Some Like it Hot!
As hot as it was reported to be yesterday, the HDL players were amazing. Complaints were minimal. Everyone seemed to be focused on the games and competitive level of play. This was evidenced by an opening game that was so tight that we had to call it a “TIE”. The Athletics and Cardinals went toe-to-toe for 3 hours and were still knotted at 2-2.
Under league time limit guidelines, teams tied in first game of a DH are allowed one additional inning to try to break the tie. But neither team’s pitchers were ready be be tagged the “loser.” PW Burnett was fresh and throwing strong the entire game. (13 K’s)
The A’s Starting Pitcher, Juan-Jose Castillo was equally fresh and likely throwing his best of the season. At Bat, Castillo lead off the top of the 2nd inning with a double and went to 3rd on a passed ball and scored on A’s 3rd baseman, Cory Morgan‘s, base hit to left-center field. This run tied the game after the Cardinals had scored in bottom of 1st on Kevin High’s single and 2 SB’s that moved him to 3rd base with one out. Michael Hudson, returning after a health scare the prior week when high temperatures caused dehydration, lifted a fly ball to right field that allowed Kevin High to score the early run. The score stayed 1-1 until bottom of 4th inning when Cesar Roman, making a rare HDL appearance, launched a rocket to the fence for a stand-up triple. After Oscar Zamudio K’d, surprise up-and-coming superstar, Tim Wallenstrom, coolly stepped to the plate and stroked a Castillo fastball to the outfield grass to drive in Roman and put the Cards ahead 2-1.
In top of 6th inning, A’s Wes Hill reached 2nd base on error then scored the A’s tying run on a base hit by Juan Castillo. The remainder of the game was dominated by pitching and defense. In the bottom of the 8th inning it looked like Cardinals would rally after Kevin High and PW Burnett were on base but A’s relief pitcher, Kevin Latham, made the right pitches to limit any damage. With temperatures rising as the early game ended, it was critical that the 2nd game between Orioles & Dodgers start as soon as possible.
A’s: Juan-Jose Castillo (2/2); One hit each – Jose Ortiz, Cory Morgan, Jeff Allen
Cardinals: Tim Wallenstrom (3/3) One Hit – K. High, C. Roman, Oscar Zamudio, Dave Neely
A’s: Juan-Jose Castillo – 6 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 5 K’s, 1 BB, 2 ER, K. Latham: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 K, 1 BB
Cardinals: PW Burnett – 8 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 13 K’s, 2 BB/1 HBP, 1 ER
Showdown at High Noon! Orioles vs Dodgers
The 2nd game between Orioles and Dodgers almost didn’t happen with several key Dodger players (Hindt, Adkison, Lomax) already announced as unavailable. Then, on Saturday night, it was learned that a couple of the Nilsen’s were involved in a traffic incident that left Brian with a messed up fist. But fortunately they were able to keep it together and fulfill their HDL game match-up, even though they were not 100%.
This game matched injured Dodger pitcher, Travis Hill (left ankle) against disabled list returnee, Bo McMinn (Heel bone). Bo was making his first official 2015 game appearance since having surgery in February. Bo’s goal was to try to pitch a couple of innings and let Jake Hatchett take over. But with the Orioles missing 3 starters (Moreta, Wolfe, N. Harris, McPherson), Larry Hunsucker had limited options to switch defensive positions. So when Bo kept pitching well as the game progressed, Bo stayed on the mound. That option became the determining factor in the outcome of the game. Meanwhile, the Dodgers were facing similar options with Travis Hill’s sore ankle causing him to hobble whenever he had to move quickly to catch any ground balls. But being the “gamer” that Travis is; he clenched his teeth and played through the pain.
What these two pitchers were able to do was very impressive. They kept their team in the game. With the score going back & forth and runs scored being tight, this game was bound to go down to the wire. As hot as the sun and air was, each team was thankful that averaged batters per inning was 4.3 for Dodgers and 4.6 for Orioles. For both team catchers, that was a blessing.
Another important fact was both pitchers were under control and not wild. Jerry Tatum had zero (0) passed balls while Greg Bacchus had one wild pitch that turned out to be the difference in the final score. When the Orioles scored 2 runs in bottom of the 5th inning, it looked like a 4-2 lead might be enough. The Orioles lead was provided by Jake Hatchett. Jake was having a perfect 3 for 3 day (3 doubles) and drove in all 3 of Orioles 4 runs. Jake also was solid at shortstop. As time was getting close after the 7th inning, the Dodgers had one last chance to tie the game or take the lead in top of the 8th inning. But Bo McMinn set down the Dodgers 1-2-3 and end the game. By the time the last out was made, all players were looking forward to moving to some shade or their air-conditioned ride home. We survived another typical summer day in Memphis.
Orioles: Jake Hatchet (3/3); Cesar Cabrera (2/2, 2 runs scored), Jerry Tatum (1/3)
Dodgers: One hit each – Belote, Medina, Waddell, K. Nilsen, Houghton, Reinhart
Dodgers: Travis Hill – 7 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 6 K’s, 3 BB, 3 ER
Orioles: Bo McMinn – 8 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 8 K’s, 3 BB, 2 ER