The rain-out yesterday might have provided a nice reprieve for the O’s after the drubbing the Rangers inflicted on them in the first two games of the series.
Game one started out in impressive fashion, as the O’s set an AL record when Ryan Flaherty, JJ Hardy, and Nick Markakis hit three straight homers to begin the bottom of the first. Interestingly, when the Brewers did that for the first time (in the NL), JJ Hardy was also the second batter in that inning (it was 2007). Colby Lewis mostly settled down after that, retiring a long string of batters, but the O’s struck again with homers by Adam Jones and Wilson Betemit in the 7th. Lewis became the first pitcher to ever give up 5 homers while getting at least 10 strike-outs in a game (he K’ed 12, and the pen added a 13th). All five of the Orioles’ hits were home runs, with one of their actual baserunners (a walk by Matt Wieters) scoring in a homer and their other (a Chris Davis HBP) getting erased on a double play.
The 6 runs stood up, as Wei-Yin Chen had another nice start; 7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Chen missed a bunch of bats, especially with his fastball (10 whiffs). All the flyballs that he allowed stayed in the yard, but that sort of thing isn’t likely to continue all year. Chen’s FIP dropped to 3.19 with this game, but his xFIP is still up at 4.43 (since he’s been an extreme flyball pitcher, but only given up 2 home runs). That’s not the worst though, and it’s certainly possible that he (a) improves in other ways to off-set the home runs, or (b) manages to continue posting an ERA/FIP below his xFIP (like a Jered Weaver or Matt Cain).
One of the two runs charged to Chen was allowed to score by Luis Ayala, who then himself left two on in the 9th when Jim Johnson came in and allowed a three-run homer. You know, just to make things interesting. The O’s held on to win 6-5. Between a position player getting a win, a four home run game, and now three straight homers to start a game, it’s been a weird week for the Orioles.
Game two started out in impressive fashion as well, they for the other team. Josh Hamilton came up to the plate with Elvis Andrus on base, which means that josh Hamilton hit a home run (all four of his homers on Tuesday were with Andrus on). Onto Eutaw Street. The O’s came back with three run in the 2nd, thanks to 3 Texas errors, but the Rangers’ offense was too much to handle. Tommy Hunter did manage to strike out 7 (with only one walk), which is something, and 4 runs in 6 innings isn’t the worst. Not good enough though, as the O’s lost the game 7-3 and the series (during which they were outscored 36-15).