It would have been easy to pack it in and begin to focus on the next one, but the Baltimore Orioles refused to quit after going down 6-0 early, and scored nine unanswered runs, including three in the top of the tenth inning to cap a great comeback with a 9-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Orioles starting pitcher Jason Hammel (5-1) struggled and had his worst outing of the season. Hammel gave up a run in the first, two in the second, one in the third and two in the fifth without recording an out. He just never really had command all night, and it appeared that his mechanics were off. Several times you could see him getting underneath the ball and not staying on top of his pitches. His final line on the night was four plus innings pitched, while giving up six runs on eight hits, two walks and six strikeouts.
Hammel for sure thought he had suffered his second loss of the season, but Baltimore's offense had other ideas. Twins starter, Mike Pelfrey (3-3) was cruising along as he had not allowed a run in five innings, but in the sixth, you could see him losing steam and getting tired. Minnesota did now have anyone warming in the bullpen for the longest time in the sixth and it hurt them. Pelfrey gave up four doubles in the inning to account for three Orioles runs, as Nick Markakis, Chris Davis, JJ Hardy and Chris Dickerson all doubled in the inning which cut the Twins lead to 6-3.
Josh Roenicke came into pitch for the Twins in the top of the seventh and Baltimore was very appreciative. Roenicke would only record one out, but surrendered three more runs to the Birds and the game was tied just like that. McLouth doubled to leadoff the inning, and Manny Machado then laid down a perfect drag bunt that Minnesota would throw away allowing McLouth to score and Machado to advance to second. Markakis then singled home Machado, before scoring later in the inning on Davis's third double of the night.
It had already been quite a comeback, but Baltimore finished it off in the tenth, by scoring three runs on four singles, a sac bunt and a sac fly. Machado got the big hit to score Dickerson to give the O's the lead, while Markakis added a sac fly and Adam Jones an RBI single to cap off the tenth.
Jim Johnson came into pitch the bottom of the tenth and pitched a scoreless frame for his 14th save of the season. The save gave Johnson the franchise record for most consecutive converted saves at 35. Randy Myers previously held the record at 34.
Johnson's save capped off an impressive night for the bullpen as the pen combined for six shutout innings, while allowing just three hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. T.J. McFarland tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings, while Tommy Hunter added 2 1/3 scoreless increasing his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 14 2/3 innings. Hunter also got the win on the mound improving his record out of the bullpen to 3-1 on the season.
Baltimore's offense had a pretty historical night as they pounded out 18 hits. The O's had seven players with multi-hit games for the first time since May 10, 2011, had seven doubles for the first time since July 20 of last year, had four doubles in one inning for the first time since August 26, 2011 and came back from a 6-0 deficit to win for the first time since June 25, 2010 against the Nationals. It was quite a night!
Davis (3-6, three doubles, 2 RBI), Jones (3-6, RBI, stolen base) and Machado (3-6, RBI, two runs scored) led the way offensively for the Birds. It needs to be mentioned though, that the bottom of the order of Dickerson (2-5, double, RBI) and Alexi Casilla (2-3, walk, two stolen bases) combined to go 4-8 with a RBI, run scored and a walk.
Baltimore will look to guarantee their ninth series win of the season tonight as they will send Steve Johnson (0-0) to the mound for his 2013 Orioles debut against Minnesota's Vance Worley (0-4). All three teams tied atop the AL East won yesterday, thus it remains a three-way tie between the O's, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees.
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