Showalter talks about Johnson and Johnson after 5-2 win

Orioles manager Buck Showalter passed along some good news on Jim Johnson and some words of encouragement regarding first baseman Nick Johnson.

First, the closer, who remains hospitalized but is apparently close to being sent home.

Buck Showalter speaks with the media following the Orioles’ 5-2 win over the Blue Jays

“We’re looking forward to getting J.J. back, and the hope is that he gets out tomorrow morning if he keeps his food down,” Showalter said. “I know he ate tonight and has a pretty good appetite. Richie (Bancells) talked to him early in the game. And he’s champing at the bit to get out. Hopefully, that bodes well for us. But we’ve got a lot of different guys pitching well for us right now.”

That includes Darren O’Day, who struck out three in two perfect innings tonight and hasn’t allowed a run or walked a batter in his last seven appearances covering 8 2/3 innings.

Will Johnson be in uniform tomorrow night if he’s out of the hospital?

“Me speaking, probably not, him speaking, probably so, so somewhere in between,” Showalter said. “We’ll find out. We’ve got Robert Andino coming back tomorrow morning, so we obviously have to make a move. I don’t see at this point J.J. being a DL possibility but that could change between now and tomorrow morning if something happens with his illness. But there’s a possibility of him being in uniform tomorrow. Whether he pitches is another thing. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Nick Johnson failed to glove Eric Thames’ bouncer down the first base line with two outs in the sixth inning that initially was ruled a two-run triple before a scoring change saddled Johnson with an error.

“I didn’t get a good look,” Showalter said. “I knew it was going to be an in between hop, and with him moving down the line. I’m going to look at it before I pass judgment. But Nicky, he made a play in the first inning that not many first baseman make on a double play ball. He made a great play there. You expect him to make the real tough plays and that was one tonight. It was a tough play.”

Left-hander Brian Matusz allowed two unearned runs and four hits in six innings. He hadn’t completed six innings since Aug. 16, 2011 at Oakland. Tonight marked his first outing where he went at least six innings and didn’t allow an earned run since Sept. 27, 2010 at Tampa Bay.

“He was little more down the hill,” Showalter said. “Each outing, he’s gotten a little better. He threw the ball real well. Left-handed starters in the major leagues have to be able to defend themselves against right-handed hitters, and you look at the success that Toronto’s had last year against left-handed starters makes it even more impressive. He was aggressive and got some outs with the changeup. Wasn’t allowing a lot of solid contact off him.

“I know statistically it’s been a tough start, but compared to last year, his last few outings, it’s nothing close to that. I think good things are ahead for him, hopefully, if he continues to build. Each outing he’s gotten better. I think there was probably a little anxiety going into the season that seems to have calmed down some.

“If he can continue to keep getting a little better each time out, which he has... He was very close to having a really good outing his last two times out. We threw the ball around a little bit. I can’t say that this surprised me tonight with the way he’s been. Rick (Adair) and I have talked. He’s throwing the ball great in his work days and he’s got a good frame of mind and we all know how close he was to having some good outings. How many guys did he walk tonight? Two? And there wasn’t a lot of firm contact. This is a club that’s playing as good as anybody in the American League coming into this series.

“He pitches like that, he’s going to get all the wins he wants.”

Luis Ayala picked up his first save since Sept. 23, 2008 for the New York Mets. It was his 19th career save and his first in the American League.

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