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Nolan Arenado had an odd game. After going 52 consecutive games without committing an error, he punted two in the first two innings, the latter of which led directly to the Orioles first run of the game.
Arenado made up for his run-surrendering error in the very next inning (which I may or may not have predicted just a few moments before) by smashing his 26th home run of the season over the left-centerfield fence.
In the seventh, David Dahl — who was making his MLB debut — recorded the first hit of his career, taking a 3-2 Yovani Gallardo fastball away and hitting a hard grounder right back up the middle. It was a moment he and those closest to him will never forget. Just a few moments later, Dahl scored the first run of his career on another 3-2 groundball up the middle, this one off the bat of Mark Reynolds.
What might have been a close play with the incredible arm of Adam Jones was an easy go-ahead run because of Dahl’s elite speed. His first run scored was a big one.
Or at least it seemed like it at the time.
The Orioles tied the game in the bottom half of the seventh on a sacrifice groundout from Jones.
The game stayed tied until the bottom of the tenth when Baltimore walked off on one of the strangest — and quite frankly dumbest — plays in recent memory.
Jordan Lyles surrendered a single to Jones, who was the man of the night for the Orioles, followed by another single from Jonathan Schoop. But then Lyles got Manny Machado to hit a weak grounder right back to the mound which is typically a best case scenario for a pitcher in that situation.
Lyles could either have spun and thrown the ball to second, hoping he got an inning-ending double play — which is somewhat tricky — or simply make an easy throw home to get Jones who would have been out by ten feet. But Lyles dropped the ball on the exchange … but he still had plenty of time and picked up the ball and made a decent throw home … which catcher Nick Hundley whiffed on — making it the second time in three second the Rockies had just dropped the baseball. And just like that, the game was over.
This is a chip in the pile of “Rockies struggle in close games.” It was a tough pill to swallow considering the Orioles got two runs on very strange plays; an Arenado error and a double-drop. It’s hard to draw too many long-term conclusions from something like that, but another way to look at it would be that the Rockies continue to lose their composure in tight moments.
Ultimately, this game will mostly be remembered as Dahl’s debut and the odd final play.
Game 2 at the remarkably gorgeous Camden Yards will feature Chad Bettis against Chris Tillman. Tillman has gone seven innings without allowing a run in each of his last four starts. Bettis has thrown three consecutive quality starts. So, the Rockies may have a chance to redeem themselves immediately in a game that looks like it should be a low-scoring and close affair.
First pitch is at 5:05 MST.