First Win Finally Comes, 5-4

W – Brian Matusz (1-0)     L – Mike Ekstrom (0-1)     SV – Mike Gonzalez (1)

It wasn’t easy but the Orioles avoided the three game sweep and head into the home opener with the momentum of their first victory. Brian Matusz struggled with his command all night but I was very encouraged by the way he was able to limit the damage and keep us in the game until we were able to put some runs on the board. He walked five batters (a career high), but also struck out seven of them. His stuff was good and he wasn’t missing his spots by much. He limited the Rays to two hits over his five innings. Matt Albers pitched the 6th and 7th, allowing a run on a hit and a walk. Despite giving up a run he looked good again. Hes the least of our worries at this point. Will Ohman pitched in his third straight game, this time getting out the only batter he faced. Jim Johnson followed him and struggled a bit. He gave up a run on two hits but was able to get us to the 9th with the lead. Thats when things got interesting again for closer Mike Gonzalez. He got the first two batters out and it looked like we could rest easy. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case as he proceeded to load the bases on a hit and two walks. This time things broke our way as Ben Zobrist flew out to right field to end the game.

The offense got a lucky break in the 2nd inning when Miguel Tejada hit a line drive up the middle that hit Rays starting pitcher Jeff Niemann in his throwing shoulder. Unfortunately for him it knocked him out of the game and unfortunately for Tejada it deflected right towards the first baseman for an out. But it did get us into their bullpen early. Niemann was perfect through 1.1 innings so who knows what would have happened if he had stayed in there. With Andy Sonnanstine in Nolan Reimold hit a solo homerun in the top of the 3rd to give the O’s an early 1-0 lead. Trailing 2-1 entering the 6th the team was able to put four runs on the board that would eventually be enough for the win. Nick Markakis lined a single to left, Miguel Tejada was hit by a pitch, and Luke Scott walked to load the bases with no outs. After a pitching change Matt Wieters hit one of his two singles up the middle to tie the game. A wild pitch scored another run and moved up the runners before Garrett Atkins blooped a two RBI single to make it 5-2. Atkins also had his 3rd double in the game and hes starting to look more comfortable at the plate. I might’ve rushed judgement on him after the first game. Brian Roberts is also starting to look comfortable. He walked, stole a base, and had a single and a double to finally get on track. Julio Lugo went 0-4 with a strikeout in his Orioles debut in place of Cesar izturis.

Player of the game: Garrett Atkins (2-4, 2 RBI, double (3) (.333 AVG))

The Orioles finally get to come back to Baltimore this afternoon. We’ll welcome in the Toronto Blue Jays for a three game series. Brad Bergesen (0-0, -.–) gets the nod against Brandon Morrow (0-0, -.–) for the Jays.

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