Friday, June 20, 2008

O's-Brewers, Better Than The Cycle

Fresh of their sweep of the Astros, the Orioles travel to Wisconsin to face the Brewers. I'm excited to see these games, as I'm a bit of a fan of the Brew Crew. With the lack of a DH, Kevin Millar will start on the bench and Aubrey Huff will play first. I imagine we'll see Miller pinch-hit at some point, though.

Brian Roberts falls behind 1-2, but gets a pitch up in the zone and lines it to right for a single. Nick Markakis falls behind 1-2, but lines a low-and-away pitch to center for a single, advancing Roberts to third. Mora decides to cut to the chase and lines a 1-0 to left for an RBI single. Aubrey Huff falls behind 1-2 and Jeff Suppan finally gets an out, as Huff flies to center. If Soup keeps getting ahead, he should have a pretty good night. Ramon Hernandez grounds slowly towards the left side - Suppan grabs it, spins, and throws it away. Nick scores and there are runners on second and third. Luke Scott hits a sac fly to deep center to make it 3-0. Adam Jones battles Soup, fouling off several pitches and then lining a 3-2 pitch into left-field. Razor scores and the lead is now 4-0. Freddie Bynum grounds out to finally end the inning. Radhames Liz has a nice cushion to work with.

And Liz might need it. His front shoulder is flying open a bit and he walks Craig Counsel on four pitches. The lead is cut in half, as JJ Hardy homers to deep center-field. Ryan Braun gets sawed off, but beats out the slow roller to third. Braun then steals second as Ramon's throw is way off-line. Prince Fielder walks. There are still no outs, and this one has all the makings of a high-scoring affair. Corey Hart grounds the first pitch up the middle - Roberts steps on the bag but his throw to first is not in time. Hart leans towards second though, and Liz is able to pick him off. Russell Branyon takes the next pitch for a called strike-three, and the O's are out of the inning.

Liz comes up for his first major league at bat, and lines out to center - he put a pretty good swing on it. Roberts' line-drive to center won't be caught, and he cruises into second with a double. Nick strikes out, chasing a fastball way up and out of the zone. Mora walks on four pitches. Huff comes through, singling to left-center to score Roberts. 5-2, O's. Ramon singles to make it 6-2, with Mora coming home. Mark DiFelice is warming in the Milwaukee bullpen. I have absolutely no idea who that is. Scott walks on four pitches, and that will be it for Suppan. Ned Yost is going to the pen with the bases loaded and Adam Jones coming up. DiFelice K's Jones to get out of the jam.

Jason Kendall draws a one-out walk, and is (eventually) sacrificed to second by the pitcher. Counsel lines a single to right to bring him in. That's starts Lance Cormier warming in the Baltimore pen. Liz strikes Hardy out looking for the third out.

With two outs the top of the order is at it again, with singles by Roberts and Markakis putting runners on the corners. Mora flies out though.

Braun walks to start the third - that's just his 14th base on balls on the year. You know Liz is missing pretty bad if Braun isn't swinging at it. Deep and gone. Fielder send one way out to right-center, and it's now 6-5. That big swing will end Liz's day - 2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. He's trying to develop control at the major league level, and so there will be some growing pains. On the bright side, he can't get the loss despite pitching quite poorly. Corey Hart hits it hard to left against Cormier, but Nick tracks it down near the wall. A flyout and a groundout end the inning.

"I can do that too" says Aubry Huff to Prince Fielder. His 13th homer extends to lead to 7-5. Adam Jones singles with two outs, and then Bynum strikes out but gets on as the ball gets away from Kendall. Cormier tries to head to first on ball three (to the amusement of the O's dugout) and strikes out swinging on the next pitch.

The Brewers threaten with a hit and a walk, but Cormier keeps them off the board.

The the pinch-hitter batting for him in the previous inning, DiFelice is out and Carlos Villenueva is in. Brian Roberts lines out to a leaping Russell Branyon at third. 1-2-3 go the Brids.

Lance Cormier is still out there, and still pitching well. Branyon doubles, but is left stranded.

Huff is 3/4 of the way to the cycle, as he starts the sixth with a double - all he needs is the triple. Huff is also left stranded.

Dennis Sarfate comes in and walks a pair with a sac bunt by the pitcher in between. Sarfate then walks the bases loaded, and Jamie Walker will come in to face Fielder. Walker is able to get the double play ball, and the score is still 7-5.

The O's go down in order in the seventh. After the fast start, the scoring has really fallen off (not that the pitchers have been all that great).

Walker stays out there and retires the Brewers in order.

Forget the cycle - Aubrey Huff decided it's too hard to leg out a triple and just hits it over the fence instead (to left-center no less). That's his second of the game, and he is just two away from matching last year's total. Ramon scorches one, but it's right to Braun in left. That ends the inning, but the lead is back to three runs.

JJ's getting the night off, with Chad Bradford coming in to work the eighth. He doesn't have his usual control, and issues a lead-off walk to Kendall. A grounder back to the mound results in an out at second, but the relay to first is not in time. He gets out of it though, and it will likely be George Sherrill time in the ninth.

The Brewers bring a lefty in to pitch, and so Oscar Salazar pinch hits for Luke Scott. How are the O's ever going to see if Luke can be a full-time player if they never let him face a left-handed pitcher. It's not like this is a high-leverage situation - let him take his cuts. Salazar and then Jones are retired. Freddie Bynum gets to hit for himself though. How does that make any sense whatsoever? Bynum looks bad in striking out swinging.

A slow roller down the first-base line that just stays fair results in an infield single for Braun. Fielder then walks to bring up the potential tying run in the person of Corey Hart. Sherrill walks Hart also to load the bases. Bill Hall pinch-hits, and goes down swinging at a letter-high fastball. Groundball to second - Roberts steps on the bag and throws to first - double play. Sherrill pulls the Houdini, and the O's win 8-5.

Great job by the bullpen to pick Liz up, as the team moves to 38-34 on the season.

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