O’s Stay Hot, Outslug Twins 12-8

Sports and Bets — August 31, 2014 at 7:46 pm by

The Rundown

The Birds have won six of their last seven games, making last weekend’s three-game sweep to the Cubs feel like months ago. With the Yankees losing to the Blue Jays, the O’s now have a nine game lead in the AL East with 27 games left to go. The magic number is down to 19 wins for the Birds to clinch the division. Ain’t the beer cold, babes.

Chen picked up the win after pitching 6.2 solid innings. He gave up four runs on eight hits while striking out seven. One of the runs charged to Chen scored when Brad Brach allowed an inherited runner to score on Danny Santana’s two-run homer in the 7th inning. Chen pitched very well, and better than his final stat line showed, but the real story today was the Orioles’ offense. Nelson Cruz got the scoring started with a solo home run in the 3rd inning. What a mighty wallop.

Ryan Flaherty, getting his first start since August 16, made it a 4-0 ball game after hitting an Earl Weaver special later in the inning. The Twins cut the Orioles’ lead in half on Trevor Plouffe’s two-run homer in the fourth, but that would be as close as they would get after the Birds scored a season high seven runs in the 6th inning. Adam Jones doubled with the bases loaded to knock in two runs, and send starter Ricky Nolasco to the showers. Anthony Swarzak entered the game with runners on second and third and no outs. He got Cruz to ground out, then decided to walk Chris Davis to face J.J. Hardy. Big fucking mistake, pal. Hardy belted his fourth career grand slam to left, and the rout looked to be on. Later in the inning, Flaherty tripled and was knocked in by Caleb Joseph, who also lead off the inning with a single. Jimmy Paredes singled in a run in the 7th to conclude the Orioles’ offensive onslaught.

The Twins could have thrown in the towel after that huge 6th inning, but they refused to go quietly. They scored three runs in the 7th and three runs in the 9th. Brach, Brian Matusz, Ubaldo Jimenez, Tommy Hunter, and Zach Britton all made appearances in relief. Only Matusz and Britton were effective, with the other three combining to allow four runs on six hits and three walks while only recording two outs. It was pretty ugly for a bit, but all’s well that ends well. Britton entered the game with runners on first and third and one out, and was able to get Eduardo Nunez to hit into a game-ending double play.


Other Game Notes

Every Oriole and Twin had at least one hit in today’s game, and they combined for 33 hits. If they were ripping cigs and drinking beers in the dugout, I would’ve thought that I was watching slow pitch softball.

Nolasco’s final line was: 5 IP, 12 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. Nolasco is in the first year of a 4 year/$49 million contract, and he now has a 5.96 ERA. So he’s pretty much the Minnesota version of Jimenez.

It was nice to see Nick Markakis go 3-for-5 with a run scored. Coming into today’s game, Markakis was in the midst of a 4-for-48 slump.

Joseph went 4-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. His batting average is now up to .240, and he’s throwing out 43% of runners. Matt who?

Hardy had a helluva day at the ballpark. Besides the grand slam, he made three really nice plays in the field.

Cruz’s homer was his MLB-leading 35th of the season, and a new career high for him.

Up Next For The O’s

The Birds will go for the four-game sweep against the Twins.

Monday, September 1, 1:35 PM MASN

Kevin Gausman (7-6) vs. Phil Hughes (14-9)

Let’s go O’s!

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