June 9, 2014

Game 57: Orioles; Bats Stay Hot

The Orioles continued their offensive outburst with another 14-hit effort on Tuesday.  Picking up where they left off last night, Baltimore got out to an early lead as the red-hot Adam Jones delivered any RBI single up the middle.  Bud Norris got into early trouble and the lead did not last for long as Adrian Beltre delivered a two-run bomb to the right field seats to give Texas an early advantage.  Norris settled in from that point on as he navigated through the Rangers lineup by working counts and escaping potential run scoring situations. The O's were again able to cash in with runners in scoring position as they tacked on three runs in the 4th inning which included a Markakis solo shot and another Adam Jones single that drove in Machado to give the Orioles the lead.  Crush Davis would tack on a 5th run by sending his 8th homerun into the roght field bleachers.

As his pitch count mounted into the 5th, Norris took a hard bouncing ball off his right forearm from off the bat of Mitch Moreland to put two runners on with two away.  Buck and medical staff quickly went out to attend to their starter as he nursed his pitching.  However, Norris convinced trainers and his manager to stay in the game which would not bode well for the O's. Trouble came in the form of the next batter, Beltre, who once again took Norris deep to even the game at 5. Beltre has now took Orioles starters deep 3 times in the first two games of this series and continues to haunt Baltimore way back to his days in Boston and Seattle. Norris had reitred the first two batters of the inning only to allow back-to-back singles and then the homerun before retiring Rios to end the 5th.

The game remained tied until the 8th as both bullpens grinded to avoid breaking the tie. In a rare appearance, TJ McFarland worked the O's out of a jam in the 6th and Darren O'Day relieved him in the 7th to keep the game tied at 5.  Baltimore would break through as Nick Markakis singled home Caleb Joseph(!) to take the lead, 6-5.  As O'Day worked out of another jam, Buck called upon Zack Britton to close out another game. After a perfect bunt by Elvis Andrus to lead off the inning, Britton enduced a double play from Choo and closed out the game with a single and a fielder's choice to seal the Orioles' fourth straight win.

Baltimore reaped the benefits of the top of their order once again as Markakis-Manny-Cruz-Jones combined for 9 of the 14 hits and 4 RBIs.  In addition, the Orioles plate discipline was in rare form as they worked 7 walks, running up the pitch counts of the Texas bullpen.  Another bright spot was Caleb Joseph, who nearly put his first homerun into the seats last night and hit the ball well in his other at-bats.  Joseph made an outstanding play on a botched sacrifice bunt attempt by Donnie Murphy and gunned down Alex Rios at second to help O'Day eventually work out of an 8th inning jam. O'Day has seemed to return to last year's form, keeping his pitches low and getting guys out when he gets them elevated.

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