The Baltimore Orioles gave Cole Hamels a rude welcome back to Major League Baseball tonight. They scored three points against him as they eventually scored a comfortable 5-1 win over our Atlanta Braves tonight.
It turned out that the Baltimore starter would end up being the main story of tonight’s game. During his start tonight, Keegan Akin was trying to prove that what happened in his previous start against the Yankees was really just a stroke of bad luck. Akin proved up to hitting nine Braves hitters in five innings of work, giving up only three hits and one run. Simply put, the Braves couldn̵
While the Braves were being disoriented by Akin, Cole Hamels was busy getting to work during his first start to the season. We already knew Hamels would only be shooting around 50-60 shots tonight, so it was just a question of whether or not Hamels could stop the Orioles from doing a lot of damage while he was out there. There was also hope that Hamels could get over this beginning without any health problems or nagging injuries that recur.
The good news is that Hamels was able to get his inning and it looks like he’s okay to speed things up and go a little further during his next start. The bad news is that the Orioles managed to catch him for the 3.1 innings Hamels pitched while he was out there. After Hamels made it through the first two innings with little or no incident, the third inning was when Baltimore figured that out and started putting together some runs against him. Austin Hays opened the third inning with a brace and then, after Hamels gave up his first (and only) walk of the night, Hanser Alberto threw one into the left field to put Baltimore ahead in the first heat of the game.
Cole Hamels retired the next three hitters in order, but those first two outs came at the cost of two more runs for the Orioles: Jose Iglesias took an RBI on a groundout and then Ryan Mountcastle followed up with a sacrificial sprint. . It was 3-0 in favor of the Orioles once the third inning was over and the score was the same when Hamels left the game after getting the first of the fourth inning. This release was more or less what was to be expected from a pitcher starting for the first time in nearly a full calendar year. Hamels wasn’t spectacular, but he came out unscathed (in terms of health) and hopefully he can continue to get back into shape as the Braves approach in October.
Once the sixth inning was over, Baltimore chose to go with Dillon Tate as first responder out of the fence and that’s when the Braves finally showed some life to the plate. Freddie Freeman maintained his winning streak on base by going sixth with a single and then finished second on passed ball and then third on groundout. He finally managed to get home when Dillon Tate hesitated – and it was one of those rare instances where even the pitcher himself knew he had probably done something illegal. That was the only race the Braves passed in the sixth and in the end it was also the only race the Braves would score for the entire match. Yes, it was one of those nights, the second of these nights in Baltimore.
The Orioles responded to Atlanta’s only run in sixth place by putting two more on the scoreboard 5-1 in favor of Baltimore. Josh Tomlin stepped into the game to relieve Cole Hamels and was essentially put in charge of a lengthy rescue service after the deliberately short exit from the starter. Tomlin withdrew the top five hitters he saw and then proceeded to blow himself up a bit as soon as the sixth inning began. Jose Iglesias continued to punish the Braves as he led that inning with a single, which Pedro Severino eventually followed up with one of his own. This culminated with Renato Nunez smashing one in the left corner for a double of two runs that was clearly enough tonight to put the Orioles well out of reach for the Braves.
The game ultimately ended 5-1 in favor of the Orioles and now the Braves will go to New York after leaving the series in Baltimore. Luckily, the Braves are still above .500 on this journey since they avoided the sweep and are about to enjoy their final scheduled off-day before entering the final stretch of consecutive matches to wrap up the season.
To wrap things up on a slightly positive note so that this doesn’t end in total disappointment, here’s Marcell Ozuna who stole a home run during the fourth inning of this match. I can honestly say I didn’t expect to see that happen at any point this season, but that’s why I’m just a blogger and I don’t get paid to make decisions for the Atlanta Braves.