The Baltimore Orioles sit at 8-8 overall after collecting three wins and just one loss from their AL East rivals this week. Baltimore beat the Tampa Rays twice to start the week, before splitting two games with the Boston Red Sox.

April 14-16: Orioles Win Series with Rays
Baltimore was outstanding against the Rays in Game One of the series, earning a 7-1 win on April 14. Starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen was strong on the mound, giving up just five hits and one earned run in six innings. Baltimore was also hot at the plate as five different Orioles players recorded multiple hits, including shortstop J.J. Hardy and catcher Matt Wieters, who each had three hits.

Game Two of the series was postponed due to rain; a make-up date has not been announced. But the Orioles went on to win Game Three of the series, 3-0, on April 16, marking the first shutout of the season for Baltimore. The Orioles didn’t do much on offense, but they didn’t need to as starter Miguel Gonzalez was nearly perfect, giving up just three hits and no runs. Closer Tommy Hunter took the mound in the ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season.

April 18-19: Baltimore Splits First Two Games with Red Sox
The Orioles stretched their win streak to three games after beating arch rival Boston Red Sox, 8-4, in Game One of their four game series in Boston on April 18. Baltimore offered a solid offensive performance, recording 15 hits as a team with eight RBI’s. Third baseman Jonathan Schoop led the Orioles with four hits and two RBI’s. Second baseman Steve Lombardi, right fielder Nick Markakis, centerfielder Adam Jones and Hardy each had two hits. Starting pitcher Chris Tillman earned the win, allowing seven hits and three runs in five innings; Darren O’ Day earned the save after closing out the ninth inning.

Baltimore wasn’t able to make it four straight, however, as Boston won Game Two of the series, 4-2, on April 19. Pitcher Bud Norris had a fairly solid game, surrendering just three hits and two runs heading into the seventh inning until a triple by Red Sox third baseman Brock Holtz helped push Boston’s lead to 4-2. Baltimore’s offense struggled, recording just five hits total in the game.

O’s Player of the Week:
Consistent pitching has been the Orioles’ greatest weakness dating back to last season. But it wasn’t the problem on April 16, when the Orioles earned their first shutout of the season. Gonzalez was the architect behind the shutout, giving up just three hits in five innings. Gonzalez also struck out six batters in what turned out to be Baltimore’s most impressive win of the season.

Next-up: After completing the last two games of the Boston series on April 20-21, Baltimore will travel to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game series on April 22-24. The Orioles will then return home to face the Kansas City Royals in a three-game series on April 25-27.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor