The Orioles are back to playing spoilers this weekend, trying to deny Boston the best record in the American League and homefield advantage in the playoffs. But first, they made sure to win the season series against Toronto by winning tonight’s game 3-2.
The Orioles finished 10-9 against the last-place Blue Jays. They’re 13-5 at home against Toronto since the start of the 2012 season.
Miguel Gonzalez was outstanding tonight, retiring 13 in a row and holding the Blue Jays to an unearned run and two hits over seven innings.
Gonzalez has held an opponent to two hits in three other career starts - all of them coming at Tropicana Field.
“He was really good,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Good split. Like some of those games he’s had for us before, when you can tell he’s got good command. Didn’t elevate the ball at all unless he wanted to. He was good.”
Gonzalez turned in quality starts in four of his last five outings.
“You like to leave a good taste in your mouth and it’s a reminder to everybody of how good he’s been for us, and hopefully will be again,” Showalter said. “It seems like he’s managed the groin pretty good, too. He pushed it a little bit there. He was going hitter to hitter that inning before. But he was good.
“I thought the sixth and seventh innings that Miggy pitched were key. Tommy (Hunter) had a couple days off and I felt like he’d be strong tonight, and Jimmy (Johnson) holds another one-run lead against and American League East team. I thought Jimmy had good stuff again.”
The unearned run scored after Jason Pridie dropped a two-out fly ball in the first inning.
“Jason Pridie is as good a defender as they have in Norfolk,” Showalter said. “That’s something you give him a mulligan on. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more. I really am. He’s a good defender.”
Showalter isn’t surprised that his team continues to play hard despite being eliminated.
“Let’s face it, there’s a little bit of a drop,” he said. “There’s some pressure involved, and it’s good pressure. There’s a little bit less of that. But I think they put a lot of pressure on themselves to maintain a certain level of competitiveness.
“I’ve had two or three questions from them today about what the mathematics are for Boston and Oakland, and I have no doubt that our guys will post up competitively the next three days. I know what it meant for us last year and this year. From an effort and attention, we’ll do our part.”
Chris Davis sat out tonight’s game with a sore right foot. He’s expected back in the lineup Friday night.
“We’ll take it day-to-day, see how he feels in the morning,” Showalter said. “He did tell me in the eighth or ninth inning that this sitting stuff, he didn’t like it too much.”