BOSTON - Seventeen of the Orioles’ last 23 games have been decided by two runs or fewer. Tonight, they improved to 7-10 in that span.
It wasn’t easy and it sure wasn’t pretty, but the Orioles rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Here’s a sampling of comments from manager Buck Showalter:
On Scott Feldman and the ninth inning:
“Scotty bent, but he didn’t break. I know he was frustrated because his command is usually good. He had three or four curveballs that could have gone either way. You don’t like your chances there with Koji (Uehara), but we got a big hit from Danny (Valencia) and finally found one ball that (Shane) Victorino couldn’t run down.”
On Valencia, who led off the ninth with a triple off Uehara:
“Sometimes, it’s an opportunity that they need, and he’s run with it. He’s got some good matchups and he’s not trying to do too much. He’s a strong young man and I really like how he’s fit into the environment and the culture. You can tell it’s about winning games for Danny right now and the heck with what it means for him next year.”
More on Feldman:
“The walk totals and counts probably weren’t indicative of his command, and I’ll leave that one alone. When his name was out there, that’s part of the reason I and we wanted to put him in our clubhouse, because Scotty’s a tough guy. Athletic, and he’s competitive, and he likes to win. He doesn’t care how aesthetically pleasing it may look.”
On whether he felt fortunate to win despite the errors, walks and runners left in scoring position:
“We don’t look at it like that. We don’t live in that world. You can’t. These are the best players in the world. Chris Davis hits a ball firm right at somebody. What are you going to do? It’s not just that situation. There were some pitches that Scotty made early in the game to get out of some things. It’s (Kevin) Gausman, it’s (T.J.) McFarland - one guy who was at LSU last year and another guy who was a Rule 5 pick. We don’t hang things around one situation and one person. You cannot live in that world and compete up here consistently and turn the page.”
What it means for Davis to hit his 51st homer:
“I think the biggest thing it means tonight, and I think Chris will answer this, is was meaningful for us winning this game. And he’s sincere about it. It’s not something like, ‘Here’s what I’m supposed to say tonight.’ He believes it and that’s why he’s got such respect in our clubhouse. He acts like he’s still grinding down in Round Rock or Oklahoma City or whatever. He doesn’t take anything for granted.”
On how he views the wild card race with teams playing against each other now:
“It’s complex for everybody else, but it’s not for simple-minded people like myself and our team who just say, ‘We’ve got a game tonight, let’s win and let’s see where it takes us.’ I don’t even know who won or lost tonight. It doesn’t matter. We have to take care of business. It doesn’t matter if we don’t. The only thing is if you lose, you hope they do. If you sit there and try to dwell on any one team... you’ve got to dwell on yourself.”
“It’s that time of year when you ride the hot hand. I think it’s a hot mental and emotional hand as much as it is a physical hand this time of year, and it’s a different part of the season. People that don’t grasp that don’t realize it’s coaching, managing, playing, it’s just a different venue you’re in.”
Feldman walked a career-high six batters in five innings, but allowed only one earned run (two total) and two hits.
“That was an ugly one, but this time of the year we got the win. We’ll take them any way we can get them,” Feldman said.
“I’m thinking that I was pretty fortunate. Usually when you walk that many guys, things don’t usually go in your favor. It was one of those nights where I felt like maybe the baseball gods were on our side tonight. We’ve had some tough games over the course of the year and the name of the game is that we won. We’ll take them any way we can get them.
“I think I was just a little bit off. I wasn’t trying to be timid in the strike zone, but looking back on it, maybe I could have been a little more aggressive and I probably would have gone a little deeper. But this time of the year, we’ll take the win any way we can get them.”
Update: The Orioles are 1 1/2 games behind the Indians and two behind the Rangers and Rays in the wild card race. They won and failed to gain ground.