Six-run seventh carries O's past Braves
Roberts, Mora combine for seven hits to end offensive slump
BALTIMORE -- Before the seventh inning Saturday night, Orioles manager Dave Trembley spoke to hitting coach Terry Crowley.
His message? Simple.
"I said we were going to score five [runs]," Trembley said. "Crowley thought I was crazy. I said, 'No we're going to score five. We're going to get [Brian] Bass the win.' If you don't believe it, it ain't going to happen."
Trembley's bold prediction came true, as the Orioles put up six runs in the bottom of the seventh to come from behind and defeat the Braves, 8-4.
The Baltimore's bats, which had put up three or fewer runs in 11 of its past 12 games, erupted for 14 hits, including 20 baserunners. Adam Jones got things started off with a two-run home run in the first inning. It was Jones' 12th home run of the season, and the first by an Oriole other than Luke Scott or Nolan Reimold in 137 innings.
It was the only hit on the night for Jones, who left the game in the ninth inning after fouling a pitch off his left shin in the second inning. X-rays were negative for the center fielder, who said after the game he felt fine.
While Jones' only hit propelled the Orioles to an early two-run lead, starter Rich Hill couldn't keep the cushion intact very long. The Braves scored four runs in the fourth inning, before Trembley chose to go to Bass to start the fifth.
Hill pitched just four innings, giving up five hits on those four earned runs. Hill also walked three and struck out one, but watched his ERA climb to 5.81.
Bass picked up his fourth win of the season, throwing three shutout innings and keeping the Orioles within striking distance.
It was in the seventh where Nick Markakis helped spark the Orioles' comeback -- and validate Trembley's prediction.
Down 0-2 in his at-bat, Markakis worked his way to a walk, which started a streak of seven consecutive runners that reached base. Three straight singles by Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora and Scott helped tie the game at 4.
After a pitching change for Atlanta, Reimold drilled another single through the hole at shortstop, sending Scott over to third. Catcher Matt Wieters, who had struck out twice with runners in scoring position in two previous at-bats, drew a walk on a wild pitch by Peter Moylan. The error sent Scott dashing home, giving the Orioles a 5-4 lead.
In all, the Orioles scored six runs on five hits and two walks, but it was Markakis' free pass which Trembley felt was the key to the rally.
"We got some big hits, but let's not underestimate Markakis' at-bat," Trembley said. "Falling behind 0-2 off of a lefty and working a walk, [it] set the table for the inning."
That outburst put the Orioles up, 8-4, and they would not look back, snapping their three-game losing streak, and setting up a rubber match with Atlanta on Sunday.
Brian Roberts, who now has a five-game hitting streak, went 4-for-5, including a double with the bases loaded in the seventh, which brought in Reimold and Wieters. And while Trembley was relaying his visions of success to Crowley, Roberts said the activity among the players was simply routine.
"We don't really say a whole lot during the game," Roberts said, "especially at the beginning of innings or whatever. Nick had a great at-bat to start the inning, down 0-2 and battled for a walk. We were all pumped for Aubrey. He needed a hit and he kind of chopped one in there. From there, we thought we might have a chance to put something together."
Those six runs in the seventh was the highest inning total since the Orioles scored eight runs in the second inning May 9 against the Yankees. Before Saturday's game, Baltimore had scored just 17 runs in the seventh inning all season.
It seemed the entire team broke out of some sort of slump Saturday. Mora, who had gone 24 straight games without driving in a run, went 3-for-5 with an RBI, increasing his batting average to .267. Reimold had a career-high three hits and has now reached safely in 23 of 27 games.
Brian Eller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.