Saturday, July 12, 2014
Miguel Gonzalez, 2013 Topps Orioles Team Set #BAL-15
My friend Donnie, a transplanted Yankee enthusiast, also attended last night's game, so we spent the first half of it avoiding the heat and the crowd and watching from the comfort of the Free State Pub out on the concourse. From that vantage point, we saw Brian Roberts touch up Miguel Gonzalez for a solo home run in his first at-bat as a visitor to Camden Yards. An inning later, Kelly Johnson also parked a Gonzalez offering onto the flag court, putting the Bronx Bombers up 2-0. Meanwhile, the Birds were having their usual bout of trouble with opposing starter Hiroki Kuroda. They rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth with the benefit of just one hit - an Adam Jones single that reached up and bit the aging Derek Jeter at shortstop. The Orioles were able to capitalize on a rare bout of wildness from Kuroda, who plunked both Steve Pearce and J.J. Hardy, and tossed a pair of wild pitches in the two-run frame.
Gonzalez, on the other hand, settled down nicely. After the Yankees put a couple of runners in scoring position with one out in the top of the fourth, the righthander retired 14 out of the last 15 batters he faced, marred only by a pitch that got a piece of Kelly Johnson. Of course, we can't gauge intent in such matters. Miguel saved his best for last, mowing down the heart of the New York batting order on five pitches in a flawless eighth inning. Unfortunately he wasn't rewarded with a win, as Kuroda and reliever Dellin Betances kept the O's bats at bay through nine innings. Zach Britton handled the top of the ninth without incident, and T. J. McFarland accepted the baton in the 10th, dispatching the Yankees on three ground balls.
Finally Manny Machado got something going with a leadoff double against new reliever Adam Warren in the bottom of the 10th. After Ryan Flaherty failed to get him in or even over, Plan D catcher Nick Hundley drove a single up the middle. Manny raced home ahead of the throw, and dozens of black jerseys streamed onto the field. 3-2 win, and now the Orioles are guaranteed sole possession of first place in the A.L. East at the All-Star break. I'll take it.