Defense shines, Norris struggles (updated)

Bud Norris gave up two runs in the bottom of the first inning today in San Francisco, putting the Orioles in an early hole.

It could have been worse if not for Adam Jones’ lunging backhanded catch in left-center field to rob Brandon Crawford following Marco Scutaro’s leadoff single.

Just another day at the office for the Orioles, who were on pace to commit only 47 errors before today. They have 34 in their first 116 games.

As I’ve noted many times, the major league record for fewest errors in a 162-game season is 65 by the 2003 Mariners. The Orioles are on pace to shatter the mark, not just break it.

The Orioles lead the majors with a .992 fielding percentage, which, if maintained through the entire season, would be the best in baseball history, topping the 2007 Rockies’ .989 mark.

According to STATS, the Orioles have registered 88 errorless games, nine more than the next-closest teams, the Yankees and Rays.

Norris is trying to take advantage of the defense behind him, but he labored in the first, throwing 29 pitches while falling behind 2-0.

Brandon Belt, who’s 5-for-9 in this series, and Hunter Pence delivered RBI doubles for the Giants.

Norris had allowed 16 runs in the first inning this season, his second-highest total. He’s surrendered 22 in the fourth.

Update: The Orioles have one hit through five innings, and it’s by their pitcher. They have one baserunner, and it’s their pitcher.

Pretty much sums up today’s game.

At least the RISP stat isn’t an eyesore. It doesn’t exist.

Norris settled down after the first, but he’s up to 98 pitches as the game moves to the top of the sixth inning.

The defense continues to excel, with outstanding plays today by Jones, left fielder Nate McLouth and shortstop J.J. Hardy.

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