In a tie game against a pitcher who had been befuddling them all game long, the Orioles used an unorthodox sequence from the bottom of their lineup to take a lead they would never relinquish in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Angels left-hander Jason Vargas stymied the Orioles through six innings, holding them to four hits at that point in the 1-1 ballgame.
But in the seventh, consecutive infield singles from Danny Valencia, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty with two outs set up right fielder Nick Markakis’ two-run single to right-center field.
Valencia singled to Angels shortstop Erick Aybar, who fielded the ball in shallow center field. Stumbling, Aybar couldn’t get the throw off before Valencia crossed first base. Next, Pearce dribbled a ball up the first base line. Angels first baseman Albert Pujols came in and fielded it, but Vargas couldn’t get over to the bag in time, and Pearce was safe.
Finally, Flaherty knocked a broken bat bouncer to Anges second baseman Howie Kendrick. Kendrick’s momentum was carrying him away from first base, and Flaherty beat the throw. Suddenly, the Orioles had loaded the bases.
"We were fortunate, we were fortunate,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Ryan did some good things again for us tonight, but we were fortunate. But guys are trying hard. Vargas, you know there's going to be a fine line there. You get a feel for it and it progresses. I don't want to say lucky, but we were fortunate. We hit them in the right place.”
As a whole, the trio of Valencia, Pearce and Flaherty went 4-for-9 with three runs scored. In Monday’s win over the Angels, the bottom three hitters in the Orioles’ lineup combined to go 1-for-9.
Flaherty had his third two-hit performance in 10 games since returning from Triple-A Norfolk on May 29.