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Friday, April 14, 2006



More late inning heroics tonight, I'll jump right in...

Rodrigo got off to a rocky start tonight, allowing a 2-run homer to Garret Anderson and a solo shot Juan Rivera in the first inning making it 3-0 after the first inning. The next inning the Angels kept it going with an Adam Kennedy solo shot, making the score 4-0 after 2. Not an ideal start for RoPez, but he would settle down.

The O's started their comeback in the bottom of the second, when Jay Gibbons went opposite field off Ervin Santana. I think this shows the progresstion from Gibbons over the fast few years. Back then he was strictly a pull hitter, but he is doing a great job using the whole field.

Then, in the 4th, the O's kept pecking away, with a David Newhan home run onto the flag court. Melvin followed that up with a double that narrowly missed going out, but he couldn't get advanced by Miggy, Gibby, or Ramon. 4-2 Angels.

In the 5th, the O's kept the comeback train rolling. After a Millar double, Conine(who went hitless again) advanced him to 3rd. Then came Nick the Greek. Then came a 2-run homer to right-center, Nick's second of the year. 4-4 game.

All was quiet until the 8th inning, when RoPez was still on the hill. He struck out Vlad, Garret Anderson, and forced Juan Rivera into a ground out. Great recovery for Roddy, and here was his line:
8 IP, 4 ER, 6 hits, 1 walk, 6 K's. He did a great job keeping the O's in the game.
While I'm giving the starters lines, here's Santana:
7 IP, 4 ER, 6 hits, 0 BB, 2 K's. Pretty similar lines.

The late inning dramatics continued in the bottom of the 8th. B-Rob single and advanced to second on a passed ball. Then Melvin came up with 2 outs. After working the count and making Scot Shields throw several pitches Melvin poked a pitch between the first and second basemen into right field and when Vlad came upthrowing to the plate, B-Rob had too much speed and beat him out, making the score 5-4.

Things got interesting again. Because of Ray's overworking and the fact that Hawkins had already been up, LaTroy came in to pitch the 9th inning and try to get the save. After striking out the first 2 batters, LaTroy got Mathis(the angels backup catcher) into a 2-2 count and threw a pitch that was obviously a strike. Well, I guess it was obvious to everyone except the home plate ump, and the count was full. Next pitch, left field seats. The game was tied, and Hawkins blew the save. After Hawkins was pulled, Byrdak came in and got 1 out in 1 pitch. The bullpen, in all honesty, has been awful(with the exception of Ray and a few other people who have been mediocre). Weather that is because of youth, lack of talent, or just bad management, I don't know, and I'll leave you guys to judge that(it's far too early to be calling for a manager's head:-)).

The late inning heroics weren't over, because with 2 outs in the 9th inning, Ramon Hernandez made contact, flipped his bat, and touched 'em all. He is absolutely scorching the ball, and his batting average is still over .500. Another late inning, exciting win. Go O's!

Game notes:The attendance tonight was 25,415...Jeff Conine's batting average is below .050 right now, and he doesn't have any hits in 11 days...Tim Byrdak got the win today, and he only threw one pitch. This was his first ML win in 93 appearances...Ramon's walk-off home run was the first for the O's since Brian Roberts vs. the Yankees last year. That brings back good memories...I think that beating a 95-win team and ALCS team will boost the confidence of this fairly young(except Conine(-:).

Tomorrow is Colon vs. Bedard, and I like our chances again. Go O's!

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