Manny Machado extended his hitting streak to six games today, reaching on a bunt single with one out in the top of the first inning.
I won’t dare suggest that it was a “perfect” bunt. I did that once this season on a Machado sacrifice and was shouted down in the comments section.
Machado didn’t keep the ball on the ground, ending his quest for perfection, but he sailed it past diving Oakland Athletics pitcher A.J. Griffin, who decided to cushion his fall with his face.
Once the ball landed, along with Griffin, Machado was cruising into first base. The A’s didn’t have a play.
Machado may evolve into a middle-of-the-order hitter as he matures, but he’s playing the part of No. 2 hitter quite nicely. And that includes his willingness and ability to bunt.
He’s not always perfect, but he’s most often successful.
Machado has three bunt singles in 24 games. Today’s hit was only his fifth in the first inning.
Machado has hit safely in 14 of his last 18 games for the Orioles, going 22-for-72 with a double, two homers, 13 RBIs and nine runs scored. He’s 8-for-22 in his last six games.
Update: Chris Tillman has thrown 66 pitches in three innings, and the Orioles trailed 2-0 until Nick Markakis’ two-run homer and Adam Jones’ solo shot in the top of the fourth.
Josh Donaldson has both RBIs for Oakland.
Tillman has struck out five, but he keeps falling behind in the count. He’s missing high with his curveball. Catcher Taylor Teagarden should just stand up after calling for it.
Markakis erased the deficit with his third homer this season, and Jones followed with his first career homer in Oakland’s ballpark - which changes names every couple of seasons.
This is the first time in 2013 that the Orioles have gone back-to-back.
Jones has a hit in 22 of 24 games this season.
Update II: J.J. Hardy increased the lead to 4-2 with an RBI single in the fourth. Chris Davis was running on the pitch and scored all the way from first base.
Davis is still trying to catch his breath.
Hardy has five hits in his last four games.
Update III: Tillman has thrown 88 pitches in five innings. He retired the side in order in the fifth.
Tillman is trying to give the Orioles three straight quality starts in this series.