Apparently, if you watched the ROOT Sports telecast, there was a lot going on at Camden Yards on Tuesday night. There was a child eating cotton candy who once watched a very long baseball game in Washington. There was a woman in the outfield bleachers mocking Pirates relievers as they stretched (apparently that’s her thing). Even A.J. Burnett was there with his family, taking in a game from the stands for what he said was “the first time ever.” (How is that even possible?)
Unfortunately, neither Burnett nor the woman warming up in the bleachers were available out of the bullpen for the Pirates as Tony Watson blew his fourth save of the season and the Pirates lost to the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 in 10 innings.
Watson, who entered the game in the ninth inning with a 5-3 lead, allowed a leadoff single to Chris Davis, which was immediately followed by a game tying, no-doubt, two-run nuclear bomb by Jonathan Schoop, who also drove in Baltimore’s third run of the game with a solo shot in the seventh inning.
The Orioles would eventually put the game away when Mark Trumbo drove in Adam Jones with a two-out single to center field off of reliever Wade LeBlanc.
To make matters worse, starting pitcher Ivan Nova, who has thrown six or more innings in all 12 of his starts this season (and is the first Pirates pitcher to do so since Rick Rueschel in 1985), left the game in the seventh with an inflamed left knee after he surrendered back-to-back solo home runs to Davis and Schoop. And Francisco Cervelli was knocked loopy by a foul tip in the prolonged ninth inning and was replaced by Elias Diaz.
The loss had to be a tough one for the Pirates to swallow because, despite the rough ending, they were pretty comfortably in control for the majority of the game.
Orioles right fielder Seth Smith hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning, but Nova immediately bounced back and retired 14 of the next 17 batters he faced. And even when the wheels came off in the seventh inning, Nova left the Pirates with a 4-3 lead and relievers Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero were able to shut the door in the seventh and eighth innings.
Offensively, a collection of streaking Pirates continued their hot-hitting ways. After Smith’s first-inning homer, the Pirates responded with three runs of their own in the top of the second inning.
Andrew McCutchen started the scoring with a bloop single to right field that scored David Freese. That was his 87th career interleague RBI, the most by a Pirates player, and his eighth RBI since moving to the sixth spot in the lineup 10 games ago. McCutchen was also possibly robbed of a home run in the sixth inning when Jones leapt at the wall to bring by a hard-hit ball that possibly would have eclipsed the center field fence.
John Jaso, who went 2-for-4 on Tuesday and is hitting .370 (17-for-46) in his last 14 games, followed Cutch’s single with an RBI double.
Jordy Mercer continued a hot streak that dates back to May. Mercer drove in McCutchen with a groundout in the second and tallied two more hits, including a fifth-inning double. The Pirates shortstop is hitting .423 (25-for-59) since that date in May 22nd.
Freese tallied what appeared to be an important an opposite-field homer to give the Pirates a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning and Josh Harrison gave his team a two-run cushion with an RBI triple in the top of the ninth inning after Adam Frazier earned a walk off of sidewinding Orioles reliever Darren O’Day.
Alas, it was all for naught. Jones, Davis, and Schoop combined for seven hits, three home runs, and four RBIs as the Orioles came from behind to trample the Pirates and leave them in a battered, writhing heap. And with Nova and Cervelli’s health uncertain, it seems as if things are poised to get worse before they get better.
But at least that youngster with the cotton candy got his sugar fix, right?