I just got home from watching the New York Yankees pound the Orioles' bullpen for a 9-4 victory at Camden Yards. Remember when Jamie Walker was a left-handed specialist that came in and quietly did his job, retiring lefties like he was getting paid to do it? It's unfortunate that he just seems to struggle in those situations all the time now. How much longer can manager Dave Trembley keep going to him?
Anyway, that's enough depressing news for the evening. There's good news in the minor leagues for Orioles fans. The Bowie Baysox clinched a playoff berth tonight with a 7-1 victory over the Binghamton Mets. The Akron Aeros lost, so Bowie's lead in the Eastern League Southern Division increased to four games. The Delmarva Shorebirds and Aberdeen IronBirds also won their games, but the Norfolk Tides and Frederick Keys lost.
Score: Toledo Mud Hens 6, Norfolk Tides 5
Recap: With the Tides trailing by two runs in the final inning, right fielder Luis Terrero and shortstop Luis Hernandez walked to put runners on first and second base with no outs. Designated hitter Tike Redman hit an RBI single to pull the Tides within one run. Eider Torres moved the runners up to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, but the rally ended there. Jeff Fiorentino and Freddie Bynum both struck out to end the game, giving Toledo the 6-5 victory.
Tides outfielder Chris Roberson left the game with an injury to his foot in the bottom of the second inning. Terrero replaced Roberson in right field and finished 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored. Garrett Olson (1-2) suffered the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) and nine hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked three.
Score: Bowie Baysox 7, Binghamton Mets 1
Recap: For the first time this century – yes, it's been since 1997 – the Baysox are heading to the postseason. With a 7-1 victory in Binghamton tonight, Bowie can begin preparations for the playoffs. Starting pitcher Jason Berken (12-3) pitched seven scoreless innings for the Baysox, allowing only three hits and striking out eight batters. Berken has now won eight consecutive decisions. It's going to be tough for other teams to beat the Baysox in September with so many quality starting pitchers on their roster.
The Baysox scored six runs in the top of the second inning to gain control of the game early. Third baseman Jeff Nettles hit his 23rd home run of the season in the eighth inning. He was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Shortstop Blake Davis remained hot with another two hits tonight. First baseman Ryan Finan and right fielder Sebastien Boucher also had two hits.
Score: Salem Avalanche 10, Frederick Keys 5
Recap: It wasn't a good night on the road for the Keys. Starting pitcher Pedro Beato (4-9) allowed six runs and seven hits in six innings pitched during the 10-5 loss to Salem. All six runs were scored in the first two innings before Beato settled in. After the Keys cut Salem's lead to 6-5, relief pitcher Ryan Ouellette surrendered four runs and four hits in 2/3 of an inning to put the game out of reach again.
Center fielder Chris Amador and left fielder Paul Winterling both had two hits for the Keys. The best news of the night for Frederick was that Brandon Snyder was back in the starting lineup as the designated hitter. He was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
Score: Delmarva Shorebirds 6, Hagerstown Suns 1
Recap: Starting pitcher Nathan Nery (5-3) pitched seven shutout innings to earn the victory, 6-1, over the Suns at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown. Nery allowed only two singles, both in the third inning, and struck out six hitters. He retired 15 of the final 16 hitters that he faced.
Shorebirds first baseman Anthony Martinez was 2-for-5 with a two-run single and a double. Center fielder Matt Angle, left fielder Wally Crancer and catcher Brendan Monaghan all had two hits.
One quick note: I didn't receive official word, but it looks like former IronBirds infielder Jedidiah Stephen has been promoted to Delmarva. He started tonight at third base for the Shorebirds and was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in the game.
Score: Aberdeen IronBirds 8, Tri-City ValleyCats 2
Recap: Aberdeen cruised to an 8-2 victory over Tri-City at Ripken Stadium. Shortstop Tom Edwards, center fielder Calvin Lester, catcher Caleb Joseph and first baseman Paul Chmiel each contributed two hits. Third baseman Tyler Kolodny and right fielder Jacob Julius each scored two runs.
IronBirds starting pitcher Pat Egan (4-5) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings pitched to earn the victory. Chris Ray allowed two hits in one inning of work, but he also struck out two ValleyCats hitters. Relief pitcher Greg Aquino had two strikeouts in one inning pitched.