Manager Buck Showalter spoke to reporters for over 11 minutes following tonight’s 10-6 victory, which pulled the Orioles into a first-place tie with the Yankees in the American League East.
He wasn’t particularly chatty. It’s just that the Orioles are suddenly a national story. The interview room was packed. A cameraman asked a question.
Maybe Showalter is right about how there are no roles around here.
Here are some of the highlights from Showalter’s press conference:
On the mood in the dugout after the Yankees scored five runs in the eighth:
“Emotion, certainly. It’s one of those things, what are you going to do? Are you going to bleed or do something about it? I think everybody in the dugout knew they were going to make a run at us. It was just kind of how you respond to it. I was real proud of them. I think they kept trying to score runs. I don’t think you ever relax against a team as good as the Yankees, or any team at the major league level, because power is such an issue all the way through the lineup with all the clubs at this level.”
On Jason Hammel:
“Hamm was good. He took a pretty good blow there and we were going to take him to six (innings) or 85 (pitches), whichever came first. He was a little ticked off. He said, ‘I wish you had told me I was on a pitch count.’ He certainly wanted to stay in that ballgame.”
On the atmosphere:
“You couldn’t ask for better. A special environment. Really appreciative. It helped. It was a real difference-maker for us. We need a little pick-me-up after getting in at ... I think these guys got in bed at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. So did the Yankees, but it’s a tough, challenging road trip, and that’s the type of thing that really gives you a little extra boost. You could tell there was a little added something in the air, especially with Cal (Ripken) being here. I know how much our players respect what he’s accomplished.”
On Adam Jones’ tie-breaking homer in the eighth making the difference:
“To go back and say, ‘That’s the one, that’s the one,’ that’s not the case. Our guys don’t dwell on that. There’s so many good things that happened. I thought defensively tonight was probably the difference in the ballgame. We set the tone early. They’re going to put some balls in play firmly. I thought that’s something that might get overlooked, but we played a real good defensive game.”
On Pedro Strop:
“Certainly, we all know what a great job Pete’s done for us this year coming into the middle of an inning or starting an inning. Sometimes he has some command issues regardless of how you bring him in, but you always like the finished product. We’re fortunate to have multiple people who have been doing a good job for us and we’ll continue to use them in that role. But it’s a good environment for him to get into. You just try to have a long memory about how good these guys have been, but also understand with 20-something games left, we’re going to ride what needs to be ridden.”
On whether Strop’s confidence is a concern:
“He had a great outing in Toronto and he was in a perfect spot for him as far as days off, keeping the ball in his hand, but I don’t think there’s some chart or graph that’s going to tell you exactly what a guy’s going to do this time of year. He’s one of the bigger reasons why we are where we are, the job he’s done for us. Whether he’s come in the middle of an inning or...”
On Mark Reynolds, who said confidence is a big key to his resurgence:
“I’ll agree with whatever Mark’s saying right now. I’ve been so impressed with him defensively, too. He made a great pick with J.J. (Hardy) in the first inning. That’s an in-between pick. That’s a tough play for a first baseman. But obviously, Mark’s in a good place offensively right now.”
More on the fans:
“It was a good game for the fans to watch. Parts of it were probably a little uncomfortable for them. But I’m real excited that a well-attended game, people are going home feeling good about making the decision to come support us the way they did tonight.
“You could tell our fans were locked into it from the first pitch. If our players didn’t know, which I suspect they do, they know now what our fan base is all about.”
On Darren O’Day retiring Derek Jeter to end the eighth:
“It’s not forgotten. If you look at Darren’s won-loss record, we kind of liked our chances there when he got in there. That was a big out. It won’t be forgotten. Darren’s gotten a lot of them this year. We haven’t really defined roles for a reason because things changed. It’s about what role the club needs you to fill on that night.”
On whether this might be the biggest win of the season:
“The day game in Toronto was a challenge for us physically and emotionally. Our players know they all count the same at the end of the day. But three days from now, we could be in a different situation. Our guys know that and they’re going to approach this with the respect that it has, especially that team in the other clubhouse. And for the first time in a while, try to get some sleep and come back knowing you’ve got a real tough foe. But I don’t think our guys are saying this is exactly... Even if you feel it, it’s not healthy this time of the year.”
On whether Jones had a certain look in his eye before hitting his home run:
“Oh sure, without a doubt. Nine innings exposes a lot of things, 162 games. It’s pretty relentless and heartless. But I really liked the look in our guys’ eyes from the time the game started.”
According to Elias, Reynolds is the second player to have three multi-homer games against the Yankees in the same season. The Tigers’ Hank Greenberg had three of them back in 1938.