Series Recap: Orioles pick up crucial series win on Machado walk off

It was not pretty but the Orioles were able to pick up their first series win since the beginning of August on Wednesday. The O’s took two of three from the visiting Oakland Athletics to stay alive in a highly contested wildcard race.

The Orioles got off to a hot start in Monday’s series opener. Adam Jones led the way at the plate by going 4/4 with two solo home runs. Jones was not the only source of offense though. Wellington Castillo added a solo shot of his own and Jonathan Schoop plated three with his home run to help the Orioles beat the A’s 7-3.

Wade Miley took the mound and gave the O’s a much needed quality start. Through six innings of work, Miley surrendered just two runs on five hits. Manager Buck Showalter allowed Miley to come out for the seventh but after giving up a lead off walk he was replaced. The bullpen was able to close out the final three innings while giving up just one more run.

On Tuesday the Orioles were able to find a decent amount of offense but they were playing from behind the entire game. The A’s pounced on Ubaldo Jimenez early and held a 5-0 lead after five innings.

After Jimenez’s exit, the Orioles started to make up some ground. Manny Machado stayed hot at the plate with a two run homer in the sixth and Schoop brought two more home with a single in the eighth. This would be the end of the comeback though as the Oakland bullpen found their footing and shut down the O’s in the ninth, securing a 6-4 win.

After a loss on Tuesday the Orioles had to approach Wednesday afternoon’s series finale as if it were a must win game. It looked like the O’s were on the right track midway through the game but the A’s would not quit and extra innings had to be played.

It was a pitchers duel in the early innings as Dylan Bundy and Daniel Gossett retired their opponents on minimal pitches but both offenses would heat up soon enough.

In the fourth inning the Orioles offense was able to break out and take the lead thanks to a three run homer by Trey Mancini. The home run was followed by a Mark Trumbo walk and a Welington Castillo single, setting the table for Ryan Flaherty. The 31-year old utility player was making his first start since May 18 and he came through with a big RBI single to put the Orioles up 4-0. A two run homer in the sixth by Castillo helped give the O’s some insurance runs as the Athletics started to make a comeback.

Bundy did a good job of containing the A’s lineup but was ultimately chased out of the game. After getting a solid lead from his offense the young starter held Oakland to two runs through six innings of work. Bundy was replaced by Mychal Givens in the seventh but the A’s were able to plate two runs in the inning to cut their defect in half.

The Athletics continued to make a comeback in the eighth inning when Matt Joyce hit a two run homer to put his team within one run. Richard Bleier was called upon to get out of the inning but he was quickly replaced by Brad Brach after giving up a walk. Brach would end up getting the much needed strikeout after a few intense at bats to keep the O’s lead alive.

In the bottom half of the inning Chris Davis provided a big insurance run with a solo shot to center field. The home run put the O’s up 7-5 with Zach Britton coming in for the save. However, the Orioles closer did not look like his usual self as he quickly surrendered a single and a double to put the tying runs in scoring position.

Marcus Semien hit an RBI single and Matt Joyce followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at seven. The game was not over but the crowd was stunned as Briton’s 60 game save streak was snapped. The runs forced Buck Showalter to come out and replace his closer with just one out recorded in the ninth. Miguel Castro entered the game and was able to escape a bases load jam with a big strikeout.

In the bottom of the ninth the Orioles had an opportunity to prevent the game from going into extra innings but came up short. Welington Castillo led off the inning with a walk and Seth Smith followed with a single to put the winning run in scoring position. Buck Showalter opted not to bunt in this scenario with the teams best hitters due up but Tim Beckham, Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop recorded three straight strikeouts to end the inning.

With the game dragging on the Orioles were looking for the long ball to put an end to the game and the finally got it in the 12th. Manny Machado was the hero once again, hitting his second walk off homer of the home stand. After getting out of a jam in the ninth, Castro was called upon to eat up some innings. The 22-year-old reliever did a great job working his way through three more innings to pick up his third win of the year.

The O’s will have Thursday off as they prepare to face Boston this weekend. The three games in Boston will be a brief break from a lengthy home stand. It’s been a few months since these teams last met but everyone remembers those heated matchups like they were yesterday. Manny Machado and the rest of the Orioles will definitely be looking to take down Boston and stifle their pursuit of a division title.

Image Credit: Getty Images

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Series Preview: Orioles remain at home for three game set with Athletics

BALTIMORE — When the Orioles returned from their 10-game road trip out west, the weekend series against the Angels brought an opportunity to make up for some lost opportunities. The weekend looked promising. A west coast team in the Angels found themselves on the east coast, reversing the prior situation. Not only that, but on Saturday the Orioles celebrated they 25th anniversary at Camden Yards. Legends like Cal Ripken Jr. and Brady Anderson waved to the fans, lifting the spirits of what signifies a pretty disappointing season so far.

With all of this going on, the Orioles struggled. They dropped two of three games to the Angels over the weekend. Not only did they score just one run in front of the 1992 legends, but they lost a series to a team that also looks to grab a Wild Card spot. Time still remains before the playoffs, but the momentum lacks right now.

The last time the Orioles won a series came two weeks ago against the Tigers. The A’s now arrive at Camden Yards for three games. The A’s are a step below Detroit, but if the Orioles tumble in this series, they’ll likely slip past Detroit into the cellar of the American League.

Last Meeting: Just over a week ago, the Orioles and Athletics split a four-game series in Oakland. The two teams went back-and-forth in the weekend battle, with the Orioles winning games one & three, and the Athletics emerging victorious in games two & four.

Splitting with the Athletics perfectly represented a 4-6 road trip filled with missed opportunities. However, the Orioles offense flashed. In the 7-2 win on Thursday the 10th, the Orioles belted back-to-back homers two separate times. Trey Mancini was involved in both sequences. In Saturday’s (Aug. 12) 12-5 win, the Orioles put up seven runs in the first inning. A’s starter Sean Manaea, who Baltimore faces again on Wednesday, lasted just a third of an inning. Manaea allowed six runs on six hits and a walk. Baltimore finished the game with 20 hits and eight doubles. All of the offensive production came without a home run.

As stated before, Baltimore displayed some low moments at the Coliseum. Oakland picked up a 5-4 go-ahead win following a shaky relief appearance from Brad Brach. In the Sunday afternoon series finale, Jeremy Hellickson imploded in the fourth inning of his start. The rest went downhill from there, and Oakland walked away with a 9-3 win.

Standings Update: In the American League East, the Orioles (60-64) come into the week in fourth place, 11.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox (71-52). Out in the west, the Athletics (54-70) sit in fifth place with the second-to-worst record in the AL. The Astros (76-48) lead the division with the Angels (64-60) 12 games behind them.

The Indians (68-54) sit up top in the AL Central. The Twins (63-59) and the Royals (62-61) find themselves neck-and-neck for not only second place in the division, but for a Wild Card spot too.

Wild Card Picture: With Boston, Cleveland, and Houston leading the divisions, the Yankees (66-57) comfortably represent the #5 seed, and the top Wild Card. Behind New York, the Twins and Angels find themselves tied for the #6 seed. Seattle (63-62) and Kansas City also own records above .500. Texas (61-62) and Tampa Bay (61-65) both rank ahead of the Orioles in the Wild Card Race.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1Monday, Aug. 21, 7:05 pm – Chris Smith (0-2, 5.26 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (6-10, 5.21 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 2Tuesday, Aug. 22, 7:05 pm – Paul Blackburn (3-1, 3.46 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (5-8, 6.47 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 3Wednesday, Aug. 23, 3:05 pm – Sean Manaea (8-8, 4.58 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (12-8, 4.17 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Notes on the Athletics:

  • Oakland dropped a series to the Astros over the weekend, two games to one. The A’s won Sunday’s finale 3-2, but scored just one run combined in the first two games.
  • Despite being 36-years-old, Rajai Davis owns 26 stolen bases this season, which ties him with Cameron Maybin of the Angels for third most in the AL. In the entire Major Leagues, Davis and Maybin rank sixth overall.
  • After his horrible, 0.1-inning start against the O’s on Aug. 12, Manaea rebounded in his next start on the 18th versus Houston. In six innings, he allowed three runs on six hits, a walk, and two strikeouts. Manaea still lost the game, but got no run support from his offense. Oakland went on to lose, 3-1.

Notes on the Orioles: 

  • The club owns a .500 record (18-18) since the All-Star Break.
  • Following Chris Tillman‘s return to the rotation on Sunday against Anaheim, Manager Buck Showalter said that Tillman will start again, probably over the weekend against Boston.
  • The Orioles, winners of four straight openers, failed to win all four of those series.

Coming up… After another off day on Thursday, the Orioles head up to Boston for a three-game weekend tangle with the AL East-leading Red Sox. The O’s then return home for 10 games; three against the Mariners, four versus the Blue Jays, and three with the Yankees.

Image Credit: CSN Mid-Atlantic 

Orioles stand pat after disappointing split with Athletics

OAKLAND, CA — After losing a series to the Angels 2-1, the Orioles needed to make up some ground this weekend against the second-to-worst team in the American League. That did not happen, and Baltimore comes out of the weekend in the same situation they went into Oakland with: two games below .500 (58-60), and in the back seat of the AL Wild Card Race.

Game one: 7-2 Orioles

The entire series went up and down for both teams. Thursday began with Baltimore slamming four home runs off Oakland starter Chris Smith. Those home runs featured two back-to-back sequences that both involved Trey Mancini. In the fourth inning, Mancini followed Adam Jones, and in the sixth inning the 25-year-old infielder was shadowed by Mark Trumbo.

Mancini finished the game with three hits. Jones completed the game with three RBI; one on the solo homer and two on a seventh-inning double.

Wade Miley tossed seven innings, allowing one run on three hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts. The last time Miley lasted seven innings came on June 1 against the Red Sox. Zach Britton racked up his 10’th save of the season in the win.

Game two: 5-4 Athletics

After not allowing a run in his three prior appearances, Brad Brach struggled on Friday night. The Orioles held a 3-2 lead going into the eighth inning, but things would unravel quickly. Left-fielder Matt Joyce, batting leadoff, got the inning started with a double off Brach. Shortstop Marcus Semien singled to left, advancing Joyce to third. Joyce scored and tied the game when second baseman Jed Lowrie hit a ground-rule double. After Brach earned the first out on a strikeout, Chris Davis dropped a pop-up in foul territory. Oakland got the winning run in on a sacrifice fly by Chad Pinder.

The loss yielded Brach a record of .500 at 3-3. Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez gave up three runs over 5.1 innings. He tallied 11 strikeouts on Friday night, which beat his previous season-high of nine on July 26 against Tampa Bay.

Jones hit a solo home run and scored Manny Machado on a double-play RBI. Machado scored again on a double by Jonathan Schoop.

Game three: 12-5 Orioles 

The Birds scored seven runs in the first inning off A’s starter Sean Manaea, who recorded just one out before being pulled from the game. The O’s sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning. Saturday became the first time since May 20, 2008 that the Orioles scored seven or more runs in the first inning, according to Rich Dubroff of PressBoxOnline.com.

The Orioles pounced on the A’s on Saturday, finishing with 20 hits and eight doubles. Eight doubles goes down as a season-high for Baltimore. Amazingly, the Orioles accomplished all of the offensive production without a home run. Tim Beckham went 4-for-5 at the plate with three RBI on two doubles. Both Jones and Joey Rickard tallied three hits, with Jones notching three RBI on a double and a single. Machado and Davis contributed by both finishing with two RBI – Machado on a double and a single, and Davis on two singles.

Despite the offensive onslaught, the Orioles did not play a perfect game. Starter Dylan Bundy gave up three home runs in the first two innings on home runs by Khris Davis and Matt Olson. However, Oakland never truly threatened in the game. The Orioles kept the A’s at bay, and Oakland did not get on the board again until they eighth inning.

Saturday indicates the second time Baltimore scored 12 runs in August. The Orioles defeated the Detroit Tigers, 12-3, on Aug. 6 at Camden Yards.

Game four: 9-3 Athletics

The Orioles scored one run apiece in the first two innings on RBI singles by Schoop and Davis. Baltimore controlled early, but a five-run fourth inning put the game in Oakland’s favor. After making his way through three innings unscathed, Jeremy Hellickson imploded in the fourth.

The A’s played small ball to get their first two runs on the board, but infielder Matt Chapman‘s three-run home run awarded Oakland the lead. Semien and Joyce homered later in the game, and eventually Baltimore found themselves down by six. Machado added a solo home run in the eighth inning, that came when the O’s trailed by six.

Sunday represents Hellickosn’s worst outing since coming to Baltimore in late July. Chris Tillman made his first career relief appearance on Sunday, registering two strikeouts. He threw 20 pitches, 11 strikes.

Notes:

  • Beckham played all four of these games from the leadoff position in Baltimore’s lineup. That did not impact his play. Beckham did not record a hit on Sunday, but in this series he notched eight hits, four doubles, a triple, and three RBI.
  • Also at the plate in Oakland, Jones went 7-for-17 with two doubles, two home runs, and seven RBI.
  • J.J. Hardy, the Orioles’ starting shortstop prior to Beckham’s arrival, will not return from the 60-day disabled list on Friday, Aug. 18. Hardy suffered a fractured wrist against the Cardinals on June 18 when he got hit by a pitch. Even if Hardy returns with a decent amount of time left in the season, its hard to envision manager Buck Showalter putting him back in the lineup on a regular basis. Hardy turns 35 on Saturday, owns a .211 batting average in 2017, and his contract expires after the season.

Up Next: Baltimore wraps up their 10-game road trip with a three-game series in Seattle against the Mariners. Going into the weekend, Seattle held the second Wild Card spot in the AL. After getting swept by the Angels in four games at home, the Mariners (59-60) now find themselves on the outside looking in, with the Angels, Twins and Royals all overtaking them in the race.

Seattle sits two games back in the Wild Card standings, with Baltimore right behind them at 2.5 games.

Image Credit: Mercury News 

Series Preview: Orioles continue west coast trip in Oakland

OAKLAND — Going into a 10-game road trip out west featuring match-ups against two teams in the American League Wild Card Race, the Orioles knew they needed to come out strong against the Angels. Well, that did not happen. Baltimore started off the trip out west losing two of three to Los Angeles. The Angels held Baltimore to three runs in the final two games, ending an offensive onslaught that began with the signing of Tim Beckham.

The Oakland Athletics face a plethora of struggles too. They currently represent the second-to-worst record in the AL, and just got swept by division rival Seattle over two games.

Now, the Orioles and Athletics will lock arms in a four-game weekend series at the Oakland Coliseum.

Last Meeting: In 2016, the Orioles played 3-4 baseball against the A’s. Baltimore took two of three from Oakland at Camden Yards. One of those wins featured an 11-3 offensive explosion. Manny Machado finished that game with six RBI on a grand slam and another two-run homer. Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo, and Joey Rickard also found the long ball in that game.

In Oakland, the Orioles struggled, going 1-3. All losses were by one run, 0-1, 1-2, and 2-3. Despite great performances by Kevin Gausman, Wade Miley, and Yovani Gallardo, Oakland limited the O’s to three runs in as many games. The O’s went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 14 runners on-base. The O’s did pick up a 9-6 win at the Coliseum, but the offensive struggles in the other three games overshadowed that win.

Standings Update: The Orioles (56-58) come into Oakland 2.5 games back in the AL Wild Card Race. The Red Sox (64-49) currently man the first place slot in the AL East. The A’s (50-64) sit in the cellar of the AL West, 22 games behind the Astros (71-41).

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1Thursday, Aug. 10, 10:05 pm – Wade Miley (5-9, 5.51 ERA) vs. Chris Smith (0-1, 4.82 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2Friday, Aug. 11, 10:05 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez (5-7, 6.31 ERA) vs. Paul Blackburn (3-1, 2.60 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3Saturday, Aug. 12, 9:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (11-8, 4.15 ERA) vs. Sean Manaea (8-6, 4.15 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4Sunday, Aug. 13, 4:05 pm – Jeremy Hellickson (7-6, 4.45 ERA) vs. Kendall Graveman (2-3, 4.97 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Key Orioles stats in Oakland:

  • Three of Baltimore’s starters sport ERA’s below 4 at the Oakland Coliseum: Miley (1.42, two starts), Jimenez (2.31, two starts), and Hellickson (3.44, three starts). Bundy will start his first game in Oakland on Saturday.
  • Chris Davis owns a career .307 average at the Coliseum. In 127 at-bats, the 31-year-old infielder looks to add on to his 39 hits, eight doubles, nine home runs, and 30 RBI.

A’s against the Orioles: 

  • Khris with a K Davis is a lifetime .290 hitter against Baltimore, with 19 hits, seven doubles, three home runs and six RBI in 31 at-bats against the O’s.
  • Oakland’s leading hitter, infielder Jed Lowrie, clocks in with a .270 average. Against Baltimore, however, Lowrie quietly hits just .213.

Up Next: The Orioles play the last of three series of the 10-game west coast trip in Seattle against the Mariners. Seattle (59-56) owns the second place mark in the AL West. If the season ended today, the second Wild Card slot in the AL belongs to the Mariners, with the first going to the Yankees (59-52).

Note: All standings and stats in this post are as of Aug. 9. 

Image Credit: SFBay