-Jeff Fiorentino started today at DH and batted third. His day ended with a 1-for-3 performance at the plate. After striking out in his first two at bats, Fio came to the plate in the bottom of the fifth with the Desert Dogs down by a run and delivered a first pitch line drive double down the right field line off Rockies farm hand, Ching Lung Lo. The hit plated Nyjer Morgan and tied the game at three runs apiece. Eventually, the Dogs would score a total of six runs in the inning to take the lead for good.
-Fio's first two trips to the plate resulted in some ugly looking strikeouts. He fanned at strike three both times and saw a total of 8 pitches. He walked in his last plate appearance after working a 3-2 count and laying off a low slider. After he fanned the second time, a strange event took place. A gentleman came down to the photographers pit on the side of the Phoenix dugout and shouted for Fio. He spoke with him for at least thirty minutes. His next at bat, Fio came through. Things like this do happen in the AFL.
-Blake Davis was the other Oriole to start today. He went 1-4 at the plate, his lone hit being a bunt single in the bottom of the fifth inning, which helped keep the Dogs' big inning alive and well. He struck out twice.
-David Haehnel also saw action today, pitching the fourth inning. He gave up one run on one hit, a double by Matt Tuiasosopo which plated Devin Ivany, who walked earlier. Like Bob McCrory yesterday, Haehnel bounced a curveball for a wild pitch, which advanced Ivany into scoring position. To his credit, Haehnel pitched ahead in the count to every batter he faced and he commanded his pitches well.
-The big news of the day for Orioles fans, though, has to be the performance put on by Jake Arrieta. He entered the game in the fourth inning, walked the first batter he faced then settled in to shut down the next three hitters. Notably, he fanned Braves farmhand Jordan Schafer, who batted over .300 this season over two levels. When he started the fifth inning, Arrieta hit his stride. At one point, he threw 6 straight strikes. In the process, he fanned Devin Ivany (looking) and was ahead in the count to every hitter he faced. The last batter he saw was Matt Tuisosospo, who he battled hard and did not give in to. He quickly went up 0-2 on Tuisosopo but missed with two curveballs and took the count to 3-2. When he threw a fastball, Tuisosopo pushed it into right field for an easy fly out.
-Arrieta's outing was promising. He was consistently ahead of hitters and was around the plate. He battled when he had to and showed a real determination on the mound today.
-According to the media notes today, Bob McCrory leads the AFL with 3 saves. It is official. His ERA is 3.00 though, by virtue of giving up one run last night.
-Rafael Santana got into real rhubarb with the umpires today. He appealed Devin Ivany leaving second base early on a fly ball and was denied. He stood on the top of the dugout steps and yelled to Blake Davis to "keep trying, he is bound to get one call right today". That brought the home plate ump over to engage. Santana unloaded on him in a tirade that Earl Weaver would have been proud of. He didn't even get ejected. In my opinion, Santana had grounds to complain; the second base ump badly missed a call earlier when he ruled Blake Davis did not have his foot on the bag at the start of a double play. Review of the photo taken by a colleague of mine showed the blown call.
-Hayden Penn goes tomorrow in Peoria.
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