Thursday, June 26, 2008

O's-Cubs, Unexpected Blowout

After a long day I came home excited to watch (or at least follow) the O's-Cubs series finale. To my surprise, I saw that they had played one of those Wrigley day games I've heard so much about. Even more to my surprise, the Birds cruised to an 11-4 victory. That definitely calls for a watching via MLB TV. [I'm going ot pretend that I don't know what happened - you know, to keep that excitement level.]

Coming off his disappointing outing in Milwaukee, Radhames Liz tries to get back on track against Jason Marquis, who has been disappointing Cubs fans from the minute he signed his contract.

Alex Cintron is batting in the two-spot today. He strikes out to follow a Roberts' groundout. Markakis pops out, and Marquis is being booed yet.

Liz starts out well also, striking out Eric Patterson swinging. Theroit singles to Payton in left. I guess you don't take a guy out of the line-up after a two-homer game. Liz gets Lee and Ramirez to end the inning.

Aubrey Huff pulls a one-out double into the right-field corner. He's left stranded though.

Jim Edmonds walks on a close 3-2 pitch to start the second. One out later Liz hits DeRosa. Fontenot fouls off a bunch of pitches before singling to right to load the bases. Marquis, who's actualyl a pretty good hitter for a pitcher, grounds to first - Millar throws home to get the force. The bases are still loaded though for E-Pat. Liz gets him to pop-out to third and leave the runners stranded.

Quiroz, getting another day-game start, draws a lead-off walk. Liz can't get the bunt down and strikes out. O's pitchers have been awful at the plate this year. Roberts doubles to right-center and the Birds have something going. Cintron grounds back to the mound - Q can't score. The Cubs intentionally walk Markakis. That's some respect in the second third inning, even with Millar up next. Kevin draws a walk to force in Quiroz, and the O's are up 1-0. Huff doubles into the corner in right again, scoring two. Payton singles to left to make it 5-0. Jones grounds out, but it was a big inning for the Birds.

Liz puts Derrek Lee on his behind with a high fastball, and comes back to get him swinging on a splitter/change-up. Aramis walks, but Edmonds pops out to leave at first.

Quiroz gets on again, this time with a single up the middle. Liz does worse than strike-out this time. He gets the bunt down on 0-2, but Q is forced at second. Now he has to run the bases. Roberts singles. Maybe it'll be another five-run inning. Markakis misses a homer by about 10 feet down the right-field line, and then doubles down the left-field line. Both runners score, and the O's have a 7-0 lead. Millar pops out to end the inning.

A DeRosa single is all the Cubs get in the fourth.

Huff has his third double of the day - this one to dead center-field off of Jon Lieber. With two outs Quiroz gets another single to bring him in. Liz actually has to swing the bat this time. He grounds to short, but Theriot can't handle it. Roberts strikes out, but the lead is now 8-0.

Liz is really looking good - "effectively wild" I guess you can call it. He K's Patterson, and then gets a double play after a Theriot single.

Lefty Scott Eyre in and gets Cintron to ground out. Markakis draws a walk and Millar singles to end Eyre's day. Wuertz comes in to face Huff, despite losing the lefty-lefty match-up. Huff only gets a single this time - the bases are loaded. Payton singles to bring in Nick. Jones, with a sac fly, brings in Millar. Quiroz with his third single of the day brings in Huff. Liz strikes out, but this relentless Orioles attack has staked him to an 11-0 lead.

Ronny Cedeno pinch-hits for Ramirez and draws a lead-off walk. He goes to second on a wild-pitch, and then Edmonds draws a walk. That'll be it for Liz, who pitched really well through five innings (5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K) but lost control in the sixth. Brian Burres comes in from the pen for the first time this year to face Henry Blanco (hitting for Soto). Blanco singles, and the shutout is gone. Burres retires DeRosa and Fontenot, but Daryl Ward brings in the Cubs second run with a single. A Patterson single to left makes it 11-3. Burres finally ends the inning by getting Theriot to ground out.

The O's go down 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Chad Bradford comes in to face Matt Murton, hitting for the pitcher. He gives up a Cedeno single, but keeps the Cubs off the board.

Bobby Howry relieves Wuertz and retires the O's in order.

Bradford stays in and gives up singles to Fontenot and Ward before a Patterson sac fly cuts the lead to 11-4. That's all they get though.

New pitcher Neal Cotts strikes out Jones and Quiroz, and gets Oscar Salazar to ground out. Chicago will need at least seven in the ninth.

And they'll have to get it against Jim Johnson. Not even close; groundout-groundout-K.

The O's are 40-37 and 3-3 on the road trip, with a series in Washington against the National up next. If you had told me earlier today that the final score would be 11-4 with Liz on the hill, I would have given big odds that the Cubs would have come out on top. Baseball is a crazy game sometimes.

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