Thursday, May 10, 2012
Reaction Game 1: Orioles 6, Rangers 5
By Richard Durrett
BALTIMORE -- It was a remarkable afternoon for Colby Lewis, who gave up homers to the first three batters he faced (on his first eight pitches), then retired the next 18 in a row and then gave up a solo homer to Adam Jones to start the seventh and a two-run shot to Wilson Betemit that same inning. The five homers allowed were the most of his career as were the 12 strikeouts (his previous high was 11 set last year). Rookie pitcher Wei-Yin Chen held the Rangers to two runs in 7 2/3 innings, helping the Orioles to their first win of the series in the 6-5 victory.
What it means: The Orioles can split the series if they can win the second game of the doubleheader.
Record book: Lewis is the first pitcher in big league history to allow five homers and strike out at least 10 batters in the same game. Since 1918, it's just the second time that a pitcher has thrown at least seven innings and all five of his hits allowed were homers (fifth overall in the bigs since that date to have all five hits allowed be homers). The only other Texas Rangers pitcher to allow five home runs hits as the only hits was Charlie Hough on June 24, 1989.
Trio of homers: Lewis allowed three straight homers to start the game as Ryan Flaherty (right field), J.J. Hardy (left field) and Nick Markakis (off the foul pole in right) made it 3-0 Baltimore. The Orioles are the first team to start a game with three homers since Milwaukee in 2007 (Weeks, Hardy, Braun). ... Baltimore is the first AL team to ever do it and fourth overall.
What a turnaround: Lewis bounced back in a big way. The right-hander had his slider working and set a career-high with 12 strikeouts, kept his pitch count under control and retired the next 18 batters he faced.
What a turnaround (the other way): Lewis couldn't hold his form in the seventh, giving up a solo homer to Jones and then, after a walk to Matt Wieters, he surrendered a two-run shot to Betemit. The five homers were a career high, one behind the club record of six set by R.A. Dickey in 2006. ... Lewis has given up 11 homers on the season, the second-most in the AL. ... He led the AL in homers allowed in 2011, giving up 35 (second-most in the big leagues). ... Of the 11 homers allowed by Lewis, eight have come against left-handed batters.
Hamilton encore: In his first game since making history with four homers in Tuesday's game, Josh Hamilton struck out in his first at-bat and ended up 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and a single.
Pinch-hit homer: David Murphy pinch-hit for Craig Gentry in the ninth with two men on base and one out. He hit a home run to right field off Orioles closer Jim Johnson to make it a 6-5 game.
Wasted opportunities: The Rangers loaded the bases with one out in the third but couldn't score. Elvis Andrus hit a ball back to the mound and starter Wei-Yin Chen came home to get the force out. The attempted double play throw hit Andrus in the back. So they stayed loaded for Hamilton, who hit a fly ball to left to end the inning. The deficit remained 3-0 at that point. ... In the eighth, the Rangers scored one and had two on with two outs for Michael Young, trying to put pressure on the Orioles. But Young struck out on a 3-2 pitch and Baltimore held its 6-2 lead.
Six straight Ks: Lewis had six straight strikeouts at one point early in his start, falling one short of the club record of seven set by Nolan Ryan (July 7, 1991) and Neftali Feliz (Aug. 7-13, 2009). He ended up striking out seven of eight batters in the first, second and third innings.
Good day for Torrealba at plate: The catcher came into Thursday batting just .196 with two RBIs. But he had a double in the third, an RBI single in the fourth and a double in the ninth. It was his first three-hit game since Game 3 of the ALCS in Detroit. It was his first regular season three-hit game since Aug. 8, 2011 vs. Seattle.
Communication breakdown: Elvis Andrus tried to catch a popup at the last second, bowling over Brandon Snyder who was camped under it near the mound in the seventh. Andrus was charged with the two-base error, but it didn't cost the Rangers a run.
Up next: The second game of this doubleheader features LHP Derek Holland (2-2, 4.43 ERA) against former Ranger RHP Tommy Hunter (2-1, 5.00 ERA).