Second baseman Brian Roberts saw 24 pitches in his four at-bats tonight, and his seven-pitch battle with Twins starter Brian Duensing in the first inning seemed to set the tone for the Orioles’ hitters.
“That’s Brian,” interim manager Juan Samuel said. “Brian has been doing that for so long and he knows what needs to be done when you’re the leadoff guy, and he’s one of the best. He saw so many pitches, he gave our guys a chance to see what the pitcher had. That’s the job of a leadoff guy and he’s one of the best.”
Jeremy Guthrie won for the first time since May 25 and has been exceptional in the second half.
“We saw his poise on the mound, and his tempo was very good. He’s challenging hitters. That’s what we’ve seen the last couple outings,” Samuel said.
“At times we have seen Guthrie probably trying to be too fine and getting himself in trouble with his pitch count up and then ultimately having to come in and give the hitter something to hit because he was falling behind. We have not seen that with him. He’s going after the hitter strike one and being able to work in and out from there.”
A one-run lead almost vanished in the eighth when Michael Cuddyer drove a David Hernandez pitch to the center field fence with two on and two outs in the eighth.
“I didn’t follow that ball,” Samuel said. “I did not want to follow that ball well, but that’s the matchup we wanted there with Hernandez and he challenged Michael and (Cuddyer) put a good swing on it. I thought that ball was going to leave the ballpark.”
Luke Scott, whose two-run homer in the sixth gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead, doesn’t leave much skin on his teammates hands when he high-fives them in the dugout. Congratulate him at your own risk.
“I’m afraid he’s going to break somebody’s hand when he comes in there,” Samuel said. “We’ve got to be careful. Somebody may end up on the disabled list.”