Wednesday, August 31, 2011

O's Topple Jays In 10th

It certainly wasn't the prettiest game to watch, but in the end the Orioles came out on top, beating Toronto 6-5 in ten innings Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

Jeremy Guthrie put the O's in an early hole, walking two batters before serving up a three-run homer in the second inning. Matt Wieters launched a two-run bomb in the bottom of the frame, trimming the Jays' lead to one run. Nolan Reimold slapped an RBI single in the fourth to tie the game, and Vladimir Guerrero gave the Birds a 4-3 lead with an RBI double in the fifth.

Guthrie settled down and lasted six innings, giving up just those three runs on six hits, walking two and fanning five. After Jim Johnson pitched two scoreless innings, Guthrie was in line for his seventh win, but Kevin Gregg was unable to hold a one-run lead in the ninth...

Gregg blew his sixth save in 25 tries after giving up a run on one hit and three walks (one intentional). With the score tied at four, Willie Eyre let the Jays take a 5-4 lead after giving up a run in the top of the tenth. But Eyre (1-0) was awarded the win after the Birds broke through with two runs in the bottom of the frame...

Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds both drew walks, and after Robert Andino struck out, Jake Fox slapped a pinch-hit single to tie the game. Rookie Ryan Adams then launched a ball over the center-fielder's head, scoring Reynolds and giving the O's a come-from-behind victory.

Jo-Jo Reyes takes the mound against his former team on Wednesday night, as the Birds try to secure a series win against their Northern neighbors.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

O's Bats Fail Simon

Alfredo Simon did his job, but the Birds managed just two runs in a 3-2 loss to the Yankees on Monday night.

Simon (4-7) allowed just four hits over seven innings. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a two-run shot, and Simon took the loss despite walking only two while striking out six.

Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy both went yard for the Birds, but they were both solo home runs.

The O's now take on Toronto for three games...Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound Tuesday night.

O's Split Doubleheader With Yankees

Zach Britton led the Orioles to a 2-0 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday afternoon. Brian Matusz handed the Yankees an 8-3 win later that evening.

Britton (8-9) was amazing, shutting down New York on four hits and a walk, while fanning five. This is the Zach Britton I see leading our team into the post-season.

The Birds broke open a scoreless game with a run in the seventh and another in the eighth. That proved to be enough as Jim Johnson pitched a perfect eighth and Kevin Gregg picked up his 19th save in the ninth.

The win gave the Orioles six straight victories, something they had not accomplished since 2008.

Brian Matusz took the mound later that evening, but couldn't keep the streak intact.

Matusz (1-7) pitched well, but was hurt by the long ball, as the Yankees went deep three times of the young lefty. Matusz showed signs of his former self, retiring nine in a row at one point and striking out five in 5 1/3 innings, but he still needs work.

Alfredo Simon takes the mound Monday night as the Birds attempt to take the series against New York.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

O's Launch Three Homers In Rout Of Yankees

The O's struck early and often in a 12-5 rout of the New York Yankees on Friday night at Camden Yards.

The Birds tagged A.J. Burnett for six runs in the second inning; Mark Reynolds started the scoring with his 30th homer of the season, a solo shot with one out. The O's then slapped four consecutive doubles before J.J. Hardy blasted a two-run bomb to left field. Burnett allowed six hits in the inning, and all went for extra-bases...

Nolan Reimold added a two-run triple in the fifth, and Matt Wieters crushed a three-run bomb to left in the sixth to give the O's an insurmountable 12-1 lead.

Tommy Hunter held the Yankees to just one run (a solo homer) through the first six frames before running into some trouble in the seventh. Hunter (3-2) gave up a lead-off homer, a single and a two-run blast to give the Yankees fans in the stands something to cheer about. But Hunter retired the next three batters on ground balls to squash any hope of a comeback. Hunter went seven innings, allowing four runs on five hits (three homers), walking none and fanning four.

The Orioles have now won five straight, tying a season-high, and the 12 runs scored was a season-best. The Yankees committed four errors and managed only six hits in the loss...

The two clubs were scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday, but Hurricane Irene's impending arrival forced MLB to cancel baseball in Baltimore until Sunday. A doubleheader is planned for Sunday, and Monday evening's game will go on as planned. The two teams will make up the postponed game on September 8. Zach Britton will take the mound in Game 1 on Sunday, followed by Brian Matusz in Game 2.

Friday, August 26, 2011

O's Sweep Twins In Four Games

For the first time in over a year, the Orioles swept an opponent in four games on the road, as Jo-Jo Reyes and the Birds took down the Twins 6-1 on Thursday afternoon.

The Orioles allowed just a single run in each of the four victories, giving the pitching staff a nearly flawless 1.00 ERA over the four-game stretch. The last time the Birds' staff did that well was in the first four games of the 2011 season, back when I thought the team was destined for far more than last place in the division.

Reyes (7-10) allowed just one run on five hits and four walks over six innings, striking out three. The bullpen allowed just two hits over the final three frames.

Craig Tatum's two-run double in the sixth broke open a 1-1 game, and Mark Reynolds' 29th homer, a three run blast, gave the O's a comfortable cushion in the seventh inning.

With the sweep, the Birds actually had a respectable ten-game road trip, going 5-5. They now head home to face the Yankees for five games over four days. New York set an MLB record with three grand slams on Thursday night. Tommy Hunter will try to keep the Yankees off the board on Friday night.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

O's Win A Game But Lose A Legend

There was no post-game celebration after the O's beat the Twins 6-1 on Wednesday night.

Mike Flanagan, an Orioles legend, was found dead earlier at his home.

I never met him, so I don't have much to say...he was a legend to me, a 20-game winning lefty that helped the Birds win a World Series title. But just watching the MASN squad post-game was hard; the man was a hero and a friend to many. He will be missed.

It was hard to hold back tears listening to Rick Dempsey talk about catching the Cy Young winner. Flanagan was an Oriole through and through, and his passing has ripped through the entire organization.

Anyone who reads this post should take a look at Peter Schmuck's post, as well as WBAL's report, which includes audio from a very somber Joe Angel and Fred Manfra reflecting on the loss. John Eisenberg, my professor at Towson University, also wrote a very moving piece. I only wish I had had the privilege to have met Mike Flanagan.

The Orioles close-out a 10-game road-trip Thursday afternoon. Jo-Jo Reyes takes the mound, as the Birds attempt to sweep the Twins in four games. I'm sure the players will all have heavy hearts, but I hope they play with the passion Flanagan had for the game of baseball.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Simon Cruises As O's Stomp Twins

Alfredo Simon allowed just one run over eight innings, and the Birds' bats backed him early as the O's cruised to an 8-1 victory over the Twins on Tuesday night.

Simon (4-6) allowed only three hits (one a solo homer) and a walk while striking out a career-best eight batters in his career-high eight-inning outing. Simon wanted to take the mound in the ninth, but Showalter shut him down after 114 pitches...

The O's offense exploded early, with the club scoring four runs in the second inning and another three in the third to take a commanding lead. Nolan Reimold's three-run shot in the second was the big blow, and Mark Reynolds' two-run triple kept the rout going...both Riemold and Reynolds finished the game with three RBIs each.

The Birds and Twins still have two games left in the four-game series, and the O's are trying to win a road series for the first time since late May. Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound for the Orioles on Wednesday night, and Jo-Jo Reyes is slated to start on Thursday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Britton, O's Snap Five-Game Skid

Welcome back, Zach.

Zach Britton held a struggling Minnesota Twins squad to just a run over five innings, as the Birds snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory on Monday night.

Britton (7-9) allowed only a run despite allowing six hits and four walks while striking out four. His relief corps was brilliant...the 'pen allowed only two hits over the final four frames, striking out six.

Michael Gonzalez continues to impress...he struck out all four batters he faced.

J.J. Hardy broke a 1-1 tie game with a solo homer against his former it turned out, that was all the insurance the O's needed. Matt Wieters also homered, his second in as many games.

Alfredo Simon takes the mound Tuesday night...

Angelic Sweep

The Orioles were swept out of Los Angeles after falling to the Halos 7-1 on Sunday afternoon.

Brian Matusz allowed six runs (five earned) in just four innings of work.

The defense committed two errors in the first three innings, and three through nine frames.

Matt Wieters slapped a solo home run in the seventh to give the O's their first and only run of the game.

Zach Britton gets the nod Monday night as the O's take on the Minnesota Twins for a four-game series before heading home.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gregg Blows Two-run Lead In 12th Inning

I wish I could say the tragic ending to Saturday night's ballgame was shocking. At this point, though, nothing the Orioles do surprises me anymore. This club just continues to find new ways to lose games, and that was apparent after a crushing 9-8, 12-inning loss to the Angels.

The Orioles blew an early 3-0 lead but managed to tie the game at six runs a piece with two runs in the eighth inning. The game stayed knotted at six until the Birds scored twice in the top of the 12th, taking an 8-6 lead.

Kevin Gregg took the mound to record the final three outs, but he couldn't even get one...a single, a hit batter and an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt later and the Angels had runners on the corners with none down and had trimmed the deficit to one run. Gregg allowed another single to load the bases before walking the tying run in. Troy Patton relieved Gregg but gave up the game-winning sac fly to the first batter he faced...

Honestly, what more can you say about that sorry performance?

Gregg (0-2) took the loss and blew yet another save; he's now 17 for 22 in save situations this season. That's not going to cut it. Add a closer (again) to the O's wish list next year...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reyes Puts O's In Too Deep Of A Hole

Before he recorded an out, Jo-Jo Reyes had put the O's in a 4-0 hole that they never crawled out of, as the Birds eventually fell to the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 on Friday night.

Reyes (6-10) actually lasted five innings, but gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out six while surrendering two home runs. Brad Bergesen was the only O's hurler to pitch a scoreless frame; Willie Eyre served-up a two-run bomb in the eighth and Kevin Gregg allowed a solo shot in the ninth.

While the Angels were busy slapping homers, the Orioles wasted a 12-hit offensive outing. Twice the O's loaded the bases with just one out, and both times they came away with nothing to show for it...Josh Bell grounded out to end the threat in the second inning and J.J. Hardy's fly ball to center ended the "rally" in the eighth.

Matt Wieters put the O's on the board with an RBI single in the third, and Adam Jones had two sacrifice flies to increase his team-leading total to 75 RBIs.

The Birds send Tommy Hunter to the mound on Saturday as they attempt to stop the bleeding...again.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

O's Woes Continue Out West

The starting pitching stunk. The defense stunk. The offense stunk. Yet the Orioles still had a chance in the ninth inning...but Blake Davis, representing the tying run, was tagged out at home for the final out in a 6-5 loss to the Oakland A's on Wednesday afternoon.

Alfredo Simon took the loss. Spotted two runs before taking the mound, Simon (3-6) gave up three in the first inning and lasted just 5 1/3, surrendering six runs (five earned) on eighth hits and two walks.

The defense didn't help him out...though the O's were officially charged with just a single error it could have easily been three. Nolan Reimold misjudged a ball in the first inning and Adam Jones bobbled a ball in the third to give Oakland life.

The bats went cold after scoring twice early. After scoring a run in the seventh, the O's had runners on the corners with none out...Craig Tatum popped-up to shallow right before Robert Andino and J.J. Hardy went down swinging.

All would have been forgiven and forgotten had the O's come back in the ninth. With runners on first and third (again) with two down, Nick Markakis slapped a single to right field, which scored Andino easily. Blake Davis, running for Hardy, tried to score from first after the ball was bobbled in the outfield, but was tagged out at home to end the game.

The Orioles now rest on Thursday before beginning a three-game set with the Angels on Friday night. Jo-Jo Reyes is scheduled to take the mound, replacing Jeremy Guthrie, who will rest a sore shoulder...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Matusz Falls In Return

Brian Matusz took a loss in his first start for the Birds in nearly a month, but his outing was better than his final line would suggest.

Matusz (1-5) pitched into the seventh inning, and left with the O's trailing by just one run in a game they eventually lost 8-4 to the Oakland A's. Matusz went 6 2/3 innings, his longest outing of the season, and was charged with six runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out five. Matusz gave up three runs in the second inning and a solo homer in the third before settling down...he recorded the first two outs in the sixth before giving up back-to-back singles and exiting in favor of Troy Patton, who let both inherited runners score.

Josh Bell, playing third due to Chris Davis landing on the DL with a shoulder strain, drove in two runs and has four RBIs in the past two games.

The O's turn to Alfredo Simon on Wednesday afternoon as they attempt to win the series against Oakland.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

O's Win Again!

It had been nearly a month since the Birds won back-to-back games, but the Orioles snapped that slide with a 6-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

Tommy Hunter pitched into the seventh inning, and earned his first win as an Oriole after the Birds scored four times in the top of the frame. Hunter (2-2) scattered ten hits over 6 2/3 innings, walking one and fanning three. Michael Gonzalez recorded the final out of the seventh before striking out the side in the eighth, and Kevin Gregg gave up a lead-off single before retiring the side in the ninth.

Matt Wieters put the Birds on the board with a solo homer in the second was one of only two hits the O's managed to collect through the first six innings. But the bats came to life in a four-run seventh; Robert Andino connected for a two-run double and Josh Bell smacked a two-run single to put the O's on top. Mark Reynolds connected for his team-leading 27th home run, a solo shot in the ninth that gave the club some breathing room but took Gregg's chance at a save away.

The Orioles hadn't won consecutive games since July 16-17 and look to make it three straight on Wednesday night. Brian Matusz, fresh off a complete-game shutout at Triple-A Norfolk, takes the mound for the O's.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

O's Avoid The Sweep

The rain held off, the bats warmed up and the pitchers held on as the Birds took down the Tigers 8-5 on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

Jo-Jo Reyes picked up his first win as an Oriole, pitching six solid innings of one-run ball. Reyes allowed just four hits and two walks while fanning four. The one run he surrendered, a solo shot, came one pitch after Nick Markakis and Robert Andino allowed a foul ball to drop in-between them.

Markakis more than made up for his poor judgement on the play...Nick went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs in the win.

The rest of the club held their own... the Birds collected 14 hits overall and scored in four of the eight innings they were at the plate.

After Reyes was pulled, Willie Eyre pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while fanning two. With the O's up 8-1, Kevin Gregg took the mound for the ninth. That's when things got ugly...

Gregg allowed three straight singles before walking the bases loaded not once, but twice, before being pulled in favor of Jim Johnson. Suddenly, a blow-out became a save situation, and Johnson bailed Gregg out with a strikeout, a grounder, an intentional walk and a fly-out. I'm still amazed it came to that...Gregg is decent in save situations, but he has been horrendous when the game isn't on the line.

Regardless, a win is a win. And I'll take it. The O's went 3-7 on the homestand and now head West to Oakland to begin a ten-game road trip. Tommy Hunter gets the nod Monday night...

O's Blow Five-Run Lead

Jeremy Guthrie and the Orioles proved once again that no lead is ever safe, as the Birds took an early 5-0 lead but eventually fell 6-5 to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night.

The O's got on the board in a big way in the second inning...Vladimir Guerrero stroked his tenth homer of the year to give the Orioles a two-run lead, and Blake Davis' three-run bomb, his first Major League blast, gave the Birds a comfortable five-run cushion.

Jeremy Guthrie cruised through the first five innings, allowing just one run on two hits, before everything fell apart. Guthrie (5-16) retired the first two batters he faced before the Tigers unleashed six straight hits, scoring five times and taking a 6-5 lead in the process.

The 'pen held Detroit to just one hit over the final three frames, but the O's couldn't get anything going after the big second inning...

Jo-Jo Reyes and the Birds hope to avoid a sweep on Sunday afternoon in the finale of the 10-game homestand. The O's have won just two of the past nine at Camden Yards...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hardy's Homers Not Enough

J.J. Hardy homered twice, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from falling to the Detroit Tigers 5-4 on Friday night at Camden Yards.

Hardy went 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in three of the O's four runs, as well as making a couple of outstanding defensive plays in the field. Hardy's 23 long balls trail only Mark Reynolds' 26 for the team lead, and he is third on the club in average (.277) and RBIs (58). Smart move locking this guy up for three more years...

Alfredo Simon was unable to take advantage of Hardy's help, allowing solo runs in the first and second innings to nullify Hardy's first-inning two-run shot. Simon lasted just 4 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on 11 hits and three walks, striking out one in the 97-pitch outing.

Troy Patton (0-1) came on in relief and was tagged with the loss despite allowing just one run on four hits in 2 2/3 innings. Willie Eyre, called up after Chris Tillman was sent down, made his Orioles' debut and pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out one.

The O's send Jeremy Guthrie to the mound on Saturday night...

Tillman Lit Up, Sent Down

Chris Tillman allowed five straight hits to start the game, and the White Sox took a 4-0 lead before he was able to record an out in a game the Birds eventually dropped 6-3 on Thursday night.

Tillman gave up a lead-off single, followed by a two-run tater to put the Birds in an early hole. He then surrendered three straight doubles before escaping the first inning with "only" a four run deficit. Tillman (3-5) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks and was once again demoted to Triple-A Norfolk after the game. I had commented that after Tillman's stellar performance against Toronto, he should remain with the club...but his lack of consistency pretty much forces the O's hand on this one.

Offensively, there's not much to write about. The Birds managed just six hits all game, went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranded three men on base. Nick Markakis slapped his 100th career home run, a two-run bomb in the third, but that was pretty much it...

After taking three of four against the Sox in Chicago, the White Sox returned the favor here at Camden Yards. The O's have now gone 2-5 on this homestand. Alfredo Simon takes the mound for the Birds on Friday night to begin a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reimold Gives O's Walk-Off Win

Nolan Reimold's two-run shot to left field gave the Orioles a 6-4 victory in ten innings over the visiting Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.

After Chris Davis blooped a one-out single, Reimold launched the first pitch he saw 436 feet to snap the O's three-game losing streak in dramatic fashion. Reimold was in the lineup as the designated hitter, giving slumping Vladimir Guerrero a day off, and had gone 0-for-4 before connecting for the walk-off bomb.

Tommy Hunter was stellar through the first five innings before allowing a run in the sixth and three more in the seventh, knotting the game at four. J.J. Hardy's first-inning homer put the Birds on the board, and Adam Jones' solo shot in the fifth gave the O's a comfortable 4-0 lead. But Hunter ran into trouble and was pulled with two on and two outs in the seventh, and Jason Berken allowed both inherited runners to cross the plate before recording the final out of the inning.

The score remained the same until Reimold stepped to the plate in the bottom of the tenth...

Chris Tillman takes the mound Thursday night, as the Birds try to split the four-game set with the Sox.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reyes Gives Up One Too Many

The last time I watched a game from the press box, the Orioles were facing the White Sox and Gavin Floyd...the Birds won in extra-innings on Adam Jones' walk-off single.

Ironically, the same team and the same starting pitcher took on the O's on Tuesday night, and I had the opportunity to take in the game from the press box once again. Unfortunately, the results were a bit different, as the Birds fell to Chicago 4-3 in front of nearly 15,000 at Camden Yards...

Jo-Jo Reyes made his first start in an Orioles' uniform, and it wasn't a good one. Reyes (5-9) allowed four runs on five hits (two homers) and two walks in just four innings of work. Chris Jakubauskas pitched four scoreless innings of relief, and Jason Berken pitched a perfect ninth, but the four runs were one more than the O's could overcome.

The Birds got on the board in the fifth, scoring three runs off Floyd, and the damage could have been greater if not for a blown call. With one out and Vladimir Guerrero at the plate, it looked as if Adam Jones and Nick Markakis had pulled-off a perfect double-steal. Markakis was called out at third, though replays clearly showed he slid under the tag. Buck Showalter ran out to argue and was ejected for the second time this season...the fans' reaction was priceless: Camden Yards got LOUD! It was all for naught though as Guerrero grounded out to end the threat...

Still, it was a great experience. I finally got to meet Joe Angel, Fred Manfra and "The Mighty" Casey Willett and got to check out the WBAL radio booth. I only wish my second trip to the press box had ended like the first...

The Orioles send Tommy Hunter to the mound Wednesday night, as they try to snap a three-game losing streak.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hardy's Return Almost Enough...

J.J. Hardy went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs, but the Orioles fell to the Chicago White Sox 7-6 on Monday night at Camden Yards.

Jeremy Guthrie put the Birds in a hole early after giving up four runs in the second inning (three runs crossed on two homers in the frame). But Guthrie regained his composure and didn't allow another run to cross the plate until the sixth inning.

It was strange to see the bats come to life to support Guthrie...the O's managed to score six runs in the first seven innings, putting Guthrie in line for the win...but it just wasn't enough.

Jim Johnson allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in the eighth, earning a blown save and a loss in the process. Kevin Gregg pitched a 1-2-3 ninth but the Birds' bats went quiet after the three-run seventh gave them a brief lead.

I'll be there on Tuesday as Jo-Jo Reyes makes his first start as an Oriole...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Reynolds Not Enough In Loss

Mark Reynolds slapped two solo home runs, but Toronto took the series with a 7-2 victory over Alfredo Simon and the O's on Sunday afternoon.

Simon ran into trouble in the third inning, when an error by third-baseman Josh Bell led to two unearned runs. Simon (3-5) lasted just 5 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on ten hits, walking none and fanning three.

Brad Bergesen pitched three stellar innings of relief, allowing just a run on three hits while walking none and striking out four.

The O's once again had no answer for Jay's starter Ricky Romero, who allowed just four hits and no walks over eight innings. Two of the four hits came off the bat of Reynold, who leads the club with 26 taters.

The Birds now host the Chicago White Sox for a four-game series. Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound for the O's on Monday night...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tillman Sparkles As O's Snap Streak

I haven't had a chance to get to many games this season, but I was there on Saturday night for a thrilling Orioles 6-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

My wife and a couple friends waited out a rain delay in the Warehouse Bar...we had arrived early to get the coveted Brian Matusz bobblehead. We had no trouble getting our hands on a few...the paid attendance was under 20 thousand on a wet, hot and humid evening.

Things looked bad early...the O's were no-hit through the first five innings, and the Birds were trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth.

Nolan Reimold snapped the perfect game with a single in the sixth, and the O's scored four runs in the frame, three coming off Adam Jone's 20th homer of the season, a career-best (I called the shot by the way).

Chris Tillman was impressive to say the least, allowing just two runs on four hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out five. Tillman (3-4) has shown marked improvement over his last two starts, and should remain in the rotation for the remainder of the season in my opinion...

Mark Reynolds took over at first base and looked like a Gold-Glover at the position...Reynolds went 0-for-3 at the plate with three strikeouts but made up for the lack of offense with a handful of amazing plays in the field.

The O's send Alfredo Simon to the mound on Sunday afternoon for the rubber-match against the Jays...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hunter Falls in Starting Debut

Tommy Hunter ran into the same trouble the majority of O's starters have encountered this year...too many early runs allowed and too many pitches thrown. Hunter allowed four runs and lasted just four innings in his first start as an Oriole, as the Birds fell 5-4 to the visiting Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.

Adam Jones gave Hunter an early cushion with a two-run blast in the first inning, Jones' 19th of the season, tying a career-high. But Hunter (1-2) let the Jays tie it up in the second before surrendering another pair of runs in the third, giving Toronto a 4-2 lead they would never relinquish. Hunter needed 79 pitches to get through four frames, giving up eight hits, walking none and striking out one.

The 'pen allowed just a run off three hits and a walk over the final five frames, but the O's managed just a run in the sixth and another in the ninth and dropped their third straight contest. Nick Markakis slapped an RBI double with two outs in the ninth, but Adam Jones popped-out to end the game.

Chris Tillman has been recalled and is slated to take the mound on Saturday night. I'll be there to pick up my Brian Matusz bobblehead...I'm hoping he pitches in the Majors again.

Friday, August 5, 2011

O's Slink Home On Another Losing Streak

Zach Britton managed to make it through the first inning, but the sixth inning proved to be his downfall as the Birds fell to the Royals 9-4 on Thursday night.

Britton (6-9) allowed three runs to cross the plate in the first inning, though only one was earned due to his own throwing error on a sacrifice bunt. Britton was able to keep Kansas City off the board until a disastrous sixth inning did him in...

The Orioles offense had fought back, scoring single runs in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. J.J. Hardy's 100th career home run tied the game in the fifth, and Chris Davis' RBI double in the sixth gave the O's their first lead of the game.

It was short-lived. Britton retired the first batter he faced in the bottom of the frame before allowing the Royals to tie the game on three straight hits (Britton gave up 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings in the loss). Jim Johnson was summoned to stop the rally, but he was strangely ineffective, allowing three runs off five hits in just 2/3 of an inning. Michael Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg held Kansas City hitless over the final two frames, but the six-run sixth was more than enough for the Royals.

The Birds finished a horrific 10-game road trip with a dismal 3-7 record. The most amazing (or depressing) stat...the club took the opening game in each series before dropping the rest. The Orioles now start a 10-game homestand beginning Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. Tommy Hunter will start for the first time since last years' World Series.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guthrie Falls To Royals

Jeremy Guthrie looked nothing like the pitcher who shut down the Yankees in his last start, and the O's offense did little to help him out in a 6-2 loss to the Royals on Wednesday night.

Guthrie (5-15) allowed a run in the first and two more in the second before settling in. The Birds scored once in the first and again in the third to make it a one-run game.

That's how the score stood until Guthrie served up a three-run bomb to Billy Butler on a 3-0 count in the bottom of the seventh, almost assuring the Orioles would not be able to start a winning streak. Guthrie ended his outing after allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks over seven innings, striking out two.

The offense managed just four hits throughout the game, two in the first inning and two more in the eighth...the Birds actually loaded the bases with just one out in the top of the eighth, but J.J. Hardy struck out swinging and Nick Markakis grounded out to end the only real scoring threat of the game.

Zach Britton takes the mound on Thursday night...the Orioles have lost six of nine on this 10-game road-trip and can only hope for a series win before heading to Baltimore for a 10-game homestand beginning Friday night against Toronto.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reynolds Backs Simon In Kansas

Alfredo Simon pitched a gem and Mark Reynolds drove in five runs in an 8-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

Simon (3-4) out-dueled ex-Oriole Bruce Chen, going seven innings and allowing just one run off four hits and a walk, fanning three. Simon gave up two doubles, a walk and a run in the first inning before settling down, at one point retiring 11 straight batters. After the two hits in the first, Simon didn't allow another hit until the seventh...

Mark Reynolds grounded into a bases-loaded double play to end the first inning, but made up with it with a two-run double in the third to put the O's ahead for good. Reynolds mashed a three-run bomb in the ninth and finished the game 3-for-5 with five RBIs, tying a career-best.

New first baseman Chris Davis picked up his first hit and RBI as an Oriole with a single in the fifth. Davis slapped a solo homer in the ninth, his first with his new club...

Tommy Hunter also made his Orioles' debut, taking the mound in the eighth in relief of Simon. Hunter allowed a run on two hits, and is expected to start in place of Jake Arrieta on Friday. Arrieta most likely will need surgery on his elbow and will miss the rest of the season, a big blow considering he leads the team in wins (10) and strikeouts (93).

Jeremy Guthrie will take the mound on Wednesday night...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Four-Run Fourth Sinks O's

The Orioles limped out of New York after a 4-2 loss to the Yankees on Sunday, the Birds' third straight loss after Jeremy Guthrie's win Friday night.

Jake Arrieta just wasn't good enough, and the rest of the club didn't help him out. Arrieta (10-8) allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits over five innings, walking six and fanning four. All four of the Yankees' runs came in the fourth inning...J.J. Hardy let a possible double-play ball squeak through his legs and New York took advantage of the error, Hardy's fourth all season but second in the four-game series. Hardy, my personal O's MVP, has yet to record a hit against the Yankees this season...

The O's enjoy Monday off before taking on Kansas City in a three-game set starting Tuesday night. Alfredo Simon looks to end the O's most recent slide...