Mike Mussina gave a short induction speech tonight. The Blue Jays forced Steve Johnson into a long first inning.
Mussina slipped on his green Orioles Hall of Fame jacket, thanked a few people, said he hoped the game would be played because he hated rain and was done. Johnson threw 24 pitches and served up a two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion.
Johnson gave up a one-out single to Mike McCoy, who was thrown out by Matt Wieters trying to steal second base. Jose Bautista walked and Encarnacion clubbed his 34th homer of the season.
Encarnacion saw two fastballs, a slider, three more fastballs and a 77 mph changeup that he launched into the left-field seats.
Johnson retired the side in order in the second, striking out Yunel Escobar and Moises Sierra.
The Orioles are 43-17 when they score first and 25-40 when their opponent takes the first lead.
Chris Davis was hit on the lower left leg by a Brandon Morrow pitch in the bottom of the second inning. Let’s see if it happens two more times tonight. I’m pretty sure the same thing happened to Guy Hecker in 1886.
By the way, I heard fans chanting “Moooose” when Mussina was introduced. It didn’t sound like he was being booed.
I cheered the game-time temperature of 77 degrees.
Update: We’re tied 2-2 after three innings.
The Orioles scored two unearned runs off Morrow in the third on Escobar’s misplay of a potential double-play bouncer from Adam Jones and Wieters’ sacrifice fly to center field.
Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk’s Xavier Avery led off the first inning with a home run off Durham’s Jeff Neimann. Zach Clark (UMBC) has allowed one hit in three scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.31.
Update II: Jones dumped a two-run single into left field in the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Jones is homerless in his last 102 at-bats, but he’s batting .291 and upped his RBI total to 65.
Nick Markakis led off with his second hit of the night, and J.J. Hardy followed with a double below the right-field foul pole that umpires reviewed. For whatever reason, first base ump C.B. Bucknor was signaling home run while Markakis stopped at third and Hardy stopped at second. They remained on the bases while umpires checked the video.
Wieters has three caught stealings tonight - the 14th time that an Orioles catcher has nabbed that many runners in the same game, and the first since Mickey Tettleton on Aug. 10, 1988 vs. Kansas City. The club record in one game is four by Rick Dempsey on May 12, 1977.
Johnson has retired 11 of the last 14 Blue Jays since Encarnacion’s homer.
Update III: Hardy has singled, doubled and hit a two-run homer, his 17th of the season. Wieters added a sacrifice fly in the sixth to increase the Orioles’ lead to 7-2.
Johnson allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, with two walks, seven strikeouts and one home run. He threw 98 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Johnson retired 14 of the last 17 batters he faced.
In two major league starts, Johnson has allowed four runs and nine hits in 12 innings, with four walks and 16 strikeouts. Most of his fastballs were below 90 mph tonight, but he had good movement and mixed up his pitches.
Tonight’s attendance: 25,082
Update IV: The Orioles increased their lead to 8-2 in the seventh on Manny Machado’s RBI single, his second hit following a 2-for-22 stretch.
Luis Ayala has tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Johnson.
A reminder that a win tonight will allow the Orioles to match last year’s total of 69.
It’s August 25.
Update V: Kevin Gregg strikes out the side in the ninth, and the Orioles win 8-2 to move within four games of the Yankees in the American League East and a half-game of the Rays for the first wild card. They’re tied with the Athletics.