-hander is 3-2 with only seven runs surrendered in 38.2 innings.
Kevin Gausman pitches for the Orioles, and of course this is his first outing against the Cardinals … heck, it is only the 9th game ever between these franchises. Guasman is currently 6-3, 3.77 ERA.