Orioles Snap Five Losing Skid: Jones Shines and Matusz Returns…

The Orioles hit pay-dirt on Wednesday afternoon, breaking a five game losing streak and defeating the Seattle Mariners, 2-1. They ended their West Coast swing with a 1-5 record.

We all saw the return of Brian Matusz to the mound for the first time this season. Overall, he was extremely strong. Matusz went 5 2/3 innings and looked like the same pitcher who emerged as a force for Baltimore at the end of last season.

Matusz threw 84 pitches and left with the game tied at one in the sixth inning. Matusz seemed to look better as the game went on and it’s too bad that he didn’t get to go longer. Considering the precarious starting pitching the Orioles have received over the past week or so, seeing Matusz on the mound should bring a smile to everyone’s faces.

Matusz was helped by amazing defense — especially Jones’ catch in the fourth inning – plus mixing up his pitches. The bullpen for Baltimore kept everything else in control as Jim Johnson, and Koji Uehara kept the Mariners at bay. Kevin Gregg got the save, as he pitched a perfect ninth inning.

For Seattle, big Michael Pineda also shined on the mound as he went seven innings and gave up a run. Boy, if all goes well in Seattlein the near future, will they ever have a scary pitchings staff with Felix Hernandez and Pineda as a 1-2 combo.

The Orioles’ offense did not set the world on fire, but it did enough to win. They used two homers from J.J. Hardy (in the second inning) and absolute bomb by Adam Jones (in the eighth) to improve their record to 25-29.

I’m sure the Orioles will have a pleasant flight back to the steamy East Coast tonight. They will have their hands full with the out-of-this-world Jose Batista and the Toronto Blue Jays.

It is satisfying to see Baltimore back in the win column.

I watched part of the game in the gym this afternoon and caught Mark Markakis playing first base. Overall, he was all right; he made the necessary plays and did not embarrass himself. Considering that Markakis had not played the position since high school, he came through in a huge way for the Orioles. In addition, he had an unassisted out in the seventh inning as Jim Johnson did not cover the bag off a ground ball by Mike Wilson.

Markakis missed an errant throw by Mark Reynolds later in the game; however, he looked solid out there.