The Baltimore Orioles rudely greeted Cole Hamels in Major League Baseball tonight. They scored three runs against him as they took a comfortable 5-1 win over our Atlanta Braves tonight.
It turned out that the Baltimore starter was going to be the main story for today’s game. During his start today, Keegan Akin wanted to prove that what had happened on his previous start against the Yankees was actually just bad luck. Akin proved himself beating nine Braves batters over five innings while giving up only three hits and one run. Simply put, the Braves really couldn’t prevail against Akin all night ̵
While the Braves were being mystified by Akin, Cole Hamels was busy getting to work at his first start to the season. We already knew Hamels would only throw around 50-60 spaces tonight so it was just a matter of whether Hamels could stop the Orioles from doing a lot of damage while he was out there. There was also hope that Hamels could get through this start without health problems or recurring agonizing injuries.
The good news is that Hamels was able to put in his innings and it looks like he’s good at turning things up and going a little further on his next start. The bad news is the Orioles were able to reach him for the 3.1 innings Hamels threw while he was out there. After Hamels got through the first two innings with little to no incident, it was the third inning when Baltimore found him out and began stringing a few runs against him. Austin Hays led the third inning with a double and after Hamels gave up his first (and only) run of the night, Hanser Alberto rolled one into left field to bring Baltimore to the top on the first run of the game.
Cole Hamels retired the next three batters, but those first two outs cost the Orioles two more runs – Jose Iglesias picked up an RBI on a groundout and Ryan Mountcastle followed him with a sacrificial fly. It was 3-0 in favor of the Orioles when the third inning ended, and the result was the same when Hamels left the game after taking the first out of the fourth inning. This outing was more or less what to expect from a pitcher making his first start in nearly a full calendar year. Hamels wasn’t spectacular, but he came out of the outing safe (in terms of health) and hopefully he can get back in game shape as the Braves get closer to October.
As the sixth inning went around, Baltimore picked Dillon Tate as the pen’s first helper, and then the Braves finally showed a little slice of life on the plate. Freddie Freeman kept his on-base streak going by finishing sixth on a single, then making it to second on an overtaken ball and third on a groundout. He finally made it all the way home when Dillon Tate resisted – and it was one of those rare occurrences where even the pitcher himself knew he’d probably done something illegal. This was the only run the Braves overtook in the sixth, and it was also the only run the Braves scored for the entire game. Yes, it was one of those nights – the second such night in Baltimore.
The Orioles responded to Atlanta’s lone run in the sixth by putting two more on the scoreboard to take the 5-1 in favor of Baltimore. Josh Tomlin came into play to exonerate Cole Hamels and was tasked with a long exoneration duty from the starter after the intentionally short excursion. Tomlin retired the first five batters he saw and then got a little hopped once the sixth inning started. Jose Iglesias continued to punish the Braves when he led that inning off with a single, which Pedro Severino eventually pursued with a single of his own. This culminated in Renato Nunez scoring a hit in left field for a double in two runs, which that night was clearly enough to place the Orioles out of reach of the Braves.
The game eventually ended 5-1 in favor of the Orioles and now the Braves will head to New York after dropping the series in Baltimore. Fortunately, the Braves are still over 500 on this road trip as they avoided the sweep and are on the verge of enjoying their last scheduled off-day of the season before entering the final phase of consecutive games at the end of the season.
To end things on a slightly positive note so this doesn’t turn out to be a total crap, Marcell stole a home run from Ozuna during the fourth inning of this game. I can honestly say that I didn’t expect this to happen at any point this season, but that’s why I’m just a blogger and I’m not paid to make decisions for the Atlanta Braves.