The Baltimore Orioles gave Cole Hamels a rude welcome back to Major League Baseball tonight. They scored three runs against him as they eventually ended up driving to a comfortable 5-1 win over our Atlanta Braves tonight.
It turned out that the starter for Baltimore ends up being the main story of tonight’s match. During his start tonight, Keegan Akin was looking to prove that what happened in his previous start against the Yankees was actually just an accident. Akin turned out to vote to hit nine Braves hits beyond five innings at work, giving up only three hits and one run. In short, the Braves really couldn’t get going against Akin all night ̵
While the Braves were mystified by Akin, Cole Hamels was busy getting to work during her first season start. We already knew going in that Hamels would only throw about 50-60 seats tonight, so it was only a question of whether Hamels could prevent the Orioles from doing lots of damage while he was out there. There was also hope that Hamels could get through this start without any health problems or nagging injuries reappearing.
The good news is that Hamels was able to get his innings in and it looks like he is good to go to ramp things up and go a little further during his next start. The bad news is that Orioles was able to get to him for the 3.1 innings that Hamels threw while he was out there. After Hamels got through the first two innings with little-to-no incident, the third inning was when Baltimore found out about him and started lacing up some runs against him. The Austin Hays led the third inning with a double, and after Hamels surrendered his first (and only) walk of the night, Hanser Alberto rolled one into the left field to put Baltimore in the lead with the first run of the game.
Cole Hamels pulled the next three butchers in succession, but the first two outs came at the expense of two more runs for the Orioles – Jose Iglesias picked up an RBI on a groundout and then Ryan Mountcastle followed it with a sacrificial fly. It was 3-0 in favor of the Orioles when the third inning ended and the score was the same when Hamels left the game after getting the first out of the fourth inning. This excursion was more or less what should have been expected of a pitcher who made his first start in almost an entire calendar year. Hamels was not spectacular, but he came out of the outing unscathed (in terms of health) and hopefully he will be able to continue to get back in play form as the Braves get closer to October.
When the sixth inning rolled around, Baltimore chose to go with Dillon Tate as their first reliever out of the pen, and that’s when the Braves finally showed a little bit of life at the plate. Freddie Freeman kept his on-base streak going by leading the sixth out with a single, and then he ended up making it second on a passed ball and then third base on a groundout. He eventually came all the way home when Dillon Tate pushed – and it was one of those rare events where even the pitcher himself knew he was probably doing something illegal. It was the only race that the Braves pushed over in the sixth, and it also ended up being the only race that the Braves would score in the entire game. Yes, it was one of those nights – the second such night in Baltimore.
The Orioles responded to Atlanta’s lone run in the sixth by putting two more on the scoreboard to make it 5-1 in favor of Baltimore. Josh Tomlin came in to finish the match. Cole Hamels was given a chance to change things around. Tomlin withdrew the first five strokes he saw, and then continued to be bopped a little as soon as the sixth inning began. Jose Iglesias continued to punish the Braves as he led the inning with a single, which Pedro Severino eventually followed up with a single. This culminated in Renato Nunez smashing one into the corner in the left field for a double run that was clear enough tonight to put the Orioles well out of Brave’s reach.
The game eventually ended 5-1 in favor of the Orioles, and now the Braves are heading to New York after dropping the series in Baltimore. Fortunately, the Braves are still over .500 on this road trip as they avoided the sweep, and they are enjoying their last scheduled off-day of the season before entering the final stretch of consecutive games to end the season.
To end things on a slightly positive note so that this does not end in a complete bummer, here is Marcell Ozuna robbing a home run during the fourth inning of this game. I can honestly say I did not expect to see it happen at any point this season, but that’s why I’m just a blogger and I do not get paid to make decisions for the Atlanta Braves.