There’s no stopping the Orioles’ offense. After Max Scherzer appeared poised to improve to 8-0 last night, the Orioles came roaring back for four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against Jose Valverde to secure a dramatic 7-5 walk-off victory.
Nick Markakis led off the inning with a solo homer and was followed by back-to-back singles by Adam Jones and Chris Davis. Valverde battled back and got both Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy on pop-ups, but Chris Dickerson played hero for Baltimore by depositing a three-run homer into the right field seats to win it.
Through the first two months of the season, the Orioles lead the majors in both runs scored and home runs. If they could acquire an arm to bolster their rotation (maybe someone like the Cubs’ Matt Garza?), they’d really be in business.
Your Friday box scores:
Diamondbacks 2, Cubs 7
Red Sox 1, Yankees 4
Reds 6, Pirates 0
Rays 9, Indians 2
Brewers 8, Phillies 5
Mets 1, Marlins 5
Royals 2, Rangers 7
Nationals 3, Braves 2
Mariners 3, Twins 0
White Sox 0, Athletics 3
Dodgers 7, Rockies 5 (10 innings)
Astros 6, Angels 3
Blue Jays 3, Padres 4 (17 innings)
Giants/Cardinals – postponed
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.