The Baltimore Orioles only scored in two innings of last night's game, but courtesy of a six run fourth and a three run seventh, the Birds took down the visiting Oakland A's 9-7 in a wild game. Brian Roberts hit his sixth career grand slam in the six run fourth to provide fireworks during the game to go with the firework show after the game.
Trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Birds took advantage of an Oakland error off the bat of Chris Davis, that allowed Nate McLouth to score the tying run. Baltimore did not stop there however, as Adam Jones then knocked in Manny Machado with a RBI groundout to give the O's the lead and Nick Markakis followed later in the inning with a RBI single to add an insurance run and a 9-7 lead. It was a lead the Orioles would not relinquish.
It was not the first time the Birds had to come from behind in the game as they trailed 3-0 heading into the fourth inning, but Orioles fans were about to have some fun watching the recently struggling Baltimore offense. Davis led off the inning with a walk and was immediately followed by a two run opposite field home run from Jones to pull the Birds within one. The offense was a long way from being done in the inning though as Wieters then singled, Markakis walked, J.J. Hardy struck out and Ryan Flaherty singled to load the bases with just one down. Roberts proceeded to crush a 1-1 pitch to right field onto the flag court for a grand slam and a 6-3 lead. It was Roberts' sixth career grand slam and could not have come at a better time for the Orioles.
Wieters had the lone multi hit game for the Birds going 2-4 with a run scored, while Roberts was 1-3 with the grand slam and four RBI and Jones went 1-4 with a home runs and three RBI to lead the offensive charge.
Good thing for the Orioles that the offense decided to explode because starting pitcher Bud Norris (9-10) had a rough outing. All seven Oakland runs were charged to him as he could not get out of the fifth inning. It should not be a cause for concern however, as Norris just simply did not have his command and that happens to a pitcher once in a while. He tossed 4 2/3 innings while allowing seven runs on nine hits, three walks and seven strikeouts.
The Baltimore bullpen was absolutely fantastic last night as they combined to throw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief. Troy Patton came on to get the final out of the fifth and tossed a scoreless sixth as well, while Francisco Rodriguez (2-0) picked up the win by tossing a scoreless seventh leading into the three run inning by the offense that gave them the lead. Tommy Hunter, who had a nice save on Wednesday came in and pitched a scoreless eighth inning to set the stage for Jim Johnson in the ninth.
Johnson came on and looked like the 2012 version as it took just nine pitches to retire the side in order and he threw just one ball. It was his 40th save of the season, which is just 11 behind the franchise record of 51 he set last season.
With the win, Baltimore pulled to within two of the A's for the second wildcard spot and leap frogged the Cleveland Indians, who also lost last night, in the wildcard standings to move into third place.
Baltimore will look to pull within a game late this afternoon as they send Chris Tillman (14-4) to the mound against A's starter Jarrod Parker (9-6). First pitch is scheduled for 4:05.
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