Gregg wilts in the ninth, Orioles lose

Ervin Santana pitched masterfully tonight and the Orioles struggled to get anything out of him. Through seven innings the O’s bats were silenced and the only baserunners came from Luke Scott reaching on an error in the second and a Blake Davis double that mercifully broke up the no-hitter in the sixth inning.

Alfredo Simon was equally as good. The Angels got some hits but to no avail. Simon scattered five singles through the first six innings of his very nice 6.2 innings of work but back-to-back doubles would undo his night and he was lifted for Jason Berken after giving up the first run of the night. Berken would allow his inherited runner to score and Michael Gonzalez came up one batter later to end the threat. By that point the Angels had a 2-0 lead that seemed rather insurmountable.

Neither team was striking the ball well tonight (until the Angel seventh). Base hits were bloops and ground balls and even Blake’s no-no-ending double was a lazy fly ball that just carried to a place where ther was no man, only grass.Perhaps the near-record setting heat had something to do with it. The game-time temp read 104 degrees, the second hottest game in the last 15 years at Camden Yards. God only knows what the on-field temp was and the humidity meant that everyone in attendance, players fans and press alike, were basting in their own juices.

Santana must have felt it too, because by the eighth inning he was gassed and the Orioles would finally get to him. Scott led off with a shot to the deepest part of the park that would fall short for an out. REynolds worked a walk and Pie would have had a double if not for a great diving stop by Alberto Callaspo to hold him to a infield single. After a Blake Davis line out JJ Hardy was able to bust through with an RBI single putting the Orioles on the board and knocking Santana out of the game. The Angels turned to Hisanori Takahashi to get the final out of the inning. Takahashi was able to retire a stubborn Markakis who had a fantastic AB to no avail.

The Angels ninth started with Kevin Gregg getting the dribbliest of dribblers up the first base line that somehow deflected off Derrek Lee’s glove allowing the leadoff runner on. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk to Mathis and Izturis, respectively, Torii Hunter came up with runners on and one out. The Angels executed a perfect double steal on Hunter’s strike out and were an out away from getting out of a jam. After an intentional walk of Bobby Vernon Wells came to the plate and smacked a grand slam into the Orioles bullpen thus ending a fun game and sending Orioles fans to the exits in droves.

The Orioles went quietly in the ninth to end a miserable game. Birds lose 6-1.