I’ve been covering Orioles baseball since 1980 and I’m not sure there’s ever been a week like this one. There may have been more exciting weeks, there may have been more important weeks but tell me when there’s been a week as wacky as the second week of May, 2012.
The fun got started Sunday when the Orioles completed a 3-game sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park (first since ’94). Not your ordinary 17-inning cliffhanger. Not when a guy who went 0 for 8, hit into a double play and struck out 5 times was the star of the game!
Yes, that was The Deputy Chris Davis tossing 2 shutout innings to get the win. The 1st baseman was magnificent on the mound making all-star sluggers look little leaguers who needed a hug from Mom. Davis wasn’t the only displaced pitcher, Boston outfielder Darnell McDonald gave up a 3-run homer to Adam Jones in the 17th and took the loss.
It was the first time since 1925 when Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and George Sisler pitched that both teams had a position player on the mound. The win gave the Orioles the best record in baseball, 6 hours and 7 minutes of beauty!
Tuesday night at Camden Yards had the Orioles on the wrong end of a record setting performance. Texas slugger Josh Hamilton became the 16th player in history to hit 4 home runs in a game. He did it against 3 Orioles pitchers and all 4 times Elvis Andrus was on base.
Four two-run homers and toss in a double for 18 total bases an American League record. Hamilton joins Rocky Colavito (1959 Memorial Stadium) as the only players to hit 4 in a game in Baltimore since the Orioles came to town in 1954. Those 11,263 fans at The Yard got their monies worth.
After a rainout Wednesday, Oriole Magic in the first inning of Thursday’s doubleheader. The Orioles did something that had never been done in American League history. They started the game with 3 consecutive home runs from Ryan Flaherty, JJ Hardy and then Nick Markakis touched ‘um all.
It was the first homer of Flaherty’s career and déjà vu for Hardy who was the middle man when the Brewers opened a game with 3 straight homers in 2007. The Orioles nearly made it 4 consecutive home runs but Adam Jones deep fly was caught on the warning track.
And the rag-arm that gave up all those long balls? (the Orioles hit 5). That would be Colby Lewis who was damn good after he got knocked silly in the first inning. Sure he gave up 5 dongs, but those were the only hits he gave up in his 7 innings.
It was a manic-depressive day for the Ranger as he set a career high striking out 12 Orioles. And that odd-ball combination takes us back nearly 100 years. Lewis becomes the first pitcher since 1918 to give up 5 home runs and strike out at least 10 batters in the same game.
The Orioles have been hard to watch for 14 years but this week I couldn’t keep my eyes off them.