After two straight rain outs, the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates finally got to play their two game series and did so in one day with a single admission double header. The Orioles came away with a sweep in the double header thanks to solid pitching in game one and a walk off extra inning home run by Matt Wieters in game two.
Tied 5-5 in the bottom of the tenth inning of game two, Wieters connected on a 1-0 pitch to send Orioles fans home happy and the players on their way to the airport in a much better mood.
Early on in the second game it did not appear that the Orioles would have a chance at winning the game as starting pitcher Chris Tillman needed 49 pitches just to complete the first inning, that saw him walk three batters, two of which brought home runs for the Pirates. Baltimore trailed 4-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth and thats when the Birds finally figured out Pirates starting pitcher Brandon Cumpton.
Nick Markakis led off with a single, but the next two batters were retired and it appeared that Markakis, who had advanced to second on a wild pitch, would be stranded, but Adam Jones came through with a two out double to knock him in and was followed by a Wieters RBI single, a Steve Pearce double, and a two run single by JJ Hardy and all of the sudden the game was tied at four and the O's had scored all four of their runs with two outs.
Pittsburgh re-took the lead in the top of the seventh, but Markakis hit a 0-1 pitch over the wall for his second home run of the double header to tie the game again, which set the stage for Wieters' heroics in the tenth.
Tillman battled his way to 4 2/3 innings, while allowing three runs on six hits, three walks and a season high eight strikeouts. Evan Meek, Troy Patton, Ryan Webb, Brian Matusz, Darren O'Day and Tommy Hunter (1-0) combined to throw 5 1/3 innings, while allowing two runs on five hits, five walks and six strikeouts. The Orioles, who will need an extra arm in the bullpen, optioned Meek to AAA Norfolk after the game.
Game one was not nearly as exciting, but Baltimore did have to eliminate a 1-0 deficit and did so with a three run fifth inning. Delmon Young led off with a single and was followed by a Steve Clevenger walk, then Hardy, who hardly ever bunts, laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and thanks to a throwing error, the Orioles had the bases loaded with no outs. Pearce then delivered a RBI single to tie the game and Ryan Flaherty came through with a two run single immediately after to give the O's a 3-1 lead.
Pearce added another RBI single in the sixth and Markakis hit his first home run of the season in the seventh for the Orioles fifth run.
Bud Norris (2-2) battled a high pitch count as well, but picked up his second win of the season as he tossed 5 1/3 innings, while allowing just one run on seven hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Webb, Zach Britton, O'Day, Matusz and Hunter combined to toss 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, while Hunter picked up his seventh save of the season.
Pearce, who was re-signed yesterday, had an overall impressive day for the Orioles picking up four hits and two RBI on the day, while Markakis picked up his first two home runs of the season and scored three runs.
We will await a roster move by the Orioles to fill the roster spot opened by optioning Meek after the game, as the Orioles will desperately need a fresh arm after every reliever pitched yesterday, including several of them in both games. Ubaldo Jimenez (0-4) will start today's opening game of a three game set against the Minnesota Twins and will square off against Ricky Nolasco (2-2).
With the double header sweep, Baltimore is now just 1/2 game behind the New York Yankees for the AL East division lead.
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