In what was a hard fought series, the Orioles came away with a series win against the Oakland Athletics. The Orioles visited the Coliseum in Oakland, a stadium in which the O’s historically play under par. This weekend, however, the Orioles were ready to play and were able to steal a series victory from the A.L.-West-leading Athletics.
Game one in Oakland went as you would expect a John Means start to go at this point. To no surprise, Means was dealing. Through seven frames, the only damage done to Means was a pair of solo home runs, which were alleviated by the Orioles’ offense and their run support. After this start, Means sits at a 1.70 ERA, the lowest in any first six starts by an Orioles pitcher since Jim Palmer in 1977.
The first of the two solo home runs against Means came off the bat of A’s catcher Sean Murphy in the second inning. To answer this 1-0 deficit, Cedric Mullins blasted his fourth home run of the year to right field, tying the game up at 1-1.
In the next at-bat, Austin Hays decided to join his outfield buddy, as he hit his third home run on the year, this one to left field. These back-to-back long balls by Mullins and Hays gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
Mullins would help extend the O’s lead the fifth with a groundout that scored Chance Sisco. This run put the Orioles up 3-1.
In the seventh, Mitch Moreland got ahold of only the second bad pitch by Means in this game, good for a solo home run. This cut the Orioles’ lead, but they maintained the advantage at 3-2.
Paul Fry and Travis Lakins Sr. combined for a clean inning of work. César Valdez recorded his sixth save on the year, even if it was the most stressful one so far. The Orioles took game one by a score of 3-2.
John Means earned the win and moves to 3-0 on the season. The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is also, without a doubt, John Means. Means was electric once again, simply dominating opposing hitters. Nine strikeouts in this game brings his season total to 38.
The Orioles came into game two of this series with some momentum, a two-game win streak and a possibility for the first series win in Oakland since August of 2015.
Matt Harvey got the start here and looked to continue is regained poise. He did just that, allowing just two runs off four hits over 5.2 innings. Luckily, Harvey also had some run support from his offense.
In the third inning, the Orioles exploded for six runs. Austin Hays knocked in two runs on a single, and a throwing error at third allowed speedy Cedric Mullins to advance home for a 3-0 lead.
Trey Mancini then added an RBI single of his own, and Ryan Mountcastle brought home the fifth run on a sacrifice fly. The sixth and final run of the inning came from a wild pitch by Jesús Luzardo.
Now in the sixth, DJ Stewart showed off his power, blasting a two-run home run to right field. Stewart’s second long ball of the year gave the Orioles a commanding 8-0 lead.
The A’s would finally get to Harvey in the sixth, finishing his outing after a run-scoring single that cut the O’s lead to 8-1. With runners on base credited to Harvey, Cole Sulser allowed another run on a single, this one making it a 8-2 game.
Sulser and Dillon Tate would allow a solo home run each, but the Orioles offense had done enough to secure a 8-4 victory. Matt Harvey earned his third straight win and moves to 3-1 on the year.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is, oddly, the entire offensive lineup. A very cohesive effort helped put up eight runs, while also having every player in the lineup record exactly one base hit. This was the first time that has happened in the Orioles’ long history.
Game three was, even as a loss, maybe the most exciting game to watch all season. It was a complete battle all around the diamond, and it really showed that the Orioles are able to hang with these playoff-caliber teams like the A’s.
Bruce Zimmermann was on the mound for the Orioles, as his early season woes continued. He allowed four runs, three of them earned, off seven hits. Some poor defense in this game didn’t help, as the Birds ended with three errors on the day. However, the Oriole offense was able to support this struggling starter.
Already down 2-0 in the second, Freddy Galvis got the Orioles on the board with a line drive single that scored Pedro Severino. This base knock cut the deficit to 2-1.
In the third, Austin Hays came to bat, and that’s a bad thing for opposing pitchers right now. Hays hit his fourth homer on the year, a solo shot that tied this game up at 2-2. Won’t the A’s ever stop pitching to him? I hope not!
After a Matt Olson home run in the third that gave the A’s the 4-2 lead, The Orioles were threatening to answer in the fifth. Trey Mancini continued to stay hot, singling home two runs that tied the game up at 4-4. So far, this game had been a dog fight!
The Orioles were able to get out in front in the seventh inning. Again, Mancini got wood on a good pitch and singled home the O’s fifth run. This gave the Birds a 5-4 lead.
In the top of the eighth, the fight continued. Tied 5-5 with Ryan Mountcastle at second after a double, DJ Stewart got a hold of one. He sent a ball out to deep center, easily good enough for a wall-banging double, or even possibly had enough juice to just get over the wall. However, a guy named Ramón Laureano had other plans.
The All-Star center fielder made an amazing leaping catch to rob Stewart and the Orioles of possibly two runs. This secured the tie and sent the game to the bottom of the eighth at 5-5.
Again, here in the bottom of the eighth, Laureano put the A’s on his back and put a dagger into the Orioles. His two-run bomb put the A’s up 7-5, a deficit the Orioles were unable to climb out of.
The Orioles had a chance with two runners on in the ninth, but couldn’t capitalize. This hard-fought game was a losing effort for the Orioles by a score of 7-5.
Travis Lakins Sr. earned the loss and moved to 1-2 on the season.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game goes to Trey Mancini. Mancini went 2-for-5 and brought home three runs. Finally breaking out of that slump, Mancini looks to be back to the “Boom Boom” we all know and love.
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