Baseball / Sports

Britton blows first save as Orioles suffer 7-6 loss to Brewers in 10 innings

MILWAUKEE -- The Baltimore Orioles and the Milwaukee Brewers may not play against each other very often, but they sure do make it entertaining.

After the Orioles pulled off a dramatic, extra-inning victory Monday afternoon, the two were back at it Tuesday night, with the Brewers winning this time, 7-6, in the 10th.

Milwaukee was victorious in the strangest of ways. With two outs and no runners on base, Orioles manager Buck Showalter intentionally walked Mark Reynolds to get to the pitcher's spot.

It would have been Francisco Rodriguez (2-1), but instead Yovani Gallardo, the starter for Wednesday's game, came in to pinch-hit against T.J. McFarland (0-1).

Gallardo hit a double to left-center field, Reynolds scored from first base and the Brewers won on a walk-off by the player who will throw Wednesday's first pitch.

The Orioles (26-24) and Brewers (31-22) will face off Wednesday, with the winner capturing the season series--and taking the lead in the all-time interleague matchup between the two, which is currently tied at 4-4.

Since the Brewers switched to the National League in 1998, the former American League East division rivals have played just two series. The Orioles were 2-1 at Camden Yards in 2003, and the Brewers were 2-1 in Milwaukee in 2008.

Tuesday's game featured the first blown save by new Orioles closer Zach Britton. The left-hander had previously converted his first three opportunities, but began Tuesday's ninth with a single to Lyle Overbay.

With two outs and pinch runner Elian Herrera on third base, Jonathan Lucroy hit a dribbler to third that Manny Machado fielded, but he couldn't throw out Lucroy. Herrera scored to tie the game at 6.

The win would have come earlier for the Brewers, but the Orioles' Steve Pearce seemingly keeps finding ways to make a difference whenever he gets onto the field.

After starting the previous two games at first base because Chris Davis was on paternity leave, Pearce was relegated to a bench role again Wednesday.

No matter.

Pearce just had to wait until the seventh, when he delivered the club's first pinch-hit homer in three years as the Orioles took a 6-5 lead.

Trailing, 5-3, in the seventh, Pearce pinch-hit for the pitcher's spot and ripped a fastball by Matt Garza inside the left-field foul pole for a three-run homer. It gave the Orioles their first lead, and the team its first pinch-hit homer since Luke Scott did it against the Minnesota Twins on April 18, 2011.

Pearce, who was released and signed again by the Orioles in late April, has now batted .339 with three doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs in 56 at-bats since May 1.

The Orioles, who are now 11-7 in one-run games and 5-2 in extra innings, trailed from the first inning in what was an extremely rare outing from left-hander Wei-Yin Chen this season.

Before he made his first career appearance in Milwaukee, Chen had allowed just four homers in his nine starts, spanning 53 innings in 2014.

On Tuesday, he gave up three in five innings, the first time he has allowed multiple long balls in a game since Sept. 18, 2013 at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox.

The Brewers started the first with consecutive singles and a strikeout before Carlos Gomez crushed a hanging, 75-mph curveball to left for a 3-0 lead.

Reynolds hit a solo homer in the second--his 12th of the year--and Khris Davis went deep in the fourth, his second in two games versus the Orioles. He now has eight homers on the season, one more than the Orioles' Chris Davis.

Chen was pulled after five innings, tying his shortest outing of the season, having allowed five runs and seven hits--all on homers. He struck out six, tying a season high.

It was the second consecutive game that Chen didn't walk anyone but gave up at five earned runs. He has given up 10 earned runs in his past two starts after allowing 11 in his six previous outings.

The Orioles' offense wasn't humming along early, either.

Garza allowed just one hit, a single by Jonathan Schoop, through his first four innings. Nelson Cruz then led off the fifth with a home run to right-center field, his major league-leading 17thof the year.

The Orioles scored twice more in the sixth against Garza on an RBI double by Nick Markakis and a sacrifice fly from Adam Jones.

Garza left shortly after Pearce's home run--yielding six runs (three earned), five hits and two walks. He struck out a season-high nine batters.

(c)2014 The Baltimore Sun

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