The Orioles got back on track this weekend when they returned home to host the Toronto Blue Jays. The one-run loses from this past weeks road trip have been demoralizing to say the least, but the Orioles continued to find comfort at home, moving their record to 15-4 at Camden Yards.
The series started on Friday with some poor weather conditions but also a thrilling extra inning walk off. The game was delayed before first pitch and once again before extra innings started. These extended delays didn’t have a negative impact on Welington Castillo though.
The Orioles catcher was greatly missed earlier this month when he had to take a brief trip to the disabled list, but his return was the key to the O’s bounce back series. Down 3-1 in the sixth inning, Castillo got into a pitch from Aaron Sanchez and tied the game up with a two-run homer. He would go on to win the game in the 10th with another two-run jack off of Jason Grilli.
On Saturday the Orioles found themselves off to a much better start. Home runs by Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado helped give the Birds a 4-1 lead after five innings. The blue Jays answered with a Justin Smoak solo shot in the sixth and a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh by Jose Bautista.
However, this lead didn’t last long as Castillo stepped into the box in the bottom half of the seventh. After back to back singles from Trumbo and Davis, Castillo launched his third home run of the series to give the O’s a 7-5 lead.
Darren O’Day made quick work of the Blue Jays in the eight, retiring the side on nine pitches with one strike out. Brad Brach picked up his ninth save of the year with a dominate inning of his own.
The Orioles offense has been producing consistently throughout the past few weeks but ran into some trouble in Sunday’s game. The Birds managed seven hits but only one run while striking out 13 times. Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada pitched 7.2 innings for the 3-1 win and was responsible for 12 of those punch outs.
Three of the Orioles seven hits came from Adam Jones. The center fielder was also responsible for the teams only run when he hit a solo homer in the fourth. The home run was number 124 for Jones at Camden Yards, tying him with Rafael Palmeiro for the most career home runs hit in the 25-year-old ballpark.
In other news, Manny Machado was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning of Sundays game. A pitch from Joe Smith sailed inside and caught Machado on the hand. Machado was briefly examined and allowed to remain in the game. Buck Showalter says that precautionary x-rays will be taken but Machado appears to be fine.
The pitching wasn’t perfect in this series, but it did a better job of not getting the way of the hot offense. All three starters pitched at least six innings, giving up no more than three runs a piece. These were all good for quality starts but none of them picked up a win. The bullpen was more reliable giving up just two runs, both in Saturdays game.
The Orioles will continue their home stand tomorrow with a series against the surprisingly hot Minnesota Twins.