BALTIMORE, MD — Perhaps the Orioles should wear their blue Father’s Day uniforms more often.
That’s because the Orioles went 2-0 while wearing the holiday gear, picking up 15-7 and 8-5 wins over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday and Sunday. Following a stretch in which they lost eight of nine, the Orioles have now won two straight and are now back at .500 (34-34). They still have a long way to go, as they are fourth place in the division, and five games behind the Yankees (38-28). Nevertheless, the offensive outburst had been a long time coming, and it was nice to see after the horrible stretch the O’s were on coming into the series.
Game 1 recap: Despite the offensive fireworks the Orioles had in the last two games of the series, Friday night’s game is a different story. The Orioles dropped game one, 11-2, as the Orioles allowed five home runs. Kevin Gausman was shaky yet again, this time going 5.2 innings and allowing five runs on nine hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. Gabriel Ynoa did not fare much better, pitching just 1.1 innings and allowing five runs (three earned) on four hits and two strikeouts.
The Cardinals’ pitching staff limited the Orioles to just five hits. Carlos Martinez earned his sixth win of the season with his six-inning, one run outing.
The only scoring the O’s could muster came on a third inning sacrifice fly by Manny Machado, and a ninth inning solo homer by Trey Mancini.
Game 2 recap: After getting blown out on Friday night, the Orioles returned the favor on Saturday. The Orioles offense came out of the gates early, scoring nine runs in the first two innings; seven in the second. Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo got things started with solo home runs in the first inning. Three outs later, J.J. Hardy and Mancini each hit two-RBI doubles, Manny Machado hit a two-run home run, and Jonathan Schoop singled to score Mancini.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, 35, did his best Orioles impression, lasting just 1.2 innings and allowing all nine of those runs on 47 pitches.
The Orioles did not take their foot off the gas, and went on to score six more runs, with three of those coming off two Schoop home runs. Mancini, Trumbo, and Schoop each finished with two home runs in the series. Schoop is tied for second on the team (Machado) in home runs with 13. Chris Davis, currently on the DL with an oblique strain, is in first with 14.
Even though the Orioles’ offense looked great, the pitching staff still had its fair share of struggles, really throughout the entire weekend. Wade Miley once again failed to get past the sixth inning. He lasted 5.2 frames, but allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits, four walks, and eight strikeouts. Walks continue to be a problem for Miley, and his pitch count climbs amazingly quick.
In the sixth inning, the Orioles made three pitching changes to record the final out of the inning. Miley came out of the game at 117 pitches (65 strikes) with runners on first and second. Alec Asher, after the announcement that Ubaldo Jimenez would start on Sunday, came on in relief and allowed a three-run home run by Dexter Fowler, and singles by Jose Martinez and Jedd Gyorko. Manager Buck Showalter trotted out of the dugout again, pulling Asher for Richard Bleier. Bleier proceeded to walk Greg Garcia, and Showalter angrily pulled Bleier for Mychal Givens, who recorded the final out and pitched the next two innings.
The combination of Givens and Brach did not allow a run in the final three innings, but going through four pitchers in the same inning just goes to show how bad the entire pitching staff has been recently.
Game 3 recap: Jimenez, who was put back into the rotation after a few “respectable” relief outings, gave the Orioles exactly what they needed on Sunday. The Orioles had not had a starting pitcher go seven innings since June 1, but Jimenez did just that on Sunday, allowing two runs on four hits, four walks, and three strikeouts.
The Orioles got a quick start again on offense, scoring one run apiece in the first three innings, including two on home runs by Seth Smith & Mancini. Trumbo hit a two-run bomb in the fifth inning, which was a four-run frame for the Birds. Wellington Castillo, who caught all three games, hit his seventh home run of the season in the fifth inning, giving the O’s four on the afternoon and 10 total in the series.
When Jimenez came out of the game, the O’s were up 5-2, but once again the bullpen was shaky. Vidal Nuno and Miguel Castro both allowed home runs, and Nuno failed to even record an out. Brach pitched for the second day in a row, striking out one.
Hardy injured: Hardy left Sunday’s game with a wrist injury after being hit by a pitch, thrown by Lance Lynn of the Cardinals. Hardy had an X-Ray on his right wrist (throwing hand), and the initial reports did not look promising.
“We took an X-Ray here, saw something that concerned us,” Showalter said after the game. “I know he has [an MRI] in the morning and we’ll have a little more definitive idea there.”
What’s next: The Orioles remain home this week as they host the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians for a four-game series. All four contests, starting Monday, begin at 7:05 pm. Check back for a series preview tomorrow.