The Baltimore Orioles are now first in the American League East once again after defeating the Boston Red Sox on May 6 by the score of 9-6 in 17 innings. Designated hitter Chris Davis picked up the win for the Orioles while centerfielder Darnell McDonald had his first loss.
The Orioles were able to complete the sweep of the Boston Red Sox on May 6, but it didn't come easy by any means. The team started off great with J.J. Hardy hitting two home runs in his first two at-bats along with Robert Andino hitting a three run home run in the fourth inning to put the score at 5-0. After that happened I pretty much thought it was going to be over, as the Orioles had done something similar the previous day and won easily.
However, Tommy Hunter of the Orioles served up a meatball to Will Middlebrooks in the fifth inning with the bases loaded, tying the game up after Boston had gotten a run in the previous inning. Both teams traded runs in the eighth inning to make it 6-6, and that is when the marathon began, as neither team could put together a string of hits for a while. In the 16th inning Orioles manager Buck Showalter decided to put in a position player on the mound as his bullpen was depleted, and it actually turned out to be an advantage for the team as Chris Davis was a pitcher in college and could throw up to 90 mph. The Red Sox countered with Darnell McDonald, but obviously he couldn't pitch and it showed when Adam Jones hit a three run home run off of him in the 17th, giving the Orioles the victory.
Can the Orioles contend this year?
With the win, the Orioles are now 19-9 on the season and currently lead the Tampa Bay Rays by a half of a game in the American League East. It is not as if the team is doing great in one area and poor in another like the Washington Nationals, but rather the Orioles have both solid pitching and hitting, and that is why I think they can contend this year. Obviously it is only May, but I like what I see in a stellar bullpen led by Jim Johnson, and good starting rotation, and an offense that has six potential 20 plus home run hitters. Put all of those together led by an experienced manager in Buck Showalter and I think the Orioles could be looking at a 90 plus win season depending on how consistent the rotation is.
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. Follow him on Twitter @RyanKekoufski.