If not for Rock 'n Blast, most of the people in attendance would have gone home early, as the Orioles jumped on Derek Lowe's unsinking sinkers to the tune of 9 runs in 3 innings on 7 hits, all of them for extra-bases. That has to at least be close to tying or setting a record, right?
It was essentially a late batting practice for Baltimore, as Lowe struggled to throw strikes, falling behind in the count (his strike percentage was 48%), and with his sinker not sinking, most of the time the Orioles were seeing flat high-80s fastballs, and even though the Orioles have been struggling offensively, they're major-league hitters, and almost to a man major-league hitters can cream a high-80s flat fastball.
Lowe somehow muddled through two innings, having given up a run, but by the time the third inning came around, the Orioles seemed to have caught on to the fact that Lowe's sinker was flat. Here's what happened:
- J. Thome doubled to left - A. Jones grounded out to second, J. Thome to third - M. Wieters reached on fielder's choice, J. Thome scored - W. Betemit doubled to deep left center, M. Wieters to third - C. Davis intentionally walked - M. Reynolds doubled to deep center, M. Wieters and W. Betemit scored, C. Davis to third - R. Flaherty homered to deep right center, C. Davis and M. Reynolds scored - N. Markakis fouled out to left - J.J. Hardy grounded out to third
The Wieters grounder should have been an out, but Asdrubal Cabrera tried to nab Thome at home, but he had no chance with the 41-year-old DH. It wasn't an error, and even if it had been only one of Lowe's runs would have been unearned, but it did add a bit more pressure to Lowe in the inning. Flaherty came into the game hitting .196/.224/.255.
In that third, Johnny Damon made one of the best catches you'll see all year, diving into the left field stands on the run to catch a foul ball. Nothing broke his fall into the stands, but he held onto the ball. It was a higher degree of difficulty than the DeWayne Wise "catch" in Yankee Stadium, and of course Damon actually caught it.
That was the highlight of the game. Cody Allen made his major-league debut, which I suppose was noteworthy, but besides that the game was six innings of mop-up. The two Tribe runs came on solo homers by Asdrubal Cabrera and Jack Hannahan.