The week-long nightmare ended for the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday as they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 2-1, thanks mainly to the arm of Brian Matusz.
They snapped a painful a painful six-game skid and are once again tied with the Rays for first place in the American League East.
We all as fans can finally take a chance to sit back and relax – well, at least until Sunday afternoon.
Brian Matusz earned his fifth win of the season as he gave up only one run on two hits on Saturday. He went 7 1/3 innings and looked much improved his last start; furthermore, Matusz stepped up huge, serving a stopper for a Baltimore team that had been struggling, as they had lost eight out their last ten games.
More importantly, the Orioles – at least on Saturday – looked like the team we all had seen for the first two months of the 2012 season.
The Orioles needed Matusz to step up, and he came through big time. The left-hander help to lift the Birds, and they just got enough offense to emerge victorious. He looked intense, focused and cerebral of the mound, pitching a masterful game against the Rays.
At this point, we know he has moved on from his awful 2012. However, the question is this: can he be consistent from start to start? Matusz is part of the future with the Orioles, and in order for them to compete this season, they will need him to become a pitcher that can relied upon.
Jim Johnson got the save – his 17th of the season, pitching a perfect ninth inning.
Matusz once again looked like the pitcher that dazzled at the end of 2010, mixing up his pitches and getting strikes. Tampa Bay’s only run of the game came in the fifth as Drew Sutton grounded into a double play and plated Sean Rodriguez.
Jeremy Hellickson, who started on the mound for the Rays, took the loss as he went 6 2/3 innings and gave up two runs – one earned.
Baltimore’s runs came via an Endy Chavez home run in the third inning and Mark Reynolds scored the deciding run in the seventh inning.
Both teams pitched excellent, but the Orioles did just enough to earn their 30th win of the season.