The Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Angels exchanged zero after zero before Albert Pujols drove in the game's only run with a RBI single in the top of the 13th inning off of Ryan Webb to help the Angels avoid the sweep with a 1-0 victory over the Orioles Thursday Night.
With the score still knotted at zero, Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun led off the 13th with a walk and moved up to third courtesy of a Mike Trout single to setup runners on the corners with no outs. Pujols followed with the would-be game winning single immediately following Trout.
Angels' closer Houston Street shut the door in the bottom half of the 13th to secure the rare 1-0, 13 inning victory. It was the longest extra inning shutout loss by the Orioles since losing 1-0 to the then California Angels on August 20, 1978 in 14 innings.
The ending result hides the fact that the Orioles pitching staff did a phenomenal job all night as Bud Norris started the game and tossed seven shutout innings, while Brad Brach tossed two shutout innings, Tommy Hunter tossed two shutout innings, and Brian Matusz tossed a shutout inning after relieving Webb in the 13th.
Norris took a no decision, but is still 4-0 with a 0.43 ERA in six career starts against the Angels, while Brach continued his impressive run as he has posted a 1.31 ERA with a 4-0 record, four walks and 18 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings pitched since June 23.
As good as Orioles pitching was, the Angels ended up being one inning better as they completed a 13 inning shutout of the Birds and held Baltimore to just five hits the entire game.
Caleb Joseph had two of the Orioles' five hits, while Adam Jones, JJ Hardy and Steve Pearce had the others. All five O's hits were singles, and really only had a threat going in a couple of the innings.
In the bottom of the 12th, Pearce singled with two outs to move Chris Davis up to second base and was followed by a Nick Hundley walk to load the bases, but Jonathan Schoop struck out to end the threat. In the eighth inning, Joseph led off with a single and David Lough came in to pinch run for him. Schoop moved Lough up with a nice sac bunt, but Nick Markakis followed with a flyout and Manny Machado struck out to strand Lough on second.
Machado went 0-6 with four strikeouts in the game, and Nelson Cruz continued his slump as he has not gotten a hit in his last 20 at bats.
Combined with a Toronto Blue Jays win, the Orioles saw their lead in the AL East shrink to a game and a half, but still took two of three from a tough Angels team and will now look forward to their final series against an AL West opponent as they begin a three game set with the Seattle Mariners tonight at the Yard. Baltimore will send Wei-Yin Chen (11-3) to the mound to face Roenis Elias (8-8) with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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