The Orioles have won seven of 10 games against the Red Sox this season, 11 of their last 15 and 13 of 17.
Mark Reynolds is 8-for-22 with three doubles, three homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored on the homestand.
Is Reynolds heating up and looking like a guy who could make a big impact down the stretch?
“I hope so,” manager Buck Showalter said after tonight’s 7-1 win over the Red Sox. “He’s had a couple good games for us. Mark has kind of settled down first base. We’ve had some challenges over there.
“I see how hard Mark works at first base. I see him go over to third base after he gets all his work done there. I think Mark’s capable of playing good third base again. He’s worked twice as hard to make an impact and make a contribution defensively. I know the struggles we had there early on. Mark’s handled it real well. It means a lot to him to contribute to his club and his teammates.”
Reynolds homered twice tonight and drove in four runs.
“I’ve been on the other end of a Mark Reynolds home run, so I know what that’s like,” said reliever Darren O’Day. “He’s a very talented player and he hasn’t hit as well as we wanted to this year, and it’s only a matter of time. You saw the swing he put on (Josh) Beckett’s fastball tonight. That’s impressive. There’s only a handful of guys in the league that can do that. We get him hot, and that’s only going to make our lineup even better.”
Said Chris Davis: “He was hanging in there all year. He had the injury early and it took him a bit longer to hit his stride. We have all the confidence in the world in him. He’s really played well defensively. We’ve been saying it all along, he’s liable to catch fire and hit 20 home runs. Hopefully, he can keep it going.”
O’Day left the bases loaded in the seventh by striking out the last two batters. He also stranded another inherited runner.
“I take pride in that,” he said. “I probably got a little too excited on that last strikeout there. When I go out there and pitch and I leave runners on base, I know guys have my back. Troy (Patton) has stranded so many of my runners this year, we kind of have a running tally as a joke, and I take pride in doing that and returning the favor for other guys. I created a little bit of a mess out there, but we got out of it and all is well.”
The Orioles made it through another game without committing an error, and the defense turned in a few nice plays to aid starter Wei-Yin Chen.
“It’s not something that they talk about. It’s just a mentality,” Showalter said. “It’s a challenge for us, and still is for every club. Catching the balls that stay in the park in the American League East is something you have to do. It’s more than just routine plays.
“Matt (Wieters) did another good job and Wei-Yin, I thought he had a pretty good slider tonight. He had some change-ups up that he got hurt on. That’s uncharacteristic of him. And he gave up, what, one run?”
Chen earned his 11th win by allowing that one run over six-plus innings.
“He was aggressive in the zone,” Showalter said. “You could tell in the first inning, they fouled off so many pitches, that he was... to get through six there, I thought he had enough.”
So how did Chen hold the Red Sox to one run while surrendering nine hits and getting into a few jams?
Speaking through his interpreter, Chen smiled and replied, “The only thing I can say is, Wieters is a great catcher.”
“I didn’t have the best stuff, but I just kept focusing on every pitch and did my game and pitched the game I wanted to,” he said.
“The Red Sox are a really tough lineup, but first of all, I have to give all the credit to the guys behind me that did an incredible job. Nice catches and nice plays behind me. And I have to thank the bullpen for saving me a lot.”
Tonight’s announced crowd of 26,204 didn’t seem to include the usual amount of Red Sox fans.
“They still will be able to get tickets, I’m sure,” Showalter said. “It would be nice if we could get to that point where they’re listening to it on the radio outside.
“I’m just glad people are coming to games and enjoy what we’re doing out there. There’s a lot of people who made a decision tonight to come to Camden Yards and watch a Major League Baseball game. I’d personally like it to be wearing orange.
“I’ve been here when it was hard to get a ticket, and hopefully one day it will be again.”