O's future looks bright in victory
Rookies Bergesen, Reimold star against Mariners
BALTIMORE -- While the Orioles' organization was busy building its future with a crop of young talent in the First-Year Player Draft, it was the young talent already with the team stealing the show Tuesday.
Behind left fielder Nolan Reimold's 2-for-3 night, including his seventh home run of the season, Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen shut down the Mariners, tossing eight shutout innings to lead the Orioles to a 3-1 win.
"I think tonight was kind of appropriate," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said, "being Draft day, that a couple of guys drafted by the scouts did so well -- Bergesen and Reimold. Bergesen got a lot of ground-ball outs. That was the best he's been. His breaking pitch was really sharp. That's the best we've seen of him."
The Orioles jumped out to an early lead when Adam Jones grounded into a fielder's choice in the first inning, bringing in Brian Roberts from third. It was the first first-inning run for the Orioles since May 25.
Moments later, history was made at Camden Yards. With a runner on first and one out, third baseman Melvin Mora took a Jason Vargas offering to the left-field wall, where Endy Chavez and a fan both attempted to catch the ball.
The play was ruled a home run, but an appeal by Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and an umpire conference led to the first use of instant replay in Camden Yards history. The call was overturned with home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom ruling fan interference, keeping the Orioles' lead at 1-0.
"The first thing he said to me was, 'I'm calling your guy out,'" Trembley said. "Then I said, 'OK, why?' Then he told me, and I said a few other things."
Fortunately for the Orioles, the additional run support wasn't necessary for Bergesen.
The right-hander pitched eight innings, allowing just five hits and setting a career high with six strikeouts. Bergesen has now pitched at least seven innings in his last three starts, and has not issued a walk in three of his last four outings.
"I felt good tonight," Bergesen said. "I trust what [Matt] Wieters was throwing down tonight and I felt good with the two-seamer and the slider, and of course with the defense, I feel confident pitching to contact."
Before the game, Trembley was asked to explain Bergesen's recent success on the mound. He answered simply by saying that he's noticed the rookie pitcher tossing more groundouts, only to finish his answer by joking that it was the magic of fellow rookie Wieters behind the plate.
It was a joke at the time. But after Tuesday's performance, the idea became a little less far-fetched. Since Wieters debuted for the Orioles on May 28, Bergesen has had three starts, each with Wieters behind the plate. In those starts, Bergesen is 2-0, bringing his ERA down from 5.49 to 4.04 over those outings.
Bergesen was reluctant to attribute his recent success entirely to Wieters behind the plate, however, suggesting that it doesn't matter who is at the catcher spot.
"I mean with [Gregg] Zaun, too, these guys are both great catchers," Bergesen said. "So whoever's day it is, I'm comfortable with whomever."
Bergesen had to be sharp, at least through the first few innings, if only to keep up with Seattle starter Jason Vargas. After allowing Roberts to score in the first, Vargas settled down, keeping the deficit at one into the fifth inning.
The Orioles' bats wouldn't stay silent forever, however. After Reimold's solo shot in the fifth gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead, Luke Scott and Reimold hit back-to-back singles. Reimold's second hit of the game brought in Aubrey Huff, who singled earlier in the inning, increasing the cushion to 3-0.
It looked as if Trembley was going to leave Bergesen in to pitch a complete game, but after giving up a couple of hits to lead off the eighth inning, Trembley noticed some fatigue in the right-hander. The manager opted to go with George Sherrill, who despite giving up a run, earned his 12th save of the season.
"I thought the eighth was the one time he did elevate," Trembley said. "He elevated a pitch to Ichiro early, a changeup that he hit. Most of the time, the pitches were down, but in the eighth, he was up. And with two out of three left-handed hitters coming up, we've lost a few in a row, we've got a closer who hasn't pitched in a long time, you're not going to ask a young kid to go through the heart of the order. I just think it's the right call to give it to Sherrill."
Brian Eller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.