Nelson Cruz hit a Grand Slam in the eighth inning to tie the game at four, and courtesy of a wild pitch in the 12th inning, the Baltimore Orioles were walkoff winners Wednesday Night beating the Chicago White Sox 5-4.
It was a wild game, and for it to end with a wild pitch to allow David Lough to score the game winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning seemed about right for the theme of the game.
Baltimore's offense was struggling mightily throughout the game, but began to show a little life in the seventh inning when they managed to get three hits in the inning, and did not score a run, but perhaps it set the stage for the eighth inning.
Nick Hundley and Nick Markakis hit back-to-back singles to being the eighth to finally force White Sox starter Hector Noesi out of the game, but hope began to fade as both Steve Pearce and Adam Jones flew out to bring Chris Davis up with two on and two out. Davis worked a walk to load the bases, and Cruz proceeded to take a 2-1 fastball and just clear the grounds crew shed in right field for a crowd erupting, game tying Grand Slam.
Per Orioles PR, Cruz became the first Oriole in franchise history to ground into two double plays and hit a Grand Slam in the same game.
All of the sudden the game was tied, and it would remain so until the 12th inning. Hundley walked to leadoff the inning and Markakis followed with a deep single to right center field that had pinch runner David Lough rounding third and heading for home, but he slipped and fell and had to retreat to third base. It ended up not mattering as Daniel Webb threw a wild pitch to the very next batter and Lough came home to score the walkoff win for the Birds.
Markakis had a monster game after going 0-8 in the first two games of the series he went 4-6 with a run scored on Wednesday Night, while JJ Hardy and Hundley also had multi-hit games with two a piece.
On the mound, it was a pretty darn good game all the way around except for the seventh inning. Ubaldo Jimenez started the game for the Birds and it was one of his better performances command wise and stuff wise. Jimenez was efficient with his pitch count, wasn't walking nearly the number of batters we have seen him walk and was getting some strikeouts, and through six innings he had allowed just two runs on 80 pitches, but the seventh did not go so well has he allowed two runs, a walk, and three hits. Overall his final line was 6 1/3 innings pitched, while allowing four runs on eight hits, two walks, six strikeouts, one home runs and tossed 100 pitches, 65 of which were for strikes.
The bullpen was the story on Wednesday Night as they worked a combined 5 2/3 innings without allowing a single run, and gave up just three hits and two walks, while striking out six. Tommy Hunter (2-1) got the win and did so by facing just one batter in the 12th inning, but it was a big moment. With runners on first and second with two outs, Hunter came in to face Paul Konerko, and promptly struck him out to end the inning.
Brian Matusz began the 12th inning by giving up a leadoff double, but bounced back by getting the next batter to fly out and striking out the following batter.
It was a big win for the Orioles as it secured a series win, and combined with a Toronto Blue Jays loss, the Birds are now just 1 1/2 games behind the Jays for first place in the AL East. Cruz's Grand Slam marked the seventh consecutive game that the Orioles have scored in the eighth inning or later in a game.
Baltimore will enjoy an off day today before beginning a four game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday with a Day-Night double header.
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Tags: Baltimore, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, MLB, Nelson Cruz, Nick Hundley, Nick Markakis, Tommy Hunter, Ubaldo Jimenez