With only one win over their past seven games, the Baltimore Orioles were finally able to break through and get a win on the board against the Seattle Mariners on July 3 by the score of 5-4. Darren O'Day picked up his fifth win of the year in relief for the Orioles, while Jim Johnson converted for his 24th save.
Wei-Yin Chen was literally unhittable for the Orioles on July 3, going more than six innings in the game without giving up a hit or a walk. However, in the seventh inning he gave up a home run to Casper Wells to end it. Overall Chen had a great game, with over seven innings pitched and allowed only two runs on two hits to go along with a season-high nine strikeouts as well. The key for Chen was getting ahead early in the count, which he did to 20 out of the 24 batters he faced in the game. That allowed him to throw a lot of off speed pitches out of the strike zone, which an inexperienced hitting ballclub like the Mariners chased at all night. It was the sort of pitching night that the Orioles desperately needed, and hopefully the other starters in the rotation can follow up with better games of their own.
Unfortunately for Chen he received a no-decision in the game due to poor relief pitching by Pedro Strop, which happens with any team from time to time. The key is for the offense to step it up to replace the lost runs, and Robert Andino did just that with a home run in the ninth inning to give the Orioles the lead for good. Andino has picked up the role of utility man for Baltimore now that Brian Roberts is back in the lineup, but had been hitting less than .150 over the past week and was really struggling to find consistency at the plate. Similar to Chen, I think the game from Andino should help him to get out of his slump and be more productive for the Orioles, who needs everyone firing on all cylinders with the starting pitching the way that it is right now.
The Orioles will look to take the rubber match of their series against the Mariners on July 4 as Chris Tillman takes the mound against Hector Noesi. This will be Tillman's first start of the year for Baltimore, and he has pitched well in AAA with an ERA below three so the Orioles pretty much have to give him a shot in the rotation right now. Noesi has been wildly inconsistent for the Mariners this year with a 2-10 record, and I would expect for it to continue against the Orioles with the way they are hitting.
Ryan Kekoufski has been following the Baltimore Orioles since Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak, and still enjoys watching games at Camden Yards from time to time.