Betemit With the Walkoff Blast

Bartolo Colon was in control for the first eight innings of the game.  His fastball was hitting 93, even in the ninth inning, pretty impressive for a squatty pitcher who looks more like a softball player than a baseball player.  In the ninth inning things unrattled for the Athletics.  J.J Hardy started the inning by bouncing a grounder up the middle.  Eric Sogard made a nice play reaching the ball hit up the middle, but bounced his throw into the dirt.  Daric Barton could not handle the throw.  After Nick Markakis struck out swinging on a 93 mile per hour fastball, Adam Jones hit a squibbler to the right of the mound.  Colon pounced on the ball, threw to first, but again the ball bounced in the dirt and skipped past the first baseman, Hardy advancing to third and Jones to second.  If Daric Barton could have scooped either of the one bouncers the Athletics would be in a better position to win the game.

The Athletics chose to bring in Grant Balfour, rather than sticking with Colon.  The pitch count for Colon had reached 105 but the balls were still not getting hit hard.  Balfour got ahead of Matt Wieters 1-2.  Matt was one of the better clutch hitters in baseball last year.  He drove a 1-2 pitch from Balfour into left center, hitting the middle of the wall for a 2-run double.  It had fallen just five feet short of being a game winning homerun.  The Athletics chose to walk the hot hitting Chris Davis intentionally to face Wilson Betemit.  Balfour got behind in the count 3-1 and Betemit drove the next pitch deep to right center.  All Reddick and Cespedes could do is watch it hit just in front of the bleacher seats but over the fence for a homerun.  The ball bounced back into the field of play.  For Wilson Betemit it was his first career game winning walk off hit.

Tommy Hunter pitched a good game.  He had shut down the Athletics for the first five innings, though when you look at that lineup it is pretty anemic.  In the sixth a 2-out single by Josh Reddick and a Yoenis Cespedes double into the left field corner scored the first run of the game.  Seth Smith drove in the Athletics second run with a solo shot to lead off the seventh.  Hunter was done after he finished the seventh inning.

Bartolo Colon was brilliant throughout.  Only a couple of well placed scoops prevented him from having a complete game shutout.  He was consistently at 89-93 miles per hour with his fastball.  The Orioles had their best chances in the first and seventh innings after they had gotten leadoff doubles.  In the first, Nolan Reimold broke for third but J.J. Hardy lined it to first for an easy double play.  In the seventh the Markakis double was wasted when Wilson Betemit popped up to short.

Game Notes: Pedro Strop throws a hard 97 mile per hour fastball.  That qualifies as closer stuff…The difference between this Oriole team and past Oriole teams is that the pitchers throw strikes.  No more of this torture of watching Orioles pitchers struggle through 3-2 counts.  They also have a couple key players in Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy are at that prime age of 26-30.  Even Chris Davis and Robert Andino are contributing, with Andino having everyone in Baltimore saying Brian who?…The Frank Robinson statute was nicely done.  The Orioles will be adding a statute a month, with Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken statutes planned for the future.  Maybe they will consider a Boog Powell statute for next year…Nolan Reimold caught a ball in left field on a high fly ball hit by Kurt Suzuki with his glove over the fence.  It wasn’t a difficult catch, but if he hadn’t been there to catch the ball it would have gone over the fence…In the fourth Mark Reynolds made a nice diving play at first to start a double play.  With his struggles at third continuing he may find himself at first base more with Chris Davis hitting more in the DH spot…Nick Markakis also threw out Seth Smith at second in the fourth inning as he was trying to turn a single into a double…Reynolds also allowed a ball to bounce off his glove with runners on first and second and two outs.  Fortunately, Robert Andino picked the ball up behind him and flipped it to Pedro Strop at first for a rare 3-4-1 play…J.J. Hardy did hit a line drive into the left field bleachers, but the ball was foul.

Comments are closed.