Nice little storm we’ve had tonight. Hope everyone got home safely or made the wise decision to stay indoors.
Game time temperature was 100 degrees. We hadn’t hit triple digits at Camden Yards since a July 23, 2011 game against the Angels. First pitch was 102 degrees.
I knew it felt two degrees cooler tonight.
Jake Arrieta allowed five runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. He’s 2-5 with a 6.63 ERA in 10 home starts this season. And that includes seven scoreless innings on opening day.
Arrieta has allowed 15 earned runs in 14 2/3 career innings against the Indians.
“I executed quite a few good quality pitches in the first inning,” he said. “They hit some good pitches, some calls didn’t go our way, some things happened in the field that ended my night early and pitch count just got up. Tonight, I really wasn’t able to keep my hands dry. Honestly, I think rosin takes away from the grip in general. Not having any dry spots on my uniform. Trying to use the rosin and find a combination to get a grip there was tough. Not an excuse there. The breaking ball was just tough to throw.
“I felt great physically. My body was fine. It was just trying to find that grip throughout the game. I know that (Derek) Lowe had some trouble with that, as well, and probably every other pitcher in the game tonight. It’s just one of those things you’ve got to deal with, especially up here and with this humidity. It was a tough game to pitch, but I’ve just got to find a way.”
The game included five lead changes and ended with Jim Johnson surrendering a run in the ninth before recording his 23rd save in 24 chances.
Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer to give the Orioles a 7-5 lead in the sixth inning. The Indians tied the game in the top of the seventh, but Ryan Flaherty delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh and Xavier Avery hit his first major league home run in the eighth for a crucial tack-on run.
“I was so proud of the guys tonight,” said manager Buck Showalter. “They just kept grinding. They’re not going to be denied. And of course, Matty had a big blow for us. And X, you always think about the things you’re lucky to be part of. This is the about the first unabashed smile we’ve gotten out of him out in the public eye. It’s an exciting moment for him. It was for us, too, for other reasons. And Ryan came through with a base hit. Some young, not overly experienced guys played some key roles.”
Flaherty was involved in another mixup in the outfield with Adam Jones, allowing a ball to drop cleanly for a hit that contributed to the Indians’ three-run fourth, but he didn’t let the mishap affect him at the plate. He later walked, stole his first base in the majors and came through with the big two-out RBI single in the seventh.
“That comes from teammates and being part of a team,” Showalter said. “It’s one of the greatest things. That’s why people love playing sports. You’re part of the team. And I saw guys pick him up, and nobody beat up on him. We’ve all done things. We know we’re better than that.
“Official scoring is so skewed. We all know that’s something that pitcher shouldn’t be charged with, but that happens.
“A lot of mental toughness showed itself in this game tonight. Guys didn’t give in, and I’m real proud of them. Never got into a woe is me, here we go again. They just kept grinding it and found a way.”
Showalter wasn’t going to use the oppressive heat as an excuse for the starters on both teams perhaps getting out of a rhythm.
“I’ve seen some beautiful nights here when guys worked slowly,” he said. “Most of it’s got to do with balls and strikes. I do know it puts a real challenge on gripping the breaking ball, trying to keep some grip there. I think we changed rosin bags two or three times. The rosin bag was wet. I think it’s more of a challenge with conditioning. It’s one of those times when you realize (the importance of) all those things you do in the offseason and between games. There are six guys in the weight room right now, and not necessarily lifting weights. They should call it a conditioning room.
“I see all the things guys have to do at this level to maintain a level of play and conditioning. It’s a challenge, and on nights like this, it pays off. And tomorrow.”
Flaherty was still upset about the play in right-center field.
“It sucks, and I feel bad about it,” he said. “You can’t give extra outs like that. That was a mental mistake. That’s happened twice now in two weeks. It’s not acceptable, and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The RBI must have made up for it, at least a little.
“It does to a degree,” he said. “I got our starter knocked out in the fourth inning because of that. Fortunately, we were able to rally around it and come back from it, but still, that’s not winning baseball.”
Wieters hit his 11th home run this season and his ninth from the left side of the plate. However, he’s hitting .198 from the left side and .409 from the right side, which leads the majors.
“I hit it pretty good,” he said. “I was just looking for something to get in the air. (Lowe) did a good job of keeping it on the ground the other two ABs. I was just trying to get something in the air to get the run in.
“It’s a nice way to win a game, because it just wasn’t ho-hum. To be able to battle for that and see that if you get behind early, you still have a chance to come back and win games. And that’s something we haven’t been doing.
“It was warm. That’s for sure. It was hot, and I’m sure everybody lost a few pounds. Everybody’s playing with the same temperature out there.”