The Baltimore Orioles used a couple of solo home runs by Brian Roberts and Chris Davis and a strong performance by Miguel Gonzalez on the mound to pull out a series sweep with the Texas Rangers courtesy of a 3-1 victory last night.
It was quite a pitcher’s duel the entire evening and Gonzalez (7-3) was fabulous on the mound for the Birds. Gonzalez had tossed five shutout innings and entered the sixth inning with a 2-0 lead. The sixth inning has not been kind to the Orioles this season, and although Gonzalez did allow a run in the frame, it would be the only run the entire Orioles’ pitching staff would surrender on that night.
Gonzalez allowed a solo home run to Ian Kinsler in the sixth, and got Adrian Beltre hit into a ground ball double play to end the inning. At the end of the night, Gonzalez put up a good final line as he tossed 6 2/3 innings, while allowing one run on four hits, two walks and striking out four.
The biggest threat the Rangers would put on in the late innings came in the eighth when Troy Patton gave up a leadoff single which then prompted Manager Buck Showalter to bring in Darren O’Day to face Kinsler with no outs. O’Day attempted a pick off at first and the ball went right off of Chris Davis’s glove and allowed the speedy Leonys Martin to move up to second with no outs and the O’s hanging onto a slim 2-1 lead. Knowing a single would score Martin from second, O’Day had to bare down and pitch his way out of a tough spot. That is exactly what O’Day did as he retired Kinsler on a ground out, followed by inducing a pop out and a fly out to strand Martin at second.
Jim Johnson came on to toss a scoreless ninth for his league leading 31stsave of the season, although it was not a clean inning as he allowed two hits, but utilized a double play to get out of trouble.
Baltimore’s offense continued its recent struggles, but utilized the long ball twice as Davis blasted his MLB leading 34thhome run of the season in the second inning to give the O’s a 1-0 lead, while Brian Roberts hit a solo shot of his own in the third to give Baltimore a 2-0 lead.
Leading 2-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, Baltimore knew it would be nice to add an insurance run for extra cushion for Johnson in the ninth and they did just that. Nate McLouth delivered a huge two out RBI single to score Matt Wieters to give the O’s that extra run and a 3-1 lead.
Wieters had the only multi-hit game for the Birds as they only mustered six total in the game. Matt went 2-3 with a run scored, while Davis, Roberts and McLouth each had a RBI.
The O's will now play host to their division foe, Toronto Blue Jays for a three game set and will be looking for some revenge after being swept by the Blue Jays in Toronto a few weeks ago. Chris Tillman (10-3) takes the mound tonight for the Orioles and will square off against Toronto starter Mark Buehrle (5-5).
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