Jake Arrieta walked Erick Aybar to put runners on first and second with one out in the eighth inning. The Orioles held a 4-0 lead.
Arrieta’s pitch count stood at 106, and left-hander Michael Gonzalez was ready in the bullpen.
Manager Buck Showalter stuck with Arrieta as switch-hitter Maicer Izturis stepped to the plate. I can think of a manager or two who would have removed Arrieta before the inning started, or immediately after pinch-hitter Reggie Willits’ leadoff single. The walk would have been a guaranteed trip to the showers.
Arrieta got a quick strike on Izturis and induced a ground ball to Brian Roberts that could have produced a double play, except Roberts bobbled the ball and barely got the force at second.
Showalter jogged to the mound and removed Arrieta, who left to a rousing ovation after tapping fists with catcher Matt Wieters.
Bobby Abreu greeted Gonzalez with a run-scoring single, and Jason Berken entered the game with the Orioles clinging to a 4-1 lead.
Gonzalez threw two fastballs clocked at 93 and 94 mph.
Instant update: Torii Hunter drilled a three-run homer off Berken to tie the game, magnifying Roberts’ failure to field Izturis’ ball cleanly.
Tonight’s attendance: 17,362.
Arrieta’s 7 2/3 innings and 108 pitches are career highs.