Oct 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce (28) hits a double against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning in game three of the 2014 ALCS playoff baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
For the second consecutive day, the Baltimore Orioles scored six runs in a ballgame. And for the second time, it was enough to win; but six runs should always be enough to win any baseball game.
After opening to a 6-0 lead in the first two at-bats, the O’s only managed to get only one more hit the rest of the game, yet they were able to hold on for a 6-5 victory.
“Holding on” is exactly what it felt like for the final seven innings. In the post-game interview, Showalter said it felt like the root canal surgery he had suffered in the offseason. Good description. The Orioles’ four pitchers threw a grand total of 176 pitches in the game. The Rays – no offensive juggernaut – fouled off pitch after pitch like the Yankees or Red Sox in their prime years.
Wei-Yin Chen was simply not sharp. As in 2014 where he was the recipient of the fourth-best run support in the AL, the O’s began the game with four consecutive hits – plating four runs in the first inning and two in the second. But after a seven-pitch first inning, Chen could not command many of his pitches. He struggled to get any feel or consistency. The velocity was unimpressive. He added to his own troubles by forgetting how many outs there were in one inning and throwing to the wrong base. It was not a good performance.
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Other concerns …
Adam Jones grounded into two double plays. He did this only 11 times for the entire season of 2014.
Even though the Orioles pitchers managed to tally 11 strikeouts, they often appeared to be without any sort of put-away pitch (other than Britton). Of course, the strike zone was completely different and much smaller than it was on Monday.
Though Kevin Gausman registered four strikeouts in 2.1 innings, while also hitting 100 mph on several pitches, he did not look to have very good command.
Other high points …
Jones squared up his first hit of the year by driving a double into left-center field and bringing in two runs in the first inning, as the Orioles bunched four of their six hits.
Travis Snider drove in another run in this first at-bat, and then walked three times. He has patience at the plate, and this was true of this prior record as well.
Steve Pearce’s second home run in two days proved to be the margin of victory. He looks to be seeing the ball well. When he is hot, a team can ride on him.
Though Zach Britton ran full counts to all three batters in the bottom of the ninth inning, he did strike them all out. And over two games he has five strikeouts in two innings. I’m not sure that Showalter will bring him back for a third straight game, so maybe we will be Brian Matusz and Jason Garcia today.
The best high point is that the Orioles are 2-0 with a chance to sweep the opening series. The Orioles did not win their third game in 2014 until the eighth game of the season (which was on this date last year), pounding the Yankees 14-5.