Thursday, August 14, 2008

O's-Indians, 8 In The 8th More Than Enough

Haven't done one of these in a while. Hopefully Daniel Cabrera can follow up Jeremy Guthrie's quality start from yesterday. He's facing a line-up that he has a chance to do OK against, and the O's should be able to put some runs on the board for him.

Brian Roberts starts things off by beating at an infield grounder for a lead-off single against former Brewer, lefty Zach Jackson (who came over in the Sabathia trade). Nick Markakis erases him with a grounder to first, but at least he's able to beat out the double play. Melvin Mora ropes one off the wall in left and cruises in to second with a double. Nick stops at third, but with Aubrey Huff coming up I feel confident he'll score this inning. And he does, as Huff gets the O's second infield single of the inning, off of Asdrubal Cabrera's glove. Here comes Mora, as Ramon singles up the middle. The O's have runners on the corners with one out for Kevin Millar. Millar runs the count full, but ends up popping out. Jay Payton grounds out to end the inning - it was a good one, but could have been better.

Grady Sizemore lines a single to right to start the Indians attack. Former Oriole David Dellucci lines out to center on the first pitch he sees. Ben Fransisco singles to left, and the Tribe has something going. Jhonny Peralta grounds to deep third, but Mora makes the long throw and gets him easily at first. Daniel may get out of the first with a lead. Nope; Shin-Soo Choo doubles of the wall in left just a little out of Montanez's reach to tie the game at 2-2. Cabrera strikes Kelly Shoppach out swinging at a slider out of the zone, but the damage has been done.

Brian Roberts' two-out single brings Markakis up for a second time. Pitch down and away - line drive over the shortstop for a single. Coming into this game, Nick was hitting .307/.404/.502 on the season and .417/.482/.708 in the month of August. Every day his price is going up. Mora works the count to 3-2, but his line-drive is caught by a leaping Peralta at short.

Oh, Daniel. Garko singles to right-center, and then moves to second on a single by Asdrubal Cabrera that went off Millar's glove at first one out later. Then Cabrera hits Sizemore in the leg to load the bases. A groundball from Dellucci gets him out of it as Roberts and Castro turn a nice double play.

Huff misses a home run by about 5 feet down the right-field line. A couple pitches later he crushes one, but that too is foul. Nice at bat by Huff, as he ends up drawing a walk. He's stranded though, as Jackson retires the next three Birds in order.

With one out, the second hit batter (Peralta this time) of the game extends Cabrera's league lead in the category to 17. He gets another double play ball, but Roberts has a little trouble getting it out of his glove and they only get one. Shoppach ends a second inning, this time grounding out to short.

Big Lou (Montanez) singles to left to start the fourth. Juan Castro tries to bunt him over, but Shoppach jumps out from behind the plate and fires to second to get the lead runner. Roberts takes strikes two and starts to trot to first, thinking it would be called ball four. Brian grounds sharply to first, but Ryan Garko makes a diving stop and tags the base for the out. Nick makes an out? I'm sorry, I'm not used to seeing such things recently. Kakes fell behind 1-2 and chased a breaking-ball down and away for strike three (just his fourth K of the month).

Garko chases a nice slider out of the zone for Cabrera's second strike-out. Then there's some nice defense, with Castro handling a grounder to his left and Big Lou making a diving catch in left. A 1-2-3 inning for Daniel is good to see.

With two outs, Razor rockets a pitch to right-center that bounces over the wall for a ground-rule double. Millar hits a pitch to almost the same exact spot, though the Indian's outfielders lost track of the ball and just stood there as it bounced. The O's take the 3-2 lead. That's all they'd get; now we'll see if Cabrera can hold it.

The prospects of that didn't look good as he walked Sizemore. Dellucci grounded to second, but the ball was hit too slowly to turn two. Fransisco then singled to center to put the tying run in scoring position, but Cabrera got Peralta to ground to Mora who started the inning ending double play.

Zach Jackson's day is over with Juan Rincon coming in from the pen. He sets the O's down in order.

Daniel is still in there, and he gives up a one-out single to Shoppach into short right-field. The runner goes to second as Ramon lets a pitch go right between his legs - all year long Hernandez has been bad behind the plate; does he not care enough to actually get in front of the ball, or is he just not good enough to? Garko draws a walk, and Asdrubal Cabrera hits a two-out double to tie the game at 3-3. Thankfully Garko "runs like a catcher" and had to be held at third. Dave Trembley has seen enough, as he will go to the bullpen. It'll be Jamie Walker in to face Grady Sizemore; I can't honestly say I'm confident in the outcome. Walker doesn't do his job, walking Sizemore to load the bases, and Rocky Cherry will be the one to try to get out of it. Still not confident. Cherry falls behind Gutierrez 2-0, but comes back to strike him out swinging on a 3-2 slider. That was a close one.

After a Markakis groundout, Mora reaches out a serves a pitch into left for a single. Huff singles to right, sending Mora to third, and the O's have a chance to re-take the lead. Ramon can't get the run in, as he grounds into a double play.

Former Indian Fernando Cabrera walks a batter, but a caught stealing makes it a 1-2-3 inning.

Kevin Millar singles to start the Orioles eighth. Payton grounds to deep third, but Anthony Gonzalez can't make a play on it and both runners are safe. Big Lou drives one to deep right, and Gutierrez can't get to it. The ball goes over his head and bounces into the stands for another ground-rule double - this one giving the O's a 4-3 lead. The Indians bring the infield in, and Castro singles right through it. That'll bring in two, and the lead is now 6-3. Brian Roberts grounds to second for the first out of the inning. Cleveland then intentionally walks Markakis, but Mora makes them pay with an RBI double of his own. The Indians then walk Huff intentionally to load the base for Ramon, hoping for another double play. Razor drew an unintentional walk to force in a run, making it 8-3 Orioles. Millar singles for the second time in the inning to bring in two more runs. Payton grounds out, but Big Lou gets his third hit of the game - singling up the middle to bring in Ramon with the O's 11th run. There is no reason for Payton to be starting instead of Montanez - yes he's a bit old for a prospect, and Jay may be better in center, but put him out there and lets see wha he can do. Castro pops out, and 8 runs later the inning is finally over. So much for it being a pitcher's duel.

Jim Johnson is coming in to hold the lead, for some reason. It's 11-3; throw some guy who hasn't pitched in a while out there. An error and a single put a couple runners on, but JJ got out of it without any damage.

Alex Cintron pinch-hits for Roberts and doubles to start the ninth. He gets no further than third, as Markakis, Mora, and Huff are retired in order.

Alberto Castillo and Guillermo Quiroz are the new Orioles battery. Franklin Gutierrez greets them with a solo home run to deep left. With two outs, a double and a single cut the lead to 11-5. Another double cuts it to 11-6. Maybe they're trying to get George Sherrill another save. Ol' Flat Brim is warming up in the pen, but a grounder to short ends the game.

The Orioles win and move to 58-62. Another impressive showing (well, in the 8th at least) by the offense makes up for a mediocre start by Daniel Cabrera and some bullpen issues. Every Orioles who got up to the plate got a hit, except Jay Payton (man am I going to be happy once he's gone), with Mora, Millar, and Montanez each getting three. They've already won more games than some people predicted they would win for the whole season.

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