Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter spent several minutes during his pregame news conference Saturday afternoon talking about how his offense was seemingly close to breaking out and might, sometime soon, finally take advantage of the scoring opportunities it kept squandering.
That time came in the third inning of Saturday’s 8-4 bashing of the Colorado Rockies before an announced crowd of 31,089 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles sent 12 batters to the plate in the third, scoring seven runs on six hits, two walks, one error and one passed ball. They had tallied seven runs total in their past two games — and had scored seven or more in a game just twice this month before Saturday.
“I think when it starts flowing again, it will be fun to watch,” Showalter said Saturday afternoon. “And I’m looking forward to having a good seat.”
The third inning was the breakout Showalter was anticipating — though it didn’t last for the entire night. And it was aided by three balls that just eluded Rockies defenders.
But any big inning counts these days for Baltimore (66-56), which snapped a four-game losing streak and set up a series rubber match Sunday with the Rockies (58-66).
Trailing 2-1 entering the third, the Orioles pounced on Rockies’ rookie right-hander Chad Bettis, who was making his fourth big league start.
Chris Davis led off with a gapper to left-center that he hustled into a double. He then moved to third on a passed ball. Adam Jones followed with a bouncer that Nolan Arenado backhanded behind the third base bag, but he fumbled the ball out of his glove and couldn’t get Jones in time at first.
After Jones’s infield single, Nick Markakis hit a soft liner to left that a diving Corey Dickerson gloved, but couldn’t hold onto as he hit the ground. Davis scored on the play. Following a Matt Wieters groundout, Steve Pearce hit a bouncer to the left side that rolled under shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s glove for an error that allowed Jones to come home.
Brian Roberts and Manny Machado each added two-out, two-run doubles to chase Bettis (0-2), who gave up eight runs — only two earned — in 22 / 3 innings pitched.
Jones completed the scoring in the third with an RBI single, one of four Orioles to drive in runs in the inning. It was the most the Orioles have scored in one frame this season and most since plating seven in the second inning against the New York Yankees on July 31, 2012.
Despite the third-inning explosion, the Orioles still didn’t exorcise all of their clutch-hitting demons. In the second and fifth innings they stranded the bases loaded and overall left 12 men on base.
That made the night a little more anxious than it needed to be — specially with starter Bud Norris struggling with his command throughout his outing.
— Baltimore Sun