You knew the Orioles offense would click eventually. It just so happened to be against the Twins’ ace Carl Pavano. After scoring just two runs in five hits off of the struggling Francisco Liriano the night before, Baltimore’s bats began showing signs of life when they knocked Pavano out in the fifth inning with 99 pitches.
Collectively, the Orioles totaled 11 runs on 13 hits in 36 at bats. It was by far their highest scoring game of the season, the Orioles had only put five runs on the board in four of their previous fifteen games. It took the Orioles three games to reach over thirteen hits in their previous losses. They did it with ease on Monday.
Baltimore saw most of its production from leadoff hitter Brian Roberts and catcher Matt Wieters. Roberts has proven to be Baltimore’s most consistent hitter, continuing to lead the team in RBI with 14. Wieters got his bat going with a solo home run on Monday night and went 2 for 3 with a double, three runs scored and 4 RBI in Tuesday’s 11-0 win. The 24 year old catcher was 0 for 3 against Carl Pavano entering the game.
“I think he’s got an approach that he feels good with,” O’s skipper Buck Showalter told the media following the game. “He can stay within himself.”
On of the most critical parts of the Orioles struggles, the middle of their lineup, came up big on Tuesday as well. Baltimore’s 3-4-5 hitters went 4 for 14 with three runs and three RBI. Vlad Guerrero helped pad Luke Scott’s stats in that category a bit. Scott went 0 for 4 with a strikeout, while Guerrero belted a three run home run to centerfield.
Clutch hitting was huge for Baltimore on Tuesday, just as it was at the beginning of the season. Matt Wieters, Brian Roberts and Vlad Guerrero all had 2 out RBI and the O’s as a team went 6 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
I’d be remiss not to compliment the Orioles tough luck starter Jake Arrieta, who got a much deserved win in the matchup. Arrieta delivered six shutout innings on four hits. His command still struggled a bit, as he walked three, but he made up for it by striking out four. Previously, Arrieta earned a loss in a quality outing against the Yankees in New York in a game in which the Orioles lost a five run lead. His only bad outing was against the Rangers in game two of a double header in which he surrendered eight earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched.
While 11 runs is far above and beyond what is expected from the Orioles, it was great to see clutch play return to the team after struggling for eight straight games. Arrieta kept the O’s in the game, while the lineup drove guys in during key situations. The O’s remain two games under .500, which happens to be the exact number of games they have remaining against the Twins before the Yankees come to town.
BSR’s own Steve Giles covered the game live on Tuesday from the Press Box. Check out his live coverage here.