Showalter speaks after 7-0 win

The Orioles posted their fifth shutout of the year and their second on this homestand. The three hits allowed were the fewest this season.

The Orioles improved to 17-3 at home when scoring four runs or more. Overall, they’re 24-8 when scoring four or more.

The winning streak has reached four games, and the Orioles are only one below .500.

Let’s hear from manager Buck Showalter:

Buck Showalter meets with the media following the Birds’ 5th shutout of the season

On Nick Markakis:
“Everybody knows the work that Nick’s been putting in. He feels such a responsibility to the team and the Orioles. We see it. He doesn’t wear it on his sleeve, but he grinds it, almost to a fault. That’s why you love him. He’s a piece for us, the things he does to give himself a chance to be successful. I thought the second hit for him was about as big as the first one. We’ll see where it carries. It was a nice moment for him in a big situation in the game.”

On Robert Andino’s bunt in the second inning:
“No sign. We talked about it. I understand the sacrificing part of it, but with a really good fielding first baseman up and a runner at third, I don’t think you’ll see it again. But I’m glad Nicky hit the home run. Took a little of my edge away for right now. He understands. I appreciate the team aspect of it probably from his perspective, but probably not a good play in that situation.”

On Jake Arrieta:
“A lot of 3-2 counts. He had a chance to go further, too. He gave up one hit. He didn’t give up two, he gave up one. But he had some 3-2 counts that he probably should have turned around and gotten some outs quicker. But I’m not going to fault him. I’ll take the finished body of work.

“I thought one of the biggest plays in the game other than Nick’s swing was (Matt) Wieters throwing out the runner in the first inning. Had a slow time to the plate and he made up for it with his release time. I thought that was a big momentum swing. (Arrieta) struggled with his command the first hitter and looks like the same way. I thought the whole play got the momentum back. I know that sounds crazy in a 7-0 game, but I felt like they were getting ready to put an inning on us.”

On whether J.J. Hardy is earning the leadoff job:
“I don’t know about earn it. He’s a good option or us right now the way he’s swinging the bat. Especially with Robert getting on base in front of him. Like I said earlier, I just don’t feel like Felix (Pie) is really comfortable there and we had about three options, really four. We’ve got a left-hander (David Price) tomorrow. We might make some adjustments.”

On the importance of the 1-4-6-3 double play:
“Robert, quite frankly, the last two games, has made defensive plays that have been difference-makers. When Jake’s sinking the ball, he’s going to get some ground balls, and they can always impact the game on both sides of it. People talk about run producers. You can be a run reducer, too. They’re still counting as runs. Robert’s been pretty solid. And it wasn’t an easy flip for J.J. to handle. That was a big play in the game.”

On whether Arrieta has things figured out:
“You take all the experiences and things you’re exposed to and you just try not to make the same mistakes and you stay away from big innings. There’s not enough track record there for guys to say at any time that somebody’s going to be exactly this and they turned the corner and they’re going to be this the rest of their career. I don’t think any of our young pitchers are there yet, but obviously Jake’s winning some ballgames and giving us a chance to win so far at a very young stage of his career.”

On why Markakis was able to break out of his slump:
“I’m not one of those guys who says that and then tomorrow if he’s 0-for-4 or 0-for-5, what happened there? It’s hard to do. Hitting in the major leagues is hard to do. When a guy’s in a really good spot, you challenge him to really think about what’s putting him in that spot, because you’re going to have some moments. But I see hitting coaches out talking after a guy has a good game and says all the things they’ve done, and then the next day they’re 0-for-5 and you can’t find him. He’s going to keep working. I guarantee Nick’s going to put in just as much time and effort. One thing I have seen is he’s kind of gotten back to some of the things he originally was doing in the spring. Sometimes, you’ve got to have some failure in order to get there.”

On whether former hitting coach Terry Crowley was consulted:
“Since spring training. He was in camp with us all year. Terry’s very connected. I talk to Terry quite often and will continue to. There’s no ego. Terry is very good at what he does. It was his decision not to come back, but he’s been a valuable cog already with some things that he’s doing down below and evaluating. We use Terry to the point where he might say ‘Uncle.’ He’s very professional about it. It’s very obvious that Jim (Presley) and him have a great relationship.”

On Jeremy Hellickson:
“Just watching some of his body language, it didn’t look like he felt real good about his command. Usually, he gets the ball where he wants it every time with the fastball. It’s a hot, muggy night and the pitchers had an hour-plus rain delay. It’s a little different challenge. Obviously, you don’t have any of those rain delays in Tampa. We were fortunate to catch him on a night when he wasn’t carrying his normal command. That won’t happen many times in his career. He’s got a chance to be really good.”

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