The title of this will be the last gnome joke I make in this entire post. This is a very loose promise considering it is a bad joke, so I will at least have to make another one to make up for it.

The Orioles had one more series before going to into the All-Star break which was against the Los Angeles Angels, a surprising last place team this season considering Mike Trout is on their roster.

Game One: Angels: 9, Orioles: 5

This one got fairly ugly early on and did not seem to get much better from that point. Ubaldo Jimenez got the start for the Orioles and you would almost not have known if you turned the game on late. Jimenez went 1 1/3 innings allowing five runs on five hits, striking out nobody and walking two. He was relieved by Mike Wright who went 4 2/3 innings allowing two earned runs, four in total, on three hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

Adam Jones, Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo all hit home runs in the game to give the Orioles four out of their five runs but that was unfortunately not enough to match the Angels’ offensive onslaught.

Game Two: Orioles: 3, Angels: 2

For fans of pitchers duels and close games with late excitement, this one was the one for you.

Yovani Gallardo got the start for the Orioles and pitched moderately well. Gallardo went five innings allowing two runs on six hits with two strikeouts but also allowing four walks.

Unfortunately for Gallardo, those two runs were the two to give the Angels a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning. However though, thanks to a balk by Angels reliever Joe Smith, Jonathan Schoop was able to score from third base, tying the game up at 2-2.

Schoop would provide the O’s with the game-winning RBI in the eighth with a single that scored Manny Machado, giving Schoop his second game-winning RBI hit within days of each other.

Game Three: Orioles: 4, Angels: 2

In the final game before the All-Star break, the Orioles looked to close out their series against the Angels by taking two games out of three.

For the final game of the first half, the Orioles sent out Chris Tillman, who pitched a very good ballgame. Tillman went seven innings allowing one run on three hits while striking out five but also walking five.

The runs for the Orioles came thanks to a Chris Davis home run in the second inning, a J.J. Hardy RBI single in the sixth and Hardy getting a home run in the bottom of the eighth, his first since April 12th in which he had two home runs wrap right around the Pesky Pole in Fenway Park.

Overall, this was a pleasant showing by the Orioles against a last place team. It shows that you can never underestimate your competitor no matter what the statistics show or what the record looks like.

I saw some positive steps forward for Yovani Gallardo considering he has spent the better part of the year on the disabled list. I also see a lot out of Chris Tillman and I hope he can continue his success into the second half of the year and lead the Orioles through a tough pennant race.

The Orioles will start the second half in St. Petersburg to take on the Tampa Bays Rays. The series will start with Yovani Gallardo going up against Chris Archer. Game two will feature Chris Tillman facing off against Matt Moore with Jake Odorizzi going for the Rays in the third game of the series with the Orioles starter yet to be announced.