Monday, April 11, 2016
Chris Davis, 2014 Topps Power Players #PP-209
Today brought another first: I watched a couple of innings from the dentist's chair.
By the time I got to the dentist's office, it was already the fifth inning and momentum had swung back and forth and back again. In their home opener, the Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the time O's starter Yovani Gallardo recorded his first out. But the Birds rallied with a five-spot off of big-bucks Boston pitcher David Price in the top of the third, via a two-run single by Chris Davis and a three-run homer by still-new Oriole Mark Trumbo. An inning later, the Sawx plated a pair to tie the score at five-all.
The O's helped keep me distracted while the hygienist scraped away at my teeth with her little metal pick (don't you just love that?). I'm grateful that the dentist's TVs were tuned to MASN, instead of their usual default setting of HGTV. They took another short-lived lead in the sixth inning while I was getting my pearly whites cleaned, thanks to back-to-back doubles by J. J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop. But by the time I was back in my car and headed for the beltway, it was a tie game again. I'll admit that I was worried.
Thankfully the O's were just saving the rest of the fireworks until I could get home and tune back in. I wasn't sure how they would handle flamethrowing closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning, but Caleb Joseph and Manny Machado both drew walks to give Davis another shot at playing the hero. With two outs, the slugging first baseman crushed a 97mph fastball 449 feet to center field. Just what Earl Weaver ordered. Zach Britton created some tension in the home half of the ninth, serving up a leadoff homer to Mookie Betts and allowing the next two batters to reach on a single and a walk. But with David Ortiz representing the go-ahead run, Zach bore down and slammed the door. Double play grounder, strikeout of Hanley Ramirez, 9-7 final. Last year, the Orioles never enjoyed more than a half-game lead in the American League East. As the sun set this evening, they were up 2.5 games on the second-place Yankees. I'll take it.