By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
6:00 AM EDT, May 5, 2013
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Orioles earned a good win in Anaheim on Saturday afternoon. I’ll admit that given the huge momentum swing that took place in the late innings at Angel Stadium, I thought it would surely end in an Orioles loss.
Having covered this team since last year, I should know better than that.
But when you struggle that much with runners in scoring position and you can’t take advantage of the start that Freddy Garcia gave them – especially on the road in front of a crowd that grew louder with the Angels’ comeback – I just thought the Angels had the Orioles number on Saturday.
The Orioles managed to win 5-4 in 10 innings despite going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position before Steve Pearce’s game-winning hit. The Orioles are 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position over their last two games.
Give Orioles manager Buck Showalter credit for having faith in Steve Pearce with Chris Davis out. Pearce came through with three hits, including the game winner. One of the best compliments Showalter can give one of his players is saying he’s “easy to trust” and Showalter often says that about Pearce even through some early-season struggles.
Saturday’s win was a truly a team effort. Tommy Hunter picked up Darren O’Day, who had a rare off day. Backup catcher Chris Snyder had a humongous throw out of Mark Trumbo in the ninth and Pearce played a solid first base. Nolan Reimold is continuing to show signs of getting things together at the plate.
The news on Chris Davis seems to be promising for the Orioles. The initial look at Saturday's MRI shows patellar tendinosis, which is basically inflammation of the patellar tendon in the knee. So everything is sound structurally.
Davis had a great quote after the game. Asked about seeing Pearce step up for him at first on Saturday, he made his contributions -- eating lots of sunflower seeds -- known in his typical deadpan fashion.
"It’s kind of the same thing we ran into last year," he said. "Guys got injured, other guys filled in and stepped up. I keep saying that’s the great thing about this team is nobody cares who gets the credit at the end of the day as long as we get the W.
"And we got the W," he added. "And I ate a lot of seeds."
Davis is itching to get back out there, but all parties will be smart with his injury to make sure he doesn't come back too soon. But for now it seems like he will miss just a couple days. Everyone seems to be eyeing Tuesday after the off day.
Freddy Garcia obviously earned another start after his performance Saturday. The Orioles are in wait-and-see mode with Miguel Gonzalez’s thumb blister, so we’ll have to see how the rotation shakes out following Monday’s off day. Regardless, Garcia said he wanted to come in and take the reins of that open rotation spot. He’s definitely done it. And there is something to be said about a guy who received no guarantees, went down to Triple-A and worked on pounding his sinker down in the zone and throwing strikes and proved he deserved a shot.
He’s only been here two days, but Garcia seems to be a good fit in the Orioles clubhouse. He adds a guy with 14 years of big league experience who is still willing to work. And he already seems to mesh well with other players, including ones who he played with in Norfolk earlier this year. And rest assured that Garcia received Norfolk manager Ron Johnson’s seal of approval before joining the Orioles.
Clinching a series win today would be huge, but the Orioles have already clinched a winning record on this 11-game West Coast trip. That has to be seen as a small victory. Showalter is considering given some starters a day off so they can get two solid days with the off day, so it will be interesting to see today’s lineup card.
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