NEW YORK - Brian Matusz won his first road game since Sept. 27, 2010 at Tampa Bay, snapping a seven-game losing streak away from home.
Eleven different Orioles starters earned victories since his last triumph.
Tonight’s feat is more special to Matusz because of how it ties to manager Buck Showalter.
“It couldn’t be more exciting being Buck’s 1,000th win,” Showalter said. “Growing up, I was a huge Diamondbacks fan and Showalter was the manager there. Watched a lot of his games there. Obviously, he’s been a great manager for so long. Such an honor to be a part of that game to come away with a win.”
A key for Matusz tonight was his control. He walked only one batter, in his final inning.
“Absolutely. Attacking the zone, mixing it up,” he said. “(Matt) Wieters did a great job tonight, keeping guys off balance. We worked really well together, and being able to go out there and have confidence and throw each pitch with confidence. It was nice to throw each pitch with rhythm.”
Was this vintage Matusz?
“Absolutely,” he replied. “Game by game, I’m feeling like I’m getting better and better. Being able to make those pitches and get out of an inning and not letting things escalate. It feels good to be able to go out there and attack the zone with confidence.
“It’s been a mixture of things. I’ve just been able to work on mechanics and strength and just getting games in, getting experience, a combination of everything.”
Asked if the win was more special because it came in New York, Matusz replied, “Every team we play is a tough team. It’s nice to be able to get that win and kind of get out of that losing drought and put that in the past and move forward and not hear about that.”
J.J. Hardy has been scuffling, but his two-run homer gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead in the third inning.
“It’s really nice,” he said. “Any time you can contribute and help the team win, it’s always fun.
“It’s just one hit, one good swing, but I’m feeling a little bit better every day. I’m usually putting one good at-bat together and kind of wasting the rest and kind of working off the good at-bat the following day. It’s coming. It’s coming slowly, but it’s coming.”
Hardy noted that it was a “pretty special night” because of Showalter’s 1,000th win.
“We were walking off the field shaking hands and (Wayne) Kirby started yelling at everyone, ‘We’re meeting at home plate,’ so we all went to home plate. And Buck wanted no part of it. He didn’t want all of the attention. He was like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go.’ We finally got him in the middle of the circle and it was a pretty cool moment. We also got him in the clubhouse here with a little champagne toast. Also a fun moment.”
Chris Davis is having a lot of fun at the plate. He collected three more hits tonight, including a home run, and tied his career high with three runs scored. He’s batting .476 (10-for-21) in his last seven games.
Davis was more interested in talking about Showalter’s 1,000th win.
“It started here and we definitely wanted to get a win while we were here,” he said.
As for beating the Yankees after that three-game sweep at Camden Yards, Davis said, “They really embarrassed us at our place and we kind of wanted to take something from them here.”