Orioles take the bad with the good (updated)

So, how about those Orioles?

They were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position today, but the hit was Danny Valencia’s two-run double in the third inning that gave them a 2-1 lead over the Blue Jays.

The Orioles were 7-for-30 with RISP in the series, and they’re 37-for-171 (.216) in their last 22 games.

Valencia is batting .472 (25-for-53) with eight doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs in his last 15 games. If the Orioles make the playoffs, Valencia will be quite the celebrity in Baltimore. He could run for mayor.

He isn’t the unlikeliest of heroes on this team, but I doubt that he made any Top 10 lists over the summer.

Miguel Gonzalez lasted only 5 1/3 innings because of a strained right groin and could miss his next start, but the bullpen turned in 3 2/3 scoreless innings in a 3-1 win. Tommy Hunter was most valuable, retiring all four batters he faced with two strikeouts and leaving the bases loaded.

Hunter threw 17 pitches, 13 for strikes. He has 20 holds this season, if that stat means anything to you.

Manager Buck Showalter playfully asked reporters one day to come up with a sponsor for the “hold award.” Feel free to submit your picks. And yes, “Depends” was one of the suggestions.

Nate McLouth left the game after being drilled on the right knee by a Kyle Drabek pitch, but he told reporters in Toronto that he’s fine. X-rays were negative and he expects to play Tuesday in Boston.

McLouth was a defensive replacement in left field for Michael Morse, who went 0-for-3. Morse appeared to reach base on an infield hit before a scoring change gave shortstop Jose Reyes an error.

Morse just can’t catch a break. And Showalter is more trusting of McLouth to catch a fly ball.

The Orioles registered their first road series win against a division opponent since April 11. After a much-needed break on Monday, they’ll try for another one in Boston.

Notes: The Rays lost today, reducing their lead over the Orioles to 2 1/2 games in the wild card race.

The Orioles played their 113th errorless game today, tying the 2008 Astros for the most in a season since 1900.

The Orioles improved to 19-9 in two-run games and 18-45 when out-hit by their opponent.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series in Boston:

Tuesday: Scott Feldman (5-4, 3.62 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (8-9, 4.70 ERA)
Wednesday: Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.99 ERA) vs. Jake Peavy (11-5, 4.03 ERA)
Thursday: Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.70 ERA) vs. John Lackey (9-12, 3.56 ERA)

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