Last night's 14-9 loss to the Athletics was one of the ugliest, most frustrating games that I've ever seen in person. Sitting through a four-hour, nine-inning game in stifling humidity left me in a pretty lousy mood to be sure. There's something about a game bookended by a four-run Oakland first and a six-run ninth that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Oh, and did I mention the three runs allowed by Zach Britton and Miguel Socolovich in the top of the sixth, when the two combined to walk the bases loaded despite facing the bottom of the batting order? Ugh.
But if there's a positive to be drawn from this lackluster evening, it's the tenacious performance of a Baltimore offense that has been missing in action for most of the summer. They clawed back from a 5-0 hole, with Adam Jones providing the big blow with a go-ahead three-run homer in the fifth inning. After Britton and Socolovich immediately surrendered that hard-earned lead, the O's hitters scraped together a three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth against relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook. They did it with a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and four two-out singles. In the process, they forced a blown save from Cook, an All-Star who entered the game with a .115 opponents' batting average. Even after the disheartening implosion by Jim Johnson and Luis Ayala in the A's ninth, the Birds' offense went down fighting. Mark Reynolds and Omar Quintanilla scraped out a pair of singles, and only an impressive leaping catch by right fielder Josh Reddick kept Nick Markakis from driving them both in with a likely double.
The Orioles lost, but they have 62 more chances to win in 2012. Last night's game could have jump-started the offense. All is not lost.