Chavez contributing to Orioles' lead (O's win 9-5)

For all the Endy Chavez haters out there, well, he's been pretty good today.

Chavez is 3-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs, as the Orioles have taken a 7-2 lead over the Athletics. He contributed a two-run single in the seventh inning.

Chavez wasn't initially added to the expanded 40-man roster on Sept. 1, but he was told to stay close. Chavez was in New York when the Orioles contacted him after Nick Markakis suffered a broken left thumb that ended his season.

The plus-defense in the outfield was expected from Chavez. The offensive contributions are gravy. But he's been known to dial it up in September and October.

Mark Reynolds has two more walks today, including one with the bases loaded, to give him a team-leading 69 this season. Yeah, he'd walk 500 miles. Just watch him.

Brian Matusz struck out two batters in two scoreless, hitless innings. This whole left-handed specialist thing is working out perfectly.

Later, we can debate whether Matusz should go back in the rotation in spring training or continue in his current role.

The Orioles view him as a starter. Fair enough. But he's been invaluable coming out of the 'pen. He's filled a huge void with Troy Patton on the disabled list.

Update: Chavez picked up his season-high fourth hit in the ninth inning. The guy is out of control. He's running with scissors.

The Orioles lead, 9-4, after Robert Andino doubled to score Chavez and came home on Chris Davis' single. Andino is 2-for-4 today, his first two-hit game since Aug. 28 and his second since July 4.

Stephen Drew's two-run homer off Darren O'Day in the eighth reduced the Orioles' lead to 7-4 before they answered back in the ninth..

Three more outs, and the Orioles will post their first winning season since 1997.

Update II: Jim Johnson picked up his 43rd save, and the Orioles nailed down their first winning season since 1997 with a 9-5 victory over the Athletics.

Johnson relieved Pedro Strop, who has allowed runs in five of his last nine appearances. Strop didn't retire a batter in two of those outings.

The Orioles avoid the sweep and stay one game behind the Yankees in the American League East. Next stop: Seattle.

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