The story of the first third of the MLB season was the Baltimore Orioles, and their run to the top of the AL East. Well…that story is slowly turning to dust. The Orioles have lost four in a row, ar 3-7 in their last ten, and their run differential is down to +11, worst in the AL East. Baltimore’s schedule gets tougher over the next week and a half, as they travel to Tampa Bay, Boston, and then host the Phillies. The Orioles need to flip a switch and keep their magic from the first two months rolling along to stay relevant in this race.
Game of the Night: Twins 3, A’s 2. This kind of wins by default, as there really weren’t a lot of exciting games last night. Jarrod Parker shut out the Twins for six innings, and Cole DeVries did the same over five innings for the Twins (albeit with five walks and one strikeout). The A’s used a pair of RBI singles from Collin Cowgill (in the 7th) and Coco Crisp (in the 8th) to take a 2-0 lead. Brian Fuentes came in for the ninth, allowed the first two runners to reach, got an out, and fell just short of getting a game-ending double play from Joe Mauer. Then, Josh Willingham homered to give the Twins a walkoff win, and give the A’s a heartbreaking loss.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Homer Bailey threw a complete game against the Pirates, giving up one run on four hits while walking one and striking out five. I mean, it’s just the Pirates offense, but still. Anibal Sanchez allowed one unearned run over seven against the Nationals, giving up three hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. Not much else going on in the way of good pitching.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Adam Jones of the Orioles went 3/3 with three runs, three RBI, two walks, and two homers. Not a bad way to celebrate a new contract. Yadier Molina of the Cardinals went 4/4 with three RBI and a homer. David Ortiz went 3/4 with two runs, two RBI, two doubles, and a homer.
Spotlight Series: The White Sox are looking for a sweep today, after a 7-2 win in Tampa Bay last night. Phil Humber got his first win since his perfect game, allowing two runs over seven innings, walking one and striking out five. James Shields got a little unlucky for the Rays, giving up six runs (five earned) on ten hits, walking just one with eight strikeouts. The lone offensive highlight for the Rays came in the fourth, when Hideki Matsui hit a two-run homer in his Rays debut to give them their only runs of the night. For the White Sox, Dayan Viciedo went 3/4 with three runs, two RBI, and a homer to lead their offensive charge.
Other Games: The Red Sox beat Justin Verlander and the Tigers 6-3, and are now a game above .500. The Cubs now have a winning streak after beating the Padres 5-3. The Royals crushed the Indians 8-2. The Reds and Bailey shut down the Pirates 8-1. The Blue Jays withstood an Orioles comeback and hung on to win 8-6. The Braves ended their losing streak with a 5-4 win over the Cardinals. The Mets beat the Phillies 6-3 as the Jeremy Hefner show took center stage. The Mariners beat up Scott Feldman and the Rangers 10-3, and that Roy Oswalt signing looks pretty good right now. The Marlins knocked off the Nationals 3-1. Matt Kemp is back for the Dodgers, but the Brewers spoiled his homecoming with a 2-1 win. The Angels are above .500 after defeating the Yankees 5-1. The Giants beat the Diamondbacks 3-1 as Melky Cabrera continues his miraculous season.
Today’s Games: The still-winless Ryan Dempster goes for the Cubs against the awful Padres. Johnny Cueto takes on AJ Burnett in Pittsburgh. Francisco Liriano is back in the Twins rotaiton, as they take on the A’s. Kyle Lohse takes on Tim Hudson, as the Braves look to take another series from the Cardinals. Jason Hammel vs Brandon Morrow is a great-looking matchup in Toronto. Josh Johnson starts for the Marlins against Chien-Ming Wang, taking over for Ross Detweiler in the Nationals rotation. Yovani Gallardo and Clayton Kershaw go at it in LA. Ian Kennedy and Tim Lincecum will duel in San Francisco.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.