If there is one thing the Orioles need it is starting pitching. Only Dylan Bundy is pitching well of their big three with Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman struggling. This puts a strain on the bullpen. Ubaldo Jimenez gave the O’s seven innings allowing just two runs, both bombs by Stephen Piscotty in the O’s 8-5 win and could find himself back in the rotation.
Jimenez fastball is not what it used to be. He sits in the high 80s to low 90s. When he throws strikes he can still be effective. While he walked four none of them hurt him. The defense played well behind him and giving up just four hits did not allow the walks to advance the bases or cross the plate. The two runs he did allow were on balls that cleared the fence, both by Stephen Piscotty. The first homerun just cleared the fence in right center in the second inning, Adam Jones making a valiant leap to keep it from going over the wall. The second homerun by Piscotty came in the fourth with a ball that just cleared the fence in centerfield.
On the other side Lance Lynn was not sharp. The O’s got some good wood on the bat with many of his pitches. Seth Smith led off the first inning with a line drive homerun over the centerfield wall. In the second inning Trey Mancini led off the inning with a blast over the right field scoreboard. That blast gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead, which they would never relinquish.
In the third inning Seth Smith lined a single into centerfield. Seth would finish the day a triple short of the cycle. Manny Machado walked. Adam Jones appeared to spoil the rally grounding into a double play. With a runner on third and a 1-2 count Mark Trumbo stuck his bat out and lined a soft single into left field to plate Smith for a 3-1 lead.
The Orioles put the game away in the fifth. Five straight hitters blasted the ball to the warning track or farther. It started with a blast from Adam Jones that went over the head of Dexter Fowler and one hopped the wall. Fowler appeared a little casual retrieving the ball and Jones made a triple out of it, his first since 2015. Trumbo followed with a shot that just reached the left field bleachers. A fan with a glove had it bounce out of the glove and fall back into the field. Trey Mancini lined a pitch into left centerfield that hit the wall and caromed past Pham and Fowler. Mancini was able to scamper to third for his first career triple. Jonathan Schoop followed with a shot into right center that would have travelled over the fence, but Fowler made a nice leap over the wall and brought the ball back in. Mancini scored to give Schoop a SF. Wellington Castillo finished the day for Lynn by driving one into the Orioles bullpen to give the Orioles a 7-2 lead. Five batters and five blasts in a row. It was amazing Lynn was left in that long.
The Orioles made it 8-2 in the sixth. Seth Smith hit a hustle double to right center field, beating the throw from Piscotty. He advanced to third on a wild pitch. Manny Machado took advantage of a drawn in infield by bouncing one past the shortstop. Smith crossed the plate for his third run of the game.
The call went to Vidal Nuno to pitch the eighth. With an 8-2 lead he walked the leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter. He got ahead of Dexter Fowler with a 1-2 count but Fowler hit the next pitch deep over the center field wall. For Fowler it was the fourth consecutive game in which he has hit a homerun. For Buck he had seen enough for Nuno and placed call on Miguel Castro to finish the inning. Castro got the first two hitters but then gave up a homerun to Yadier Molina deep into the left field bleachers.
With the score 8-5 Brad Brach was called on to finish the ninth. He retired the side in order to give the O’s the rubber match against the Cardinals and earn himself a cheap save.
Game Notes: Both teams abandoned their colors for this game to wear blue to honor Father’s day. The Cardinals blue was darker and they wore gray jerseys…The Cardinal outfield arms are not strong. The O’s took advantage of Tommy Pham, Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty to advance an extra base on three hits, turning two doubles into triples and a single into a double…Trevor Rosenthal is hitting 100 consistently with his fastball. The last time we saw him pitch he was struggling with his fastball down to 96-97…Speaking of velocity myworld was in Bowie last night and watched Jesus Liranzo make his first start. He was hitting 100-101 on almost every pitch. Jesus has been working out of the pen because he only has two pitches. The fastball is hot but an average curve or slider with not a lot of break and a change he threw once that went for a ball gives him a lot to work on if he wants to convert to a starter. The Orioles need starting pitchers and they have two possibilities in Bowie who have high 90s to triple digit fastballs (Tanner Scott is the other pitcher). Tanner has not gone past the third inning in any of his starts…The defense was making some excellent plays behind Ubaldo. A leaping catch by Schoop in the sixth, an unassisted double play by Trey Mancini in the fifth and a nice running catch to the warning track by Jones in the seventh…Can’t see Hyun-Soo Kim getting many starts if he doesn’t start showing some offense. His defense is not strong and he only has one homerun with a .267 average. Those are numbers of a fourth outfielder, but they usually are kept on the bench because of their defense or speed. Kim has neither attribute…The fans gave Ubaldo a standing O after he retired the side in the seventh. They knew his day was done…J.J. Hardy was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. He was replaced by Ruben Tejeda when the team went on defense in the fifth inning.