The Orioles swept a three-game home series against the Royals for the first time since April 2007, and Nolan Reimold deserves a huge share of the credit for homering twice and driving in four runs. He also singled, doubled and walked.
That’s one way to raise your average to .545.
“I’m happy for him,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He made the most of his opportunities. I try to pride myself on listening to people who have seen guys more and they kept telling me that Nolan wasn’t physically right all last year and some other challenges that he had. In the last two weeks he’s really done well, and hats off to the people who have had him. The evaluators told us where he was. They really thought he was clicking.”
Vladimir Guerrero ended today’s game with a single up the middle that scored Robert Andino.
Guerrero can hit the ball anywhere. In this case, he figured out the exact number of bounces that would get him the game-winning hit.
Maybe not, but I wouldn’t be shocked.
Royals manager Ned Yost ordered an intentional walk to Nick Markakis before Guerrero batted.
“It’s a tough pick there between him and Nicky, and he got it in a spot where they couldn’t defend it,” Showalter said. “It happens so much. You play him to pull in the hole because he hits so many balls in that hole, but also because he’s so strong he top-spins a lot of balls up the middle of the diamond. It’s a lot more fun to be on the other side of the dugout trying to figure out... He’s so unconventional it creates a lot of problems for you defending him.”
The rally started with Andino’s double, which came after the second baseman popped up a bunt in a previous at-bat.
“Robert had a good at-bat there,” Showalter said. “That’s the difference in a lot of guys, because they have some adversity during the game, they’re frustrated about not getting a bunt down or whatever and you just don’t pull the dirt around you. You keep grinding and figure out a way to make a contribution. I’m proud of the way Robert gathered himself and got a big hit there.”
Jeremy Guthrie made it through seven innings and settled for a no-decision. He allowed four runs in the second, when Kansas City sent nine batters to the plate.
“We were getting ready to have to make a bunch of pitching changes down below, but I hope the young pitchers look out there,” Showalter said. “Mark (Connor) said when (Guthrie) came out of the bullpen that he didn’t seem to be carrying his usual command that he spoils us with, but he worked his way through it. To think that he was going to give us that many innings ... I went down to him after the next to last inning and asked him how he was doing and he said, ‘I’m fine. Let’s go.’ And I think it’s also a tribute to how well-conditioned an athlete he is. He’s as good conditioned as we have and you like him in those situations. Back home they’d call it “close.” It was real close out there, on the scoreboard and in the weather.”
The bullpen turned in five more scoereless innings, extending its streak to 15. Kevin Gregg left the bases loaded in the 10th. Jeremy Accardo got the win with two perfect innings.
“Kevin had a tough part there,” Showalter said. “You’re not going to give in. Kevin hadn’t had the ball in three days. He was going to pitch today regardless and he gave us a big inning there in the tough part of their order. Of course, we walked a couple of them. I thought Jeremy had some balls hit hard off him, but we caught them. It was a lot of little things. (Clay) Rapada continues to do what he does and Koji (Uehara) probably pitched as well as anybody today. Worked out. We were fortunate.”
The Orioles are back to .500. Is it important at this stage of the season?
“Only if it carries on,” Showalter replied. “It’s a mark you have to hit and pass if you want to be a part of this, to have some fun in September and October. I don’t think anyone’s won the World Series under it. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.”
Craig Tatum was called for catcher’s interference, which compounded Guthrie’s troubles in the second, but he made a great catch in foul territory later in the game and contributed a single.
“He brings what he brings,” Showalter said. “He’s got great makeup, cares about the pitching staff and pitching, and he’s not just going to throw away at-bats. He’s capable of getting a big base hit for you and it was tempting to leave him in there, but I wasn’t sure whether they would have brought in the right-hander or not. We like Matt (Wieters) from both sides of the plate. Tatum had a good day. I don’t think he’s caught that many innings. How many did he end up with, 10 or 11? I don’t know if Matt playing today qualifies as a day off. I’m glad I didn’t send him to Oakland.”