Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (6-6) was rolling through the first four innings last night as he had not allowed a run and had given up just one hit, but that would all change over the next three innings. Chen gave up one run in the fifth on a RBI single, and that would be the last run the Rockies would score without the use of a home run. In the sixth, Chen surrendered a leadoff solo homer to tie the game at two, and in the seventh he walked the leadoff batter only to follow that up by giving up a two run homer that put the Birds behind 4-2. After a dominant first four innings, Chen allowed four runs over the next 2 1/3 innings. Chen has allowed 34 runs this season, half of them (17) have come in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Baltimore's bullpen did not fare much better as Francisco Rodriguez gave up a solo homer in the eighth, while Jim Johnson came in with the Orioles trailing 5-2 in the ninth and also gave up a solo home run. Johnson was greeted with a loud barrage of boos when he came in and an even louder barrage of boos when he gave up the solo homer.
The game could not have started any better for the Birds as Chen tossed a scoreless top of the first, and Nate McLouth led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run as if to say 'we are back Baltimore.' Well unfortunately that was not the case. The Orioles had the bases loaded with one out in the third inning and Adam Jones delivered a RBI single to give the O's a 2-0 lead, and the bases remained loaded. Nick Markakis was the next up and hit a pop up to the catcher for the second out and Matt Wieters hit a scorching line drive, but it was right at the second baseman and the Orioles only got the one run out of it.
Jones' single in the third inning would be the last hit Baltimore would manage until a ninth inning solo home run by Wieters. The Orioles offense is in a vast slump of inconsistency and we can talk all we want about Jim Johnson's blown saves and the starters struggling in the later innings, but if this team cannot consistently put at least five or more runs on the scoreboard, their playoff chances are grim.
McLouth and Wieters each hit solo home runs, while Manny Machado had the only multi hit game for the Birds going 2-4. The O's return to action tonight as the send Bud Norris (8-10) to the mound for the start against Colorado starter Chad Bettis (0-1).
K-Rod left the game last night due to a right groin strain, and is considered day-to-day and is not expected to go on the DL. Baltimore optioned OF Henry Urrutia after the game in order to clear space for an extra bullpen arm and a corresponding roster move will be made later today.
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