May 1, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcherSteve Clevenger
(45) congratulates pitcherTommy Hunter
(29) after a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Pirates 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Game 25 Pittsburgh Pirates 1 Baltimore Orioles 5 F
W: Bud Norris (2-2, 3.94)
L: Charlie Morton (0-4, 4.21)
S: Tommy Hunter (7, 3.00)
MVP: Steve Pearce 3-4, 2 RBIs, 2-2 with RISP, Great defense at first base in his first game back with the Orioles after resigning
The GOOD: The Orioles won! No, in this game there was a lot of good. Bud Norris toughed his way through throwing 20 pitches in each of the first three innings and also a 20 minute rain delay. It was another inefficient, yet winning start for an Oriole starter.
The bullpen also pitched well in this game. In fact, the normally reliable Brian Matusz was the worst part of the bullpen, which caused Tommy Hunter to come on and get a one-out save.
The offense was effective in this one, but not until after the rain delay. Then, the O’s got some hits, with the bottom of the lineup, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty doing a lot of the damage. Pearce was 3-4 and both drove in two runs. Nick Markakis tacked on a solo home run in the 7th to provide a little insurance.
The BAD: The Orioles made another error in the first of the doubleheader. Darren O’Day had one of the Pirates, I believe Neil Walker, leaning off second base, and turned and fired a pretty bad throw toward J.J. Hardy. However, it ended up not costing him as he got out of the jam.
The top of the order struggled, with the one, two, three and four hitters going 2-15, with the hits by Nelson Cruz and the solo HR by Markakis. Adam Jones continued to look lost in this one, adding another strike out.
What’s NEXT: Well, the Orioles are currently playing game 2 of the doubleheader, and it won’t finish in time for me to do a recap. At this point the O’s just rallied to tie the game. Chris Tillman struggled mightily in the first inning, throwing a whopping 49 pitches, walking two with the bases loaded. Tillman managed to get through 4 2/3, but left up another run in the fifth.
The good news from this game, regardless of if the Orioles complete the comeback, is the return of Manny Machado. Manny doesn’t have any hits yet and hasn’t really been tested at third base. However, just to have Manny back is a plus.
As I started this recap, the Orioles were down 4-0. But now they are putting runners on base and putting up runs and have a great chance to tied the game in the 6th.
The Orioles also are welcoming back Troy Patton, who just entered the game. Patton is another left-handed option for the Orioles’ bullpen. The problem with that is the fact that the Orioles are going to have to fly to Minnesota using two of their starters and their entire bullpen. They will need Ubaldo Jimenez to go deep as they start the series against the Minnesota Twins, and don’t let me be the first to tell you I don’t feel good about that.
However, the rest of the AL East is really, really struggling. The Orioles still sit in second and if they can win, are just half a game behind the New York Yankees.
Jimenez (0-4, 6.59) is scheduled to face Ricky Nolasco (2-2, 6.67) for the Twins. The Twins ballpark is not known for a lot of runs being scored, but with that pitching matchup of underwhelming free agent acquisitions, it may be a high-scoring affair. The Twins offense may have a lot of names unrecognizable to many casual fans, but Chris Colabello is one of the best hitters in the first month of the season, and the Twins are putting up a lot of runs.