Tuesday, May 31, 2011

O's Drop Fourth Straight

The O's five-game win streak is just a distant memory now...

The Birds' struggles on the West Coast continued on Monday afternoon with a 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

Jake Arrieta turned in his worst performance this season, taking the loss after lasting just 2 1/3 innings. Arrieta (6-3) gave up four runs on four hits and four walks while striking out three in a 68-pitch abbreviated outing. Arrieta was pulled after walking in two runs in the third inning...

The bullpen held the Mariners to just two hits over the final 5 2/3 innings, but the damage had been done. Alfredo Simon starred in relief, striking out the first two batters he faced to strand the bases loaded in the third inning. Pedro Viola made his season debut and didn't allow a baserunner in 1 2/3 innings while fanning two.

The offense remained quiet for the most part...Mark Reynolds blasted his team-leading seventh homer in the third inning, a solo shot that put the Birds on the board. The O's managed to score twice more in the eighth inning, but went just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the loss.

The Birds have fallen four games below .500 and are now slowly sinking in the AL East...Boston and New York are tied for first, and the O's are five games out and dwelling in the cellar.

Jeremy Guthrie (2-6) takes on former O's ace Erik Bedard (3-4) on Tuesday night...

Monday, May 30, 2011

West Coast Blues

The Orioles were swept out of Oakland after a 6-4 defeat on Sunday afternoon...

I apologize for the lack of an article after Saturday night's 4-2 loss...it's a holiday weekend, and I took advantage of my free time! I was going to write two separate blogs, but after Sunday's loss I felt one post was better than nothing...

Let's start with Saturday night's loss...Brad Bergesen kept the Birds in the game, but the O's eventually fell to the A's 4-2. Bergesen (1-6) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on nine hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings, while fanning five.

Bergesen was sent down to Triple-A Norfolk after the game...

On Sunday, Zach Britton took the mound and the loss for the O's. Britton (5-3) allowed all six runs on ten hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out three. Britton's worst start came at a bad time for the O's, who were subsequently swept out of Oakland.

After the game, the O's optioned Friday night's starter Chris Tillman to Norfolk as well...

The Birds arrived in Oakland hot off a season-best five-game win-streak and were playing .500 ball. After giving the A's their first sweep of the season, the Orioles are stuck in the cellar heading into Seattle...Jake Arrieta is in search of his seventh win on Monday afternoon.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Win Streak Snapped As O's Fall To Oakland

The O's five-game win streak officially came to an end early Saturday morning as the Birds fell to the Oakland Athletics 6-2 at the Coliseum.

The Birds had plenty of opportunities, but never held a lead during the game. Down 1-0 in the second, the Birds loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before Mark Reynolds drew a free pass to force home the O's first run. J.J. Hardy followed with a swinging strikeout before Jake Fox grounded into a double play, the first of four DP's the O's hit into against the A's. The only other run the Birds would score came on a throwing error by A's shortstop Cliff Pennington, as the Orioles went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position...

Chris Tillman lasted just 4 1/3 innings and may have made his last start of the season (Brian Matusz may be back in the rotation and starting on Wednesday, June 1 against Seattle). Tillman allowed just two runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks but was pulled with the bases loaded after tossing 102 pitches. Alfredo Simon came on in relief and struck the next two batters out to keep the game knotted at two, but was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on four hits and two walks (one intentional) in two innings of work. Michael Gonzalez served-up a solo homer in the eighth to give the A's a commanding four-run lead.

The O's are now a game under .500 and are tied with Toronto for last in the division. The Orioles (24-25) send Brad Bergesen to the mound Saturday night...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Reimold Powers O's Past Royals

I know the headline is that Vladimir Guerrero's RBI single in the 12th inning gave the O's a walk-off 6-5 win over Kansas City, but I'm sticking with Nolan Reimold as my player of the game.

Reimold had the best game of his career, going 4-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs, and the O's would have been lost without him in Thursday afternoon's win over the Royals.

Jeremy Guthrie allowed four runs (three earned) in the second inning, putting the O's in an early hole. Guthrie's run support has been horrible at best, but Reimold single-handedly gave him a chance to earn the win...

Reimold slapped a solo shot in the bottom of the second to put the Birds on the board before drilling a three-run bomb in the third to give the Orioles a 5-4 lead. Reimold set career-highs in hits, homers and ribbies in a single game, and his ground-rule double in the ninth would have scored the winning run had the ball not hopped over the fence in left field...

Guthrie (2-6) settled down after the second inning but gave up another run in the fourth that tied the game. Guth went seven innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits, walking none while fanning four, but had to yield to the bullpen after 106 pitches...

Once again, the bullpen was spectacular...Clay Rapada came on to get one out before Koji Uehara went 1 2/3 innings of one-hit relief, striking out three. Kevin Gregg had all of Baltimore biting their nails but escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, sending the game into extra-innings. Jeremy Accardo pitched two 1-2-3 innings and earned the win after the offense came through in the bottom of the 12th...

The O's actually had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th but were unable to score...Luke Scott grounded out before Matt Wieters grounded into a double-play. Robert Andino led off the 12th with a double, and after Nick Markakis drew an intentional pass, Guerrero slapped a single up the middle to score Andino and give the Birds yet another walk-off victory over Kansas City.

With the win, the O's (24-24) are back to .500 for the first time since mid-April and have won five straight for the first time this season. The Birds now head to the West Coast for a six-game set starting in Oakland on Friday night. Chris Tillman takes the mound for the Orioles...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eight-Run Inning Lifts O's Past Royals

The O's offense exploded for a season-high eight runs in the fourth inning and the club cruised to a 9-2 win over the visiting Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.

Jake Arrieta became the first pitcher on the staff to reach six wins, tossing six strong innings and turning in yet another quality start. Arrieta (6-2) allowed two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out seven and was pulled after 106 pitches. The bullpen shut the door, as Jim Johnson allowed just two hits over two innings and Michael Gonzalez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout...

The offense was silent for the first three innings before erupting in the fourth...Adam Jones led-off the frame with a double and the hits just kept coming. The Birds sent 13 men to the plate and scored eight times on six hits, three walks, an error and a wild pitch. It was the first time since 2009 that the Orioles scored eight runs in a single inning. Mark Reynolds went deep in the eighth inning for the O's ninth and final run...Reynolds is now tied with Luke Scott and Adam Jones for the most home runs (6) on the team...

The O's have now matched their longest winning streak of the season with four straight "W's" and have a chance to set a few milestones on Thursday afternoon...with a win, the Birds will have won five straight for the first time in 2011 and will be back to playing .500 ball in late May for the first time in a while. Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound as the O's attempt to sweep the Royals out of Baltimore...

Jones Gives O's Walk-Off Win

Down to their last strike, the O's defeated the Kansas City Royals in a thrilling 5-3 victory on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

Adam Jones' two-run walk-off homer gave the Birds an amazing come-from-behind win and their third straight "W" in front of the roaring home crowd.

Zach Britton wasn't dominant but kept the O's in the game in a six-inning performance. Britton allowed three runs on nine hits and two walks while fanning two in the no-decision. The bullpen was impressive yet again, with three relievers combining to allow just two hits over the final three frames. Alfredo Simon made his 2011 debut with a 1-2-3 ninth and took the win after Jones' blast.

The O's offense was silent until the sixth inning...down 3-0, Matt Wieters slapped an RBI double and came home on Luke Scott's single to make it a one-run game. The score remained the same until the bottom of the ninth...

With one out, J.J. Hardy doubled, and Felix Pie followed with an RBI double to tie the game. After Robert Andino struck out swinging, the Birds had the winning run on second base with two outs. Adam Jones stepped to the plate, and on an 0-2 count crushed a ball over the center field wall to give the Birds the walk-off win.

With a 22-24 record, the O's are still in last in the division but are just 3 1/2 games out of first. The Birds send Jake Arrieta to the mound on Wednesday night...

Monday, May 23, 2011

O's Take Beltway Series Behind Vlad's Blast

After being held to just one hit through the first six innings, the Birds slapped three in the seventh, including a two-run blast off the bat of Vladimir Guerrero, to take a 2-1 lead over the Washington Nationals.

The score would hold up and the Birds took the Beltway series with a win on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

Chris Tillman went five strong innings, allowing just one run on six hits and two walks while fanning four. Tillman was pulled after five due to a high pitch count, but kept the Birds in the game while the offense was struggling against Jordan Zimmermann.

After Mark Reynolds' ground-rule double in the second inning, the O's were held hitless until Nick Markakis led-off the seventh with a single and Guerrero followed with his fifth homer of the season.

The bullpen was magnificent, holding the Nats to just two hits over the final four frames. Jim Johnson picked up his third win of the season, and Kevin Gregg was awarded his eighth save...

Matt Wieters threw out two batters attempting to steal second base, once in the second inning and again in the ninth to record the final out of the game.

The Birds are off on Monday before starting a three-game set against the visiting Kansas City Royals. Zach Britton takes the mound on Tuesday night and looks to pick up his sixth win of the season...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bats Back Guthrie In Win

For once, Jeremy Guthrie didn't need to be perfect...though he came pretty close.

Guthrie went seven strong innings, allowing just two runs (both unearned) on five hits and a walk while striking out four in an 8-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday afternoon.

Guthrie (2-6) has been the most consistent starter on the staff, tossing quality starts in eight of his nine outings this season. But he has been betrayed by the O's bats, and entered the game with the worst run support of any starter in the AL (the Birds average just 1.7 runs with Guthrie on the mound).

All that changed on Saturday...the Birds backed Guthrie with eight runs, scoring four runs in the third inning and tacking on four more in the seventh. Down 2-0, Nolan Reimold evened it up with his first homer of the season, a two-run blast to left field (it was Reimold's second at-bat since being called up from Triple-A on Friday). The O's banged-out 14 hits, five for extra-bases, and went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position...

Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless eighth before Koji Uehara allowed a run in the ninth, but the Birds evened-up the Battle of the Beltways and have a chance to take the series on Sunday afternoon. Chris Tillman takes the mound for the O's...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nats Crush O's

The O's were utterly humiliated on Friday night, falling to the Washington Nationals 17-5 in the opening act of the Battle of the Beltways.

Jake Arrieta took the loss and was the latest starter to struggle early. Arrieta (5-2) lasted just 3 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on six hits, three walks and a hit batter. Jason Berken came on in relief and hit a batter with his first pitch, walking in a run. Berken was blasted for six runs off five hits (two homers) in just one inning of work, and was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game. Alfredo Simon is back with the club and should be available out of the 'pen on Saturday...

The Orioles used five pitchers in Friday's game, and each allowed at least one run. The Nationals had just been shut-out twice before coming to Baltimore, but mashed 19 hits, including six long balls, against the O's struggling staff. The Birds have now allowed 30 runs in the last two games...

The entire AL East (besides Boston) lost on Friday night, so the Birds didn't lose any ground to the first-place Rays. The O's (19-24) are five games under .500 but just five games out...

Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound on Saturday afternoon and tries to snap the O's current four-game losing streak. Guthrie (1-6) hasn't won since Opening Day.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bergesen Can't Stop The Bleeding

Brad Bergesen allowed five runs in the first inning, and the O's were slaughtered by the New York Yankees 13-2 on Thursday night at Camden Yards.

I can't say I'm surprised, but this was much worse than I ever expected.

Bergesen, fresh off a complete-game victory, was making the start for Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched the fifteenth inning of Wednesday's loss after Michael Gonzalez was ejected for beaning a batter in the head.

It already seems more complicated than it should be. It gets even worse...

Bergesen (1-5) knew he had to go deep against New York, but turned in his shortest outing of the year, allowing eight runs on five hits and three walks in just 3 1/3 innings.

The O's called up relief pitchers Chris Jakubauskas and Troy Patton just in case Bergesen struggled...and both were needed almost immediately. The two pitchers gave up another five runs on nine hits over the final frames before being demoted.

As expected, Derrek Lee was placed on the 15-day DL. Brian Roberts was placed on the newly-enacted 7-day DL while he recovers from headache-like symptoms. The offense was even less potent without them...

The Birds were held scoreless through the first eight innings on Thursday night, and didn't score until the bottom of the ninth after Yankees' ace CC Sabathia was pulled in favor of rookie Amauri Sanit. Sanit allowed two runs on three hits and almost gave up a grand slam to Nick Markakis, but the O's were pretty much finished before the game even started...

The Orioles have now dropped three straight and are 0-6 against New York this season. The Birds (19-23) are still dwelling in the cellar in the competitive AL East, but have a chance to climb back as they take on the Washington Nationals over the weekend. Interleague play begins on Friday night at Camden Yards...Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the O's.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gonzalez Blows Two Games On Four Pitches

Impossible? Maybe. We'll see what happens on Thursday night...

After the O's fell to the Yankees 4-1 in 15 innings on Wednesday night, Thursday's starting pitcher has yet to be determined.


Let's start at the beginning...

Zach Britton started for the Birds and went seven innings, allowing only one unearned run in the fourth. Britton allowed six hits (all singles) while walking three and fanning four, lowering his ERA to a team-best 2.14, yet was about to take the loss before the O's rallied in the ninth inning...

Down 1-0, the Birds rallied against Yankees' closer Mariano Rivera and tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a sac fly off the bat of O's DH Vladimir Guerrero. It was Rivera's third blown save of the season...two have come against the Orioles.

The Birds' bullpen struggles in Boston weren't evident against New York on Wednesday night...six relievers combined for seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out eight.

The O's had plenty of chances in extra innings...the bases were loaded in the 11th and 12th but the Birds couldn't come up with the clutch hit to win the game, and eventually it cost them.

Jeremy Accardo pitched two scoreless frames but allowed back-to-back singles in the top of the 15th inning. The Orioles had just one reliever left...Michael Gonzalez.

Was it a coincidence that Gonzo was the last man standing in the 'pen? Who knows. One thing is certain...he blew it.

Gonzalez's first pitch went for a two-run double off the bat of Robinson Cano, giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead with none out (Cano advanced to third on a throwing error by Adam Jones). His fourth pitch hit Chris Dickerson in the helmet. Gonzalez was immediately ejected from the game, and with no one left in the 'pen, Jeremy Guthrie was forced to warm up and take the mound.

Guthrie allowed a sac fly and retired the Yankees in order, but the damage had been done. The Yankees scored three times in the 15th inning and won the game 4-1. Guthrie was scheduled to start on Thursday, but as of now it remains to be seen who will take the mound for the O's on Thursday night.

The O's (19-22) are now winless in five attempts against New York (22-19). Three of the games have gone into extra innings, but the Yankees have come out on top each time. It just goes to show...the Birds can hang with the best...they just don't know how to finish. Not yet, anyway.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rain Washes O's Back To Baltimore

The O's and Red Sox game was postponed due to rain on Tuesday night, and the Birds flew back to Baltimore to begin an eight-game homestand on Wednesday night.

Zach Britton, scheduled to start in Boston on Tuesday night, will take the mound against the Yankees on Wednesday night at Camden Yards. That is, if the weather holds up...there's an 80 percent chance of precipitation in Baltimore on Wednesday. The O's and Yankees have already had two games postponed this season, once at Camden Yards and once at Yankee Stadium...

The Birds return home with a 2-2 record on this last road-trip...after taking two-of-three against Tampa Bay the O's dropped a heart-breaker on Monday night at Fenway Park. The Orioles host the second-place Yankees for two games before taking on the Washington Nationals over the weekend to kick-off Interleague play. After an off-day on Monday the O's take on the Royals for three games before hitting the road again...

In other news, Derrek Lee may hit the 15-day DL due to his strained oblique suffered in Monday night's defeat. Lee left the game in the third inning and was initially considered day-to-day, but the Orioles aren't going to take any chances with it (this is the same injury that kept J.J Hardy out for a month). The Birds have a few options at first base but will wait to see if Wednesday's game is played before making any roster moves...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No Relief In Boston

It's only one game...one loss. Put it behind you; forget about it; move on to the next game. At least that's what they say...and the ones that say it are always the losers.

The Orioles somehow managed to squander a 6-0 lead and fall to the Red Sox 8-7 at Fenway Park on Monday night.

Chris Tillman pitched five scoreless innings, and the O's backed him up with six runs in what seemed to be a sure win...until the bullpen showed up. Tillman was pulled after just 88 pitches, and we all were wondering exactly why he didn't come out to start the sixth, but after the game it was revealed that Tillman woke up with back stiffness and felt it stiffen up again during the fifth inning.

Tillman, fighting to stay in the rotation, allowed only five hits and three walks while striking out two in a gutsy performance in front of a rowdy Boston crowd. It's a shame his teammates couldn't get him the win he deserved...

The bullpen was the worst I've ever seen it this year, and the defense didn't help. Michael Gonzalez came on to start the sixth in what was essentially a "mop-up" game, with the Birds ahead by six and the Sox reeling. Two errors, three pitchers and five runs later, the sixth inning finally came to an end. Gonzalez, Jeremy Accardo and Clay Rapada combined to pitch one frame, allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits (the same amount Boston managed in the five previous innings off Tillman).

Jim Johnson allowed another run to cross the plate in the seventh before Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless eighth. With the O's clinging to a one-run lead, Kevin Gregg managed to record just one out in the ninth before surrendering a game-winning, two-run double to give the Red Sox the walk-off win (both runners were on via the free-pass by Gregg, who blew his third save in ten attempts).

Offensively, the O's looked good early on...the Birds scored twice in the first inning courtesy of a two-run double off the bat of Derrek Lee (Lee left in the third inning with a strained oblique and is day-to-day). The O's had a chance to blow the game wide open but stranded the bases loaded and were unable to score again until the third inning. They tacked on two more in the fifth and another in the sixth to take a commanding lead...or so we thought. Mark Reynolds led-off the seventh with a solo homer, but it just wasn't enough...

The Red Sox (21-20) are over .500 for the first time this season. The Orioles (19-21) missed out on their chance to get back to .500. The O's are back in the cellar in the AL East.

I know it was just one game, but it was a big one. The Orioles now send rookie Zach Britton to the mound with the hope of evening the two-game series. If nothing else, Britton should aim to go nine innings...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Arrieta, O's Topple Tampa

J.J. Hardy's grand slam was the nail in the coffin for Tampa Bay, as the O's cruised to a 9-3 victory over the Rays on Sunday afternoon.

Jake Arrieta picked up his fifth win of the season after a strong six-inning showing...Arrieta (5-1) allowed just two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out seven. Arrieta is now tied with Zach Britton for the team lead in wins and has the most strikeouts (46) by a large margin (Guthrie is second with 32).

The Birds struck first again with a run in the second inning (a Matt Wieters RBI single) and scored twice in the third when Derrek Lee slapped a two-run single to score Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis.

Tampa Bay got as close as 3-2 before Nick Markakis slapped a solo shot in the fifth to pad the lead. The Birds blew the game wide open in the sixth inning...Adam Jones walked, Matt Wieters was intentionally walked after Jones stole second, and Mark Reynolds coaxed another walk to load the bases for J.J. Hardy. Hardy worked a 2-0 count and smashed a fastball over the left field fence to give the Orioles a commanding 8-2 lead.

With the win, the O's (19-20) have now won two straight series and five of their last six contests. The club heads to Boston for a two-game set and has a chance to return to Baltimore with a winning record before taking on the Yankees. Chris Tillman makes his first start at Fenway on Monday night, and Zach Britton will make his debut in Boston on Wednesday...

Bergesen Returns The Favor

One day after the O's were shut-out by Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, Brad Bergesen returned the favor, holding Tampa Bay scoreless in a complete-game 6-0 victory on Saturday.

There were a lot of firsts for Bergesen (1-4) on Saturday afternoon...Bergesen had never beaten the Rays (he came into the game with an 0-5 record against Tampa) and had never lasted more than six innings against the divisional foes. It was Bergy's first win of the season and first complete-game shutout of his young career.

Bergesen allowed just four hits (two singles, two doubles) and a walk while striking out five in his best performance of the year. With Brian Matusz on track to return to the club in about two weeks, Bergesen and Chris Tillman are considered to be battling for the fifth starting role...Tillman turned in a great performance against Seattle last week, and Bergesen stated his case on Saturday afternoon.

The bats came to life after a dismal showing on Friday, and the Birds gave Bergesen an early 1-0 lead in the very first inning...with two out, Derrek Lee drew a walk and Vladimir Guerrero drove him home with a double to give Bergesen a small cushion to work with.

Mark Reynolds slapped a solo homer in the fifth, and Jake Fox followed with a two-run blast in the sixth to give the Birds a 4-0 lead. The O's tacked on another run in both the seventh and eighth innings to provide the final margin...

Jake Arrieta takes the mound on Sunday afternoon, and the Orioles have a chance to take the series against the first-place Rays before heading to Boston for a two-game set.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

No Support For Guthrie

It seems like every five days I'm writing the exact same story. If I'm getting tired of it, I wonder how Jeremy Guthrie really feels...

Guthrie returned to form after getting shelled by this same Tampa Bay team last week, but the result was the same...yet another loss. Guthrie fell to 1-6 after the O's dropped a 3-0 contest to the Rays on Friday night, and hasn't won a game since Opening Day on April 1.

Guthrie gave up three runs on seven hits in eight solid innings of work, walking two (one intentionally) and fanning five in the complete-game defeat. All three runs came via the long ball...Guthrie surrendered a two-run blast in the second inning to put the Birds in an early hole before allowing a solo shot in the eighth.

The offense managed just four hits, and all but one went for singles. The team drew just one walk and struck out three times as they continued the scoreless trend when Guthrie takes the mound (six runs over the past six games when Guthrie is pitching)...it's a real shame. Guthrie is now tied with two others for the most losses in the majors.

The Birds dropped into last place with the loss, while Tampa padded their lead in the AL East. Brad Bergesen takes the mound on Saturday afternoon, and tries to win against the Rays for the first time in his career...

Britton Dominant, Hardy Prominent In Sweep

Each teams' starters went nine scoreless innings, but it was Zach Britton's Birds that came out on top with a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners in 12 innings on Thursday night.

Britton and Jason Vargas each swapped zeroes through nine innings, with Britton allowing just three hits and no walks while fanning five in his best performance to date. The starters yielded to the bullpens, and both faltered in the 12th inning...Seattle went up 1-0 after scoring on Jim Johnson, but the O's battled back in the bottom half of the frame.

Derrek Lee singled to lead-off, and both Vladimir Guerrero and Adam Jones were hit by pitches to load the bases with none out. Matt Wieters stepped to the plate and had a shot at another extra-inning walk-off win (it was Wieters that won the 13-inning contest between these two teams just two nights ago). Wieters lined out before J.J. Hardy smacked a two-run single right up the middle to give the Birds a thrilling victory in front of an elated crowd at Camden Yards.

Hardy seems to be the missing link with this club...the Birds started the season 6-1 and dropped eight straight when Hardy was out of the lineup and placed on the DL. The team had dropped four straight before Hardy returned, and have now won three straight with him back at short...

The Orioles (17-19) are now in third-place in the AL East and head to Tampa to take on the first-place Rays (22-15) for a three-game set. Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound for the Birds...here's hoping the bats can give him a little help on Friday night.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tillman Trumps The King

Chris Tillman, the O's No. 5 starter, took on Seattle's ace and won on Wednesday night, as the Birds took down the Mariners 4-2 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Tillman (2-3) went six innings and allowed just one run on three hits and three walks while fanning five. Tillman's 112 pitches were the most by an Orioles' starter this season...

Seattle struck first with a run in the third, but the O's answered right back with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. The Birds broke through with three runs in the fifth...Luke Scott gave the O's the lead with an RBI single before Adam Jones smacked a two-run triple to put the club on top to stay. Jones went 4-for-4 on the night and has been a thorn in his former team's side in this series so far.

The bullpen held on for the win...Jason Berken allowed a solo homer in the seventh but Koji Uehara and Kevin Gregg picked up two strikeouts each, with Gregg earning his seventh save of the season in a scoreless ninth.

The O's have assured a winning series against Seattle and go for the sweep on Thursday night. A win would give the club a split of the six-game homestand. Zach Britton is slated to take the mound...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

O's Walk-Off In 13 Innings

Matt Wieters slapped an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning on Tuesday night, plating Felix Pie and giving the O's their first walk-off victory of the season, a 7-6 win over the visiting Seattle Mariners.

The win took just over four hours to earn, after the Birds lost the lead in the ninth and were unable to take advantage of several opportunities in extras before Wieters stepped up and snapped the O's four-game losing streak with one swing of the bat.

Seattle struck first in the game, taking a 2-0 lead in the second inning off O's starter Jake Arrieta. Those were the only runs Arrieta allowed, as he went six strong innings and gave up just four hits and three walks while striking out six in the no-decision.

J.J. Hardy cut the deficit to one run after launching a solo homer in the third inning in his first at-bat since returning from the DL. Hardy went 4-for-5 with a walk and was a huge boost to a club struggling on offense (the O's slapped a season-high 20 hits on Tuesday night).

The Birds tacked two more on in the bottom of the sixth, taking a 3-2 lead on Adam Jones' two-run double. Jones had a big day at the plate as well, going 3-for-6 with three RBIs.

Once again, it was the bullpen that faltered...Michael Gonzalez came on to pitch the seventh and gave up two runs on three hits and a walk to put Seattle back on top, but the Birds answered back with two more runs in the eighth to regain the lead. Kevin Gregg took the mound in the ninth but blew his second save of the season after allowing the Mariners to tie the game on two hits.

The game remained deadlocked at five until Seattle scored on Jeremy Accardo in the top half of the 13th inning. After failing to get anything done with runners in scoring position, the Birds finally got things going in the bottom half...Nick Markakis and Jake Fox stroked singles before Felix Pie's RBI single tied the game up again. After Jake Fox was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning, Matt Wieters stepped to the plate...and the rest is known around Baltimore as Orioles Magic.

The Birds send Chris Tillman to the mound on Wednesday night...

Monday, May 9, 2011

O's Swept Away

Tampa Bay moved into a tie for first and the Birds fell to last after the Rays swept the O's with a 5-3 win on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

Brad Bergesen went just 4 2/3 innings and gave up all five of Tampa's runs on nine hits and two walks. Bergesen (0-4) looked strong early, but gave up three runs in the fourth and another in the fifth before yielding to the bullpen.

Down 3-0, the Birds rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run double off the bat of Matt Wieters (Wieters is now tied with Brian Roberts for the team lead with 19 RBIs). But the Rays answered right back with two runs of their own in the top of the fifth. Derrek Lee clubbed a solo homer to lead-off the fifth, but that was all the O's could manage. The Orioles managed just six hits (three went for doubles) and went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

The Birds have now lost four straight and were swept at home for the first time in Buck Showalter's tenure as manager. The loss put the O's a season-worst five games under .500 (14-19) and dropped them to the cellar in the competitive AL East.

The Orioles have a much needed day off on Monday before hosting the Seattle Mariners for a three-game series starting Tuesday night...Jake Arrieta is slated to take the mound.

Guthrie Gets Rocked

Jeremy Guthrie and the O's got spanked by the Rays 8-2 in front of a national audience on Saturday afternoon.

As usual, Guthrie received no run support, and left with his team trailing. What was different this time around? The Birds were down by seven runs when Guthrie hit the showers...

Guthrie (1-5) lasted just five innings, allowing seven runs off ten hits and a walk while fanning four. After giving up a run in the first, Guthrie was tagged with two three-run blasts, once in the third inning and again in the fifth. Guthrie's ERA ballooned from a solid 3.00 to a mediocre 4.09 in the loss.

The Birds' bats continued to stay cold...they managed just five hits and were unable to take advantage of ten walks given up by Tampa's staff. The O's didn't get on the board until the seventh inning, and scored once more in the bottom of the ninth, but the hole was just too deep to crawl out of.

The O's wrap-up the series on Sunday afternoon...Brad Bergesen takes the mound as the Orioles look to avoid a home sweep at the hands of the Rays.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

One Bad Inning Does Britton In

The O's bats were nowhere to be found for the second straight game, as the Birds fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 on Friday night at Camden Yards.

Zach Britton failed to make it through six innings for the first time this season, and was charged with the loss despite a strong performance. Britton (5-2) labored through a 30-pitch second inning in which he allowed three runs to cross the plate. The four hits in the second inning were the only ones the Rays managed against Britton, but it was more than enough considering the state of the O's offense lately...

The Orioles didn't get on the board until Derrek Lee's solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Until that blow, the Birds had managed just one hit (a Vladimir Guerrero double in the fourth) against the Ray's James Shields. Vlad doubled again in the bottom of the ninth and came home on Luke Scott's double, but that was all the scoring the O's managed in the game...

The bats are cold (the Birds have scored two runs or less in 9 of their 17 losses this season) and the bullpen continues to struggle...Jeremy Accardo allowed a run to cross the plate in the eighth and Koji Uehara served-up a two-run tater in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound on Saturday afternoon...Guthrie is no stranger to a lack of offense, as he brings a 1-4 record into the game despite sporting a 3.00 ERA. Here's hoping the offense wakes up and can help get Guthrie that elusive second victory...Let's Go O's!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tillman's Troubles Continue

It was a game I'd like to forget...I bet Chris Tillman feels the same way.

Tillman gave up eight runs in just 3 2/3 innings on Thursday afternoon, and the Birds fell to the Royals 9-1 in Kansas City to wrap-up a seven game road trip.

On the bright side, the O's went 4-3 on the trip...you can't ask for much more than a winning series on the road.

Adam Jones put the Birds on the board in the first with an RBI single, and it looked like the O's would dominate early before Luke Scott popped out with runners on second and third to end the inning...the Orioles never threatened after that.

The one-run lead wasn't enough for Tillman, who allowed four runs to cross the plate in the bottom of the first. Kansas City tacked on another run in the second and three more in the fourth to knock Tillman out and virtually guarantee a win for Bruce Chen's Royals.

Tillman (1-3) allowed ten hits (five went for doubles), walked one and struck out three as his ERA ballooned to 7.16. Josh Rupe and Clay Rapada came on in relief and held the Royals to just two hits over the final frames, but the damage had been done.

The O's managed just five hits, and all went for singles. Nick Markakis was the only player with two hits...he went 2-for-4 and scored the Orioles' lone run. Markakis seems to be coming out of a season-long slump, which can only help the O's moving forward.

The Birds (14-16) are back home for six games and send Zach Britton to the mound against Tampa Bay (17-14) on Friday night...Let's go O's!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Arrieta Stops The Skid

The O's snapped a two-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Royals in Kansas City on Wednesday night.

Jake Arrieta took the win after allowing just one run on three hits (one for a solo homer) in seven innings, walking two while striking out eight. Arrieta (4-1) pitched seven innings for the first time this season, and now leads the team with 33 strikeouts.

The Birds got on the board early...Brian Roberts led-off the first with a double, advanced on Nick Markakis' fly ball to left and came home on Derrek Lee's sac fly. Markakis' RBI single in the second gave the O's and Arrieta a 2-0 cushion to work with.

Jeff Francoeur slapped a solo shot in the bottom of the second to trim the O's lead to one, but Arrieta settled down and kept the Royals scoreless through the seventh.

Markakis went deep in the top of the seventh to put the Birds up 3-1...it would prove to be the winning run after a strange play in the eighth...

Jim Johnson came on in relief and after recording an out, Johnson gave up a single and what looked like an RBI triple or even an in-the-park homer...Mike Aviles ripped a ball to left center field, but before Adam Jones touched the ball he threw his hands up in the air. The ball was lodged between the wall and the playing field, which resulted in a ground-rule double. With runners at second and third with one out, the Royals managed to bring just one man home...

Jones' quick thinking allowed Kevin Gregg to take the mound in the ninth with a one-run lead, and although he walked a batter Gregg picked up his sixth save of the season.

The O's (14-15) took sole possession of third place in the AL East with the win and regardless of the outcome on Thursday, the Birds have already guaranteed a winning road trip. Chris Tillman takes the mound against ex-Oriole Bruce Chen on Thursday afternoon...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Royal Letdown

The Birds battled back numerous times but eventually fell 6-5 in ten innings to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

Brad Bergesen put the O's in an early hole after allowing three runs to cross the plate in the second inning, but settled down to pitch five innings, allowing only one more run (unearned) in the fifth. Bergesen allowed six hits, walked one and struck out two in the no-decision.

The Orioles got on the board in the fourth inning...Derrek Lee singled but was thrown out trying to extend it into a double. After Vladimir Guerrero and Adam Jones both singled, Luke Scott launched a three-run bomb to right field to tie the game at three.

The Royals took the lead in the fifth before Baltimore answered right back in the sixth...Vladimir Guerrero led off with a walk (his first free pass as an Oriole in his 116th at-bat), and Mark Reynolds followed with a four-pitch free pass of his own. Adam Jones knocked Guerrero in with a bloop single to shallow right field, and Matt Wieters' gave the Birds their first lead of the game with a long sac fly...

The lead was short-lived. Jeremy Accardo came on in relief of Bergesen and allowed a solo homer to the very first batter he faced. With the game tied at five, the bullpens battled until the tenth, when Jason Berken allowed a lead-off walk, a single and a walk-off sac fly to give the Royals the win and the O's their second straight defeat...

The Birds (13-15) dropped to fourth in the AL East, ahead of only the Toronto Blue Jays in the standings. The O's send Jake Arrieta to the mound Wednesday night...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

O's Bats Let Guthrie Down Again

Jeremy Guthrie's 3.00 ERA is the only number that can give him any solace after the Birds fell to the Chicago White Sox 6-2 on Monday night.

Guthrie (1-4) hasn't won since Opening Day despite a string of quality starts, due to the fact that the offense has been unable to support him when he takes the mound. On Monday night, Guthrie wasn't at his best, allowing four runs on five hits (two were solo homers) and two walks in seven innings, striking out four.

Even if Guthrie had pitched a shutout, he still would have been tagged with a no-decision, as the Birds were held scoreless until the ninth inning. The O's out-hit Chicago 11-9, but couldn't come up with a clutch hit throughout the game, going 0-10 with runners in scoring position and stranding 13 men on base.

Derrek Lee's two-run shot put the Birds on the board in the ninth, but it was too little, too late as the O's fell to 13-14 and let a four-game sweep of the White Sox blow away in the Windy City.

On the bright side, the Orioles took three of four games and briefly were playing .500 ball for the first time since mid-April. They now head to Kansas City to take on the Royals, and need just one victory in the next three games to secure a winning road trip...I'm hoping for more than that! Brad Bergesen leads the charge on Tuesday night...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Britton Off To A Good Start

The O's started a new month in a familiar way, as Zach Britton picked up his fifth win in six tries this season in a 6-4 victory over the White Sox in Chicago.

Britton held Chicago to just one run (a solo homer) in six innings, allowing just five hits and three walks while striking out one. Britton (5-1) obviously didn't have his best stuff on Sunday afternoon, which was evident after he walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, but it was more than enough against a struggling White Sox club that has dropped their fifth straight game.

The bullpen wasn't nearly as impressive, allowing the Sox to claw back into the game over the final frames. Jason Berken, Jim Johnson and Kevin Gregg combined to allow five walks in the last three innings; Johnson actually walked a man in after coming on in the seventh to relieve Berken, who loaded the bases on a double and two walks. Johnson allowed a two-run bomb in the eighth, and Gregg put the first two batters he faced on base before settling down to retire the side and pick up his third straight save.

The Bird's bats didn't heat up until the later innings, with Luke Scott starting the scoring with a solo shot in the fourth. The O's scored five runs in the fifth, hitting for the cycle as a team in the inning. Mark Reynolds led off with a solo homer, followed by Felix Pie's first triple of the season. After back-to-back walks, Nick Markakis cleared the bases with a three-run double before Scott capped-off the barrage with an RBI single...

With the win, the Birds are back to .500 for the first time since April 15th and have moved into third place in the AL East. The O's send Jeremy Guthrie to the mound on Monday to try to complete the four-game sweep...

Andino Steals The Show As O's Roll

The O's closed out the month of April with a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night.

Chris Tillman picked up his first win of the season after allowing just one run on six hits and two walks over five innings of work. Tillman (1-2) started the sixth inning but was pulled after Chicago loaded the bases on two singles and a walk with none out and the Birds clinging to a 2-0 lead...

Michael Gonzalez came on in relief and turned in what is arguably his best performance in an Orioles' uniform. Gonzo escaped the inning virtually unscathed, allowing just one run to cross the plate (charged to Tillman)...had Jake Fox held on to the ball during a play at home the Sox would have been held scoreless until the ninth. Gonzalez went two hitless innings, striking out four batters. Koji Uehara went the final two frames, allowing a solo homer in the ninth...

Robert Andino has filled in nicely for J.J. Hardy and sparked the O's on both sides of the plate in the win...Andino slapped his first homer of the season in the third and scored the O's first run in a wild four-run eighth inning, as well as making several defensive plays that kept the Birds in the game. Andino finished the game going 2-for-4 and now leads the club with a .348 average.

The O's (12-13) have now taken two straight from Chicago and send Zach Britton to the mound Sunday afternoon for game three of the four-game series...a win would put the club back at .500.