The O’s take on the Seattle Mariners in the first game of this three-game series as Jake Arrieta (4-1, 4.35 ERA) takes the mound against Michael Pineda (4-2, 3.58 ERA). The O’s are in the midst of a four-game losing streak and need to end the last three games of this homestand on a winning note. Arrieta pitched his best game of the season his last time out, going seven strong innings and allowing one run on just three hits along with eight strikeouts. He is second on the team in wins behind Zach Britton (5) and has progressed since his lone bad outing back on April 9 against the Yankees when he gave up eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings.
On the other side of things, Pineda looks to bounce back from the worst outing in his career so far as he allowed four runs and seven hits over seven innings against the Texas Rangers. But the rookie has been quite the pleasant surprise for the Mariners this season. He leads the team in wins with four, which is quite a feat considering the Mariners have one of the best pitchers in the league in Felix Hernandez.
I’ll be doing the live blog on the game again tonight like I have been the past few times, but I also have some added commentary after being granted access to the field during pregame warmups. I had the pleasure to talk with O’s director of baseball operations, Matt Klentak as well as O’s starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. Klentak was hired by the O’s back in 2008 to assist President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail in scouting, contract negotiations, player development and the assembling of the 40-man roster.
Klentak discussed the state of the O’s at the moment and said that the team hasn’t quite been playing up to their standards so far this season. But he also reiterated that it is a long season and once a few things fall into place they should be right where they want to be. Klentak also talked a little bit about the scouting of international players. He said that while the O’s aren’t involved in international scouting as much as some teams are, they still have scouts over there doing there fair share of work. Most of the O’s farm system comes from the high school and college ranks here in the states, where the O’s have been working endlessly on trying to acquire the best young players out there.
Guthrie talked a decent amount about the team and had some nice things to say about his fellow teammate Britton. He expressed how great it was to watch Britton develop as a player and said he was impressed with just how well he was doing in his rookie season. Guthrie also discussed his past few starts and said that even though he struggled statistically, he felt like his stuff was decent but he just missed a few pitches that resulted in home runs. Then, Guthrie began to talk about his musical interests which included none another than Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga among others. He said he was actually supposed to go to the Lady Gaga concert last night, but wasn’t able to make it. Needless to say, he was visibly bummed about the situation. Anyway, it was nice to be able to talk to a major league baseball player about something other than baseball and find a little bit about who Guthrie was behind the scenes. Now, on to the game.
A nice start from Arrieta as he retired the Mariners in order. I really don’t see Arrieta having much problem with this Mariners lineup considering they rank near the bottom in every statistical offensive category. I think this game should be the best pitching matchup of the series judging from how well both Arrieta and Pineda have been pitching this season.
The first inning was a little tougher for Pineda as he had to get out of a jam with runners on first and third and two outs. But he negated the base runners by striking out Luke Scott looking and keeping the game scoreless for the moment.
Well, the Mariners struck first as Adam Kennedy hit a two-run homer to right field to give his team a 2-0 lead. But a nice throw from Adam Jones kept Brendan Ryan from getting a two-out double and extending the inning. Once again, the O’s will be playing from behind.
Pineda made quick work out of the O’s in the bottom of the second and Arrieta did the same with the Mariners in the top of the third. And the relish won the condiment race for those of you wondering. Let’s get the bats going here fellas.
Welcome back, J.J. Hardy. You’ve been missed. Hardy hit his first home run since Sept. 8, 2010 to bring the O’s within a run.
The fans right below me in the press box are extra rowdy tonight for some reason. They’re actually pretty entertaining right now. That’s probably going to change considering it’s only the top of the fourth inning. But we’ll see how things go.
After putting runners on first and third with one out, Arrieta recorded his fourth and fifth strikeouts of the game to end the inning without further damage.
I still can’t understand how this O’s lineup ranks lower than the bottom half of the majors in every statistical offensive category. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be at least in the top half of most of them. Once again tonight, the O’s are struggling to reach base and only have had four runners reach base through five innings. It’s starting to get old.
After throwing 103 pitches, Arrieta is most likely done for the night. He had another strong outing tonight, with his only mistake being the home run given up to Kennedy. If you’re the O’s, there’s not much more you can ask for out of your starter. If he doesn’t come back in the seventh, Arrieta’s closing line will be six innings, four hits, two runs, three walks and six strikeouts. We’ll have to wait and see if the offense will be able to save him from earning his second loss of the season.
Well, I guess they heard me because with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the sixth, Vlad and Luke Scott hit consecutive singles and Jones brought them home with a two-run double to give the O’s a 3-2 lead. Arrieta is now off the hook and could actually earn the win if the score holds. Oh and by the way, this is the first lead the O’s have had in 40 innings. Let’s just hope they can keep it.
That didn’t last long. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Michael Gonzalez allowed a single to Michael Saunders, a bunt single to Ichiro and a double to Chone Figgins that tied the game at three. After intentionally walking Justin Smoak to load the bases, Miguel Olivo delivered an infield single off Koji Uehara that scored Ichiro and gave the Mariners a 4-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
So, remember earlier when I said there were some rowdy fans below me? Well, they’re still here and suprisingly they haven’t gotten on my nerves yet. I was present for the origination of a nickname for Derrek Lee (Silky D), which I have heard every single time he has been involved in a play. We also have another announcer shouting out every new pitcher that enters the game for either team. Obviously, he isn’t as smooth with the last names as the regular announcer, but he’s definitely more entertaining. Oh, and the O’s have runners on first and second with no outs (Silky D and Vlad).
The O’s have proved me wrong and I love it. After the lack of base runners in the first five innings, the O’s put four consecutive runners on base in the bottom of the eighth, which resulted in two runs and gave the O’s a 5-4 lead heading into the ninth. Kevin Gregg is now running out to the mound to try and save this one.
A leadoff single from Saunders proved to be costly as the Mariners advanced him around the bases and eventually across home plate to tie the game at five. Hardy is set to lead off the bottom of the ninth followed by the top of the inning. Let’s end this one in regulation, guys.
The O’s had a prime opportunity to win the game, but for some odd reason the third base coach Juan Samuel thought Hardy had a jet pack on and could make it home on a ball that wasn’t nearly hit hard enough to warrant sending him home. Now we go to extra innings.
We were close to having a bench-clearing brawl in the bottom of the 10th after Felix Pie and Smoak got into it after Smoak tagged Pie out and followed the play with a mini push. And even though both benches did clear, things were quickly resolved and there was no need for further confrontations. When the game resumed, Jones hit a double down the left field line but didn’t go any further as Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds were retired in order.
The O’s have had a runner on second with one out in both the 10th and 11th innings and could not capitalize. If they end up losing, that will be the story of the game. But then again, that has been the story of the O’s season so far.
That’s why we love Markakis, Roberts and Wieters. Markakis tracked down a ball hit all the way to the right field wall and relayed it to Roberts who threw out Olivo at the plate. It was a great play all the way around and something that we’ve come to expect out of these guys. Pie just led off the bottom of the 12th with a double and Jones was intentionally walked. I have a good feeling the end of this game may be coming very soon.
My good feeling meant nothing. To the 13th inning we go…
Jack Wilson led off the 13th with a double and Mike Wilson got his first major league hit and RBI on a broken bat single just out of the reach of Hardy that gave the Mariners a 6-5 lead. Last chance for the O’s.
What a comeback by the O’s! After being down a run in the bottom of the 13th, the O’s struck for two runs and ended their four-game losing streak in exciting fashion. Wieters delivered the game-winning RBI-single that scored Pie from second. In a game that saw it’s fair share of lead changes, the O’s proved they won’t give up without a fight. It was a good overall win and one that the O’s desperately needed.
Submitted by Steve Giles