Tuesday, May 27, 2008

O's-Yankees, Home Run Derby

Brian Burres just needs to follow the same gameplan he had last time out against New York, and hopefully the O's can get to Ian Kennedy this time around (6 IP, 1 R last week against the Birds).

Bobby Abreu beats out an infield single, but that's all the Yanks get in the first.

[Apparently, Joba Chamberlain's first name is pronounced "jah-buh". I think that sounds dumb, and will continue to refer to him as "joe-buh". Alrighty then.]

The O's go down in order in the first.

Jason Giambi - the Giambino - puts a Ruthian swing on a hanging curveball. It went oh so very far, landing on Eutaw Street. 1-0 NY. Former Brave and Dodger, Wilson Betemit follows that with a single to left. Then Robbie Cano lines a single to center. Burres isn't fooling anyone in this inning. With two outs, Johnny Damon shows why he was such a valuable lead-off hitter (other than the OBP) - his flashes of power. Damon hits a line-drive over the scoreboard in right to make it 4-0. Burres hits Jeter in the foot with a bouncing curveball. A come-backer to the mound from Abreu finally ends the inning.

Aubrey Huff gets the O's first hit, lining a pitch up the middle for a single. 4-0 score, meet Kevin Millar. His seventh home run of the year cuts the lead to 4-2. Did I say 4-2? Make that 4-3. Razor Ramon hits his fourth, and boy did he unload on that one (87 mph fastball right down the middle). Adam Jones with the let-down; he just singles past Derek Jeter (how does anyone think he's a good shortstop? Miguel Tejada could have gotten to that ball). Freddie Bynum flies out to deep center, and Adam Jones tags up and goes to second. Damon's throw is not nearly in time. On a passed ball, Jones then scampers to third. Brian Roberts chops one that A-Rod fields, but he hurries his throw and the error allows Jones to score. The game is now tied at 4-4, and that last run is based largely on Jones' baserunning. Another passed ball allows Brian to get into scoring position at second for Mora. Melvin goes down swinging, but it's now a brand-new ballgame.

Giambi hits an opposite-field double that Luke Scott can't quite get to, but Burres is able to keep NY off the board.

Scott is the only baserunner of the O's half inning, getting on via a Cano error.

With two outs, Damon rips a double down the right-field line, and Cap'n Jeter follows it up with an RBI single up the middle. A third lefty takes Burres deep as Bobby Abreu hits a two-run homer. 7-4, Yankees. Brian tried to drop-down on that pitch (well, he did succeed in lowering his release point) but it ended up right in Abreu's wheel-house. The lead is back to four, as A-Rod goes back-to-back with Abreu. He just sent it out to dead-center, and that will end Burres' day. Lance Cormier will come in to try to eat some innings, but the way the ball is flying out of the park, the O's are certainly still in the game. Cormier gets the final out of the inning.

A-Rod makes another throwing error; this time allowing Razor to reach. Adam Jones erases him though, with a double play grounder. Bynum lines one to third for the final out. No quick answer this inning from the O's offense.

Jason Giambi, who swings at pitches out of the zone less than anyone in baseball, strikes out looking at a 3-2 fastball just below the outside corner. Cormier then gets Betemit swinging at a curveball. A Cano groundout means the Yanks are retired in order for the first time today.

Roberts singles to right to start the O's rally. Is it a rally when the guy just hits a homer? Mora's sixth of the year (and the seventh of the game overall) makes it 8-6. Nick pops up the first pitch he sees and is now 0-3 on the day. All this was off of Ross Ohlendorf, who came in for Kennedy after the third inning (and I barely noticed - they both look similar and have high-socks; I guess I should have realized that "Kennedy" wasn't doing his "Mussina" dip to start his wind-up.) Jeez, I wonder if I could hit one out of Camden Yards right now. Luuuuke takes an outside fastball and send it deep into the warm night air. 8-7. What the hell is going on? I wish I had someone to call about this. Kevin Millar send one deep to left. That's the third set of back-to-back home runs in the game (two by the Birds). The game is now tied at 8-8, and 14 of the 16 runs have scored via the longball. Razor strikes out to end the fifth. What an incredibly entertaining game.

Cormier gets a couple of outs, but also allows a Damon single and walks Abreu. Dennis Sarfate will come in to face A-Rod. And he doesn't even have to as the Captain gets picked off second base before Sarfate even has to throw a pitch. Just like that, the Yankee threat is over.

With one out, change-up specialist Edwar Ramirez will come in to face Bynum. Freddie is retired, but Brian battles and serves a pitch into left for a single. Mora singles past a reaching Jeter (I wonder how often New York commentators have to say that?) and Roberts motors over to third. Now would be a good time for Nick's first hit of the day. Nope. A grounder to first ends the inning. Suddenly neither team can score a run.

Sarfate blows A-Rod away with a high fastball at 97. That's a pitch that Rodriguez is actually susceptible to, but if you don't get it up enough then he can hit it a long way. Matsui and Giambi fly out, and it'e time to stretch.

Kevin Millar's good night continues as he pulls a two-out double to left. The Farnz is coming in to face Razor. Aww... Ramon singles to first and Millar is sent home (despite him being slow and Abreu having a good arm) - he is just out (actually, he might have gotten his toe on the plate before the tag was applied).

JJ comes in and gets Betemit on the first pitch. A quick 1-2-3 inning for Johnson.

Adam Jones works Farnzy for a four-pitch walk to start the bottom of the eighth. Bynum puts down a sac bunt with two strikes (I don't think that's a great play against a but who just threw four straight out of the zone and brings high heat) and the Yanks intentionally walk Roberts with first-base open. It works, as Mora grounds to second for an inning-ending double play. To the top of the ninth.

Despite his easy eighth, JJ is removed in favor of closer George Sherrill. I like that Dave Trembley doesn't just keep Sherrill for save situations, but brings him in if the score is close and there are lefties coming up. Johnny Damon hits it to left and thinks double right out of the box. Luke Scott has a pretty good arm, but he isn't able to get him at second. Jeter is way out in front of a breaking-ball, and goes down swinging. And then Abreu goes down looking on a fastball on the inside corner. It is pouring down rain, and I don't know if there will be an end to this one. With first-base open, the O's are playing match-ups and walking A-Rod to bring up the lefty Matsui. After some delays for the batter to towel himself and for Joe Girardi to complain that the game hasn't been delayed yet, Matsui lines out to Millar. I'm with Joe (and the broadcasters), the game was going to be stopped before the O's bat anyway; there's no reason not to stop it before the field took on too much water. I don't know if they will be able to get the bottom of the ninth in.

Back after the delay, Mo Rivera comes on and pitches a 1-2-3 ninth with K's of Markakis and Huff. It'll be extra innings.

Matt Albers relieves Sherrill, and will be in for the next few innings if need be. Giambi grounds out, but Betemit pulls a pitch past Millar for a single. The go-ahead run is on, and Albers falls behind Cano 3-0. Robbie grounds to Mora, but the relay throw from Roberts at second is not in time to turn the double play. Jose Molina flies to center for the third out.

Mo is still in there, and he gets Millar to ground out. Razor gets a high cut fastball and hits down the first-base line for a double (his slide into the bag was... let's say less than graceful). Alex Cintron comes in to run for him with Adam Jones coming up. Jones strikes out swinging on the cutter. It really is an amazing pitch. Jay Payton pinch hits for Bynum - this is where it's troublesome to not have a lefty on the bench. (That's not necessarily true against Mo because of the cutter, but every time I say something like this it seems that Payton comes through.) Jay walks on four pitches - I guess that's OK, as he didn't end the inning. Jim Palmer is complaining about Mo getting a called strike on Roberts on a pitch 4 inches outside. I agree generally, but it's not an unusual occurrence for a future Hall of Famer to get an extra inch or two. Brian pops out on the next pitch.

Damon draws a lead-off walk to start the 11th. Jeter lays down a sac bunt down to third, but Roberts is late covering first and Mora's throw is off-line setting up a first and third with none out. Abreu is getting intentionally walked to load the bases for the guy who will probably go down as the greatest player of all time. It's the top of the inning, not the bottom. Being down by one run is bad, but being down by three or four is much worse. What a fantastic defensive play by the O's infield. With the fielders in, A-Rod hits a shot towards second base. Roberts gets it and throws a strike to Quiroz at home to get the force, and then Guillermo fires to third to get a not-sliding Jeter (not a good night for the Captain). The unconventional double play leaves the O's one out away from getting out of it, but Matsui grounds one right through Albers' legs. The hit brings in Abreu to give NY the 9-8 lead. How comes out for the Yanks in the bottom of the inning (assuming Albers gets Giambi)? And he does, swinging at a curveball. Come-back time, guys.

Former Orioles and occasional head-hunter LaTroy Hawkins is coming in for the save. Mora takes a close pitch with two strikes (called a ball), gets a fastball in the middle of the plate, and hits it to right-center for a single. Come on Kakes, break that 0-5. Nick puts a charge into one to left, but it doesn't carry as well as similar balls did earlier in the game. Matsui is there to make the catch.

Woooooo! Aubrey Huff lines one into the left-center and Melvin Mora comes aaaaaaaall the way around to score. The throw to the plate is not in time, and allows Huff to get to third with just one out. He is the winning run. Luke gets walked intentionally to set up the double play. Then Millar will also get the free pass. What a good chance for Alex Cintron (getting his first PA of the game) to endear himself to the O's faithful. Didn't the Pelican come through in just such a situation earlier in the year? Why yes he did, and so does Cintron! He hits one more than deep enough - no one catches it and Huff comes in to score. The O's win. The O's WIN! 10-9 in eleven innings.

New York scores 4, the O's come back with 4 of their own. The Yankees score 4 more, the O's follow suit. The Yanks put 1 up in the top of the eleventh, the O's decide "hey, lets stop this whole match-and-no-more thing", scoring 2 to win it. 26-25, and in good position to end May with a .500 record. Not many people thought the team would be here at this point (even I only though so in my more optimistic and closed environment situations).

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