Tonight’s attendance: 20,086
It never fails. The Orioles are victorious after a tough loss or a stretch of bad outings, and manager Buck Showalter is asked whether it was an important game.
The Orioles followed last night’s 8-4 loss to the Blue Jays by rallying for a 5-3 win tonight.
“I got the same question last game in Seattle, and they’re very pertinent questions,” Showalter said. “Season over if you lose? Is the season going to be a success if you win? You can’t dwell too much, but it was a good win for us. They let us hang around a little bit and we beat a really good pitcher (Ricky Romero) tonight, which is something we’ve done two or three times this year and I’m real proud of them. They kept grinding.”
Mark Reynolds struck the big blow with his first career grand slam.
How important was it for Reynolds?
“We’ll see,” Showalter replied. “He and Jimmy (Presley) have been working real hard on some things, and to have some success with it tonight on a swing, I know it felt pretty good to him. I thought he made a great play at third base and almost made a couple good bunt plays. As thick as our grass is, it’s really tough there if they get it in the right spot bunting.
“I thought Derrek (Lee) had a great game at first base. He’s a difference maker defensively on a couple plays. Never any panic to him. He’s a very calm defender. And everybody was real happy to see him out there tonight. He gave us a lot of presence.”
Reynolds was 6-for-52 with 26 strikeouts with the bases loaded before tonight.
“It’s a challenge,” Showalter said. “Young hitters, especially. I think we lose sight that he’s only 27 years old. I think his first swing for us in spring training was a grand slam in an intrasquad game. Sometimes, they have an emotional at-bat there. You keep harping to them that the pitcher’s in peril there, not you, and if you let them get you out...The good pitchers use your aggressiveness against you and they get softer. They throw more balls that appear to be strikes and leave the zone to get yourself out. But there’s a lot of walks to be drawn in those situations if you’ll be patient, because the quality veteran pitchers use your aggressiveness against you in those situations.”
Jake Arrieta turned in a quality start by definition and is tied for the league lead with seven wins, but he labored over the first four innings.
“He’s done that a few times,” Showalter said. “We’d like to do away with it and get it done with. I think that he had 80 pitches through four, but only one of those balls was hit hard and it was a home run. But the walks and the counts, the stress of those innings, every inning it seemed like there was somebody out there. He just couldn’t have a clean inning.
“The double play with the bases loaded was big. His command has been a challenge for him. It seemed like as soon as Corey (Patterson) hit the home run, he wasn’t as competent in the strike zone.”
The double play came with no outs in third after an infield hit and two walks. It went 5-2-3.
“It’s a play you work on in the spring where the catcher who’s 6 foot 4 or 6 foot 5, trying to clear your legs from the guy trying to break it up at the plate, and we handled that fundamentally just the way it’s supposed to,” Showalter said. “We talk about it all the time about having a clock, major league players. You see a lot of young players when they come up here they have trouble adjusting their clock. I think (Ryan) Adams is going to have to do it, Josh (Bell) did it last year, finally. And Matty (Wieters), knowing the clock of the runner there, knowing the time he’s got, a lot of guys rush that play there. But if you clear and set your feet, you can make it.”