Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Orioles 7 Rangers 5 (10 Innings)

Another day, another series win, another George Sherrill near-heart attack for the Orioles.

The O's improved to 6-2 and assured themselves of a third straight series win with tonight's 7-5 victory over the Texas Rangers in a roller coaster ride of a game. It looked early on like the Rangers were going to play Home Run Derby with O's starter Alfredo Simon, as Texas got 3 solo homers in 2 innings by Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis. But Simon had to leave after an inning and 1/3 due to an apparent elbow injury and the O's bullpen slowed the Rangers down, led by sterling work from Dennis Sarfate, as well as contributions by Chris Ray, Jamie Walker and Jim Johnson. The O's offense chipped away at Rangers starter Brandon McCarthy with homers by Luke Scott and Aubrey Huff and an RBI single by Adam Jones. The bullpens then took over until the 10th when the O's exploded off of 400-year-old Rangers reliever Eddie Guardado. Jones hit a mammoth 2-run shot into the O's bullpen and Scott followed 3 batters later with a 2-run double that scored Nick Markakis and Ty Wigginton. That gave the O's a seemingly secure 7-3 lead into the bottom of the 10th.

Then, Mr. Excitement entered the picture. George Sherrill came in and did what George Sherrill does. What is that you ask? Well, he didn't get the nickname "Mr. Excitement" by going out and going 1-2-3 every time. Sherrill gave up 4 straight singles to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Omar Vizquel (he's still in the league?), Ian Kinsler and Young to turn it into a 7-4 game with the bases loaded and nobody out. After forcing an RBI groundout from Josh Hamilton to make it 7-5, Sherrill gave up two towering flyballs to Hank Blalock and Cruz, both of which went to the warning track. But they stayed in the yard and Mr. Excitement escaped once again. Manager Dave Trembley might not live much longer or may take up smoking as long as Sherrill is the closer. With Sherrill the name that always comes up is Don Stanhouse, the O's closer in the late 70s who earned the nickname "Full Pack" because he would make Earl Weaver so nervous by getting into jams that Earl would smoke a full pack of cigarettes while Stanhouse was on the mound. I'm not even the O's manager and Sherrill makes me want to smoke a full pack of cigs.

Two Random Notes:
- The Oriole catchers finally threw out someone trying to steal. Opponents were a perfect 11 for 11 stealing bases against Gregg Zaun and Chad Moeller but Zaun threw out 2 Rangers tonight to end that little streak.

- The O's brass bragged all off-season about the improved defense and it has been on display in Texas. First, there was Markakis' great catch from last night and then tonight, Jones and Brian Roberts executed a perfect relay play to nail Young at the plate and get a key out when the game was still tied 3-3.

So that's all for tonight. The O's can once again try to get a sweep tomorrow night. If nothing else, they can hopefully avoid giving up 11 runs, which they've done the last two times they've tried to get a sweep. Of course, that's an iffy proposition with Mark Hendrickson on the mound tomorrow against ex-Oriole Kris Benson. But for now, if you like an Orioles win, give me a Hoo-rah!

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