* Kevin Millwood started out the game pretty well: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. He looked good using his breaking-ball and spotting the heater. Then he was brought out to start the 6th inning despite having thrown almost 100 pitches. My reaction via Twitter: “Millwood still out there, eh?” with the rarely used tag #Relievers Are Better Than Mediocre Starters Going Through The Lineup For A Third Time. Well, Evan Longoria promptly deposited a fastball into the upper-deck; Carlos Pena dropped down a bunt single with no one at third-base (the infield was shifted over), and BJ Upton singled as well. Final line: 5 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Still a decent start (~4.20 single game FIP), and one I’d take more often than not.
* Matt Albers relieved Millwood, and got out of trouble with a double play and a strike-out. He gave up a single in the 7th, but K’ed another batter before being removed. Looked pretty good.
* Will Ohman (retired both batters he faced) and Jim Johnson (perfect 8th with a K of Longo) provided a nice bridge to the ninth.
* Adam Jones doubled to deep center-field in his first plate appearance of 2010, and then battled Shields for a long at before driving a fastball out to the opposite field for his first home run of the year. He added an infield single later in the game as well.
* Nick Markakis drew a walk* – after not having one all of Spring Training (to my great chagrin) – and nailed a runner trying to score at the plate. He also served a pitch the other way for a double into the left-center gap. A prototypical Markakis game.
* He also walked in the top of the ninth, but that looked like an unintentional intentional walk to me. They wanted to pitch to Tejada instead. Shouldn’t the #4 hitter provide some protection?
* Luke Scott hit a monster home run. Why isn’t he batting clean-up again?
* Matt Wieters singled and homered, getting out in front of a change-up a little but still having enough power to hit it out. And so it begins…
* Despite the 14 baserunners (11 hits, 3 walks), the O’s managed just 3 runs – all on solo home runs. The runs should come in eventually if they keep getting runners on.
* Mike Gonzalez – $6+ M a year proven closer – struck out the first batter he faced, then single, double (a couple inches from being a HR), intentional walk, 2-run single. Blown save. Awesome.
O’s lose 4-3 in heart-breaking fashion. Start the season 0-1. Damn.