Four-run sixth lifts Guthrie, Orioles to 8-1 win over Indians

Four-run sixth lifts starter, who shuts down former team

May 14, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

With the Orioles squandering scoring opportunities in bunches through the first five innings, Friday's series opener against the Cleveland Indians had the look of a game in which Jeremy Guthrie would have very little breathing room.

That all changed in the sixth inning, when the Orioles finally found a few hits with runners in scoring position while Guthrie continued his dominance over his former team. The Orioles right-hander, who was put on waivers by the Indians in 2007, shook off a rocky first to pitch eight strong innings in the Orioles' 8-1 victory in front of an announced 25,902 at Camden Yards.

In the Orioles' third straight win, Guthrie allowed just one run on two hits and retired 16 straight batters at one point of the game, which started with him needing 25 pitches to get out of the first. Guthrie's night ended with him retiring Grady Sizemore for the final out of the eighth inning and getting greeted at the top step of the dugout by manager Dave Trembley, who received a partial standing ovation after letting the starter stay in to get the one more out.

Overall, Guthrie retired 22 of the final 24 batters he faced. It was the first time Guthrie had gone eight innings since July 19, and he improved to 2-4 with a 4.13 ERA.

The Orioles (12-24) were just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position over the first five innings before finishing with a flourish to break open a tight game with a four-run sixth inning.

They totaled 16 hits, and five different players had multi-hit games. Third baseman Miguel Tejada was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while Luke Scott continued his recent surge with three hits and two RBIs. Leadoff man Corey Patterson also went 3-for-4 and made a nice leaping catch at the wall in left field to rob Shin-Soo Choo in the third inning.

Overall, the top six hitters in the Orioles' order were a combined 14-for-26 with six RBIs.

The game's first pitch was delayed by one hour, seven minutes by a storm that arrived as the starting pitchers were warming up.

Guthrie finally threw his first pitch at 8:12 p.m., and he appeared to be on his way to an easy first inning. However, he issued a two-out walk to Choo and then hit Travis Hafner.

Jhonny Peralta dropped a RBI single into left that Orioles outfielder Patterson didn't get a good break on, though he would more than make up for it later.

The Orioles had a scoring chance to get the run right back in the bottom of the first as Patterson led off with a single and Justin Masterson hit Adam Jones with a pitch. But Nick Markakis bounced into a double play, and Tejada struck out. That set the tone for a stretch of missed opportunities and stranded base runners that finally ended in the sixth inning.

The Orioles had two men on again in the third inning, and Cesar Izturis grounded out. Patterson made sure the Orioles' deficit stayed at one by making a leaping catch at the wall on Choo's bid for a homer.

Patterson got a standing ovation as he got back to the dugout, and then he gave Orioles' fans even more to cheer about with a leadoff single in the third inning. He scored when Jones tripled down the right-field line, a result that was aided by Choo slipping and falling on the warning track.

Markakis followed with a ground ball to the right side that should have scored a run, but Jones curiously didn't break for home. That earned him a quick stare by Markakis on his way back to the Orioles' dugout and a stern lecture from third base coach Juan Samuel.

Jones, however, was taken off the hook when the suddenly red-hot Scott singled to right field to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. The Orioles had two more chances with men on first and second to add another run and were unable to get it done. Ty Wigginton struck out for the second straight at-bat, and Matt Wieters was retired on a soft liner to second to end the inning.

At that point, the Orioles were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

They had men on first and second with one out in the fourth as Patterson followed an Izturis walk with his third single of the night. Masterson struck out Jones for the second out and then retired Markakis on a fielder's choice to end the threat.

In the fifth, Wigginton hit a two-out single and Wieters worked a walk after falling behind Masterson, 3-0. Rhyne Hughes couldn't get drive in either as his groundout squandered another scoring opportunity.

But the drought finally ended in the sixth inning, which started with a four-pitch walk to Izturis. Masterson then walked Patterson before a groundout by Jones put runners on second and third with one out.

Indians manager Manny Acta opted to intentionally walk Markakis to load the bases and leave Masterson in to face Tejada. The Orioles third baseman bounced a single up the middle to bring in two runs and end Masterson's night.

Scott then greeted left-hander and Cumberland native Aaron Laffey with an RBI single up the middle, and Wigginton followed with a run-scoring single of his own, giving the Orioles a 6-1 lead.

The Orioles had just one hit in their first 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position before getting three straight run-scoring hits in such situations in the sixth.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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