NEW YORK - The Orioles won their first series in the Bronx since 2012 by holding on for a 5-4 victory at Yankee Stadium. They also posted their first back-to-back victories of 2014.
Brian Matusz stranded two runners in the eighth, including one that he inherited, after serving up a home run to Kelly Johnson yesterday.
“Brian’s done that job for us now for about a year and a half at a real good pace,” said manager Buck Showalter. “We know where his heart lies. I knew he was real frustrated last night. I’d like to get him back out there and get him on the horse.”
As I wrote earlier, Matusz has stranded 51 of 56 inherited runners since the start of 2012.
“That makes for real good friends with your teammates, the other pitchers,” Showalter said. “They really like that. They all notice that. I’ve had a few that, that’s a very telling stat over the course of a career, and it tells you how much Brian takes on the responsibility of that tough job he has.”
Tommy Hunter is 3-for-3 in save opportunities in his first season as a closer. He allowed one run after a leadoff double and single.
“You got a block fastball down the first base line and another ball that’s probably an error and a popup and a double play ball,” Showalter said. “I said it last year and the year before - this is a hard job. Closing out games against teams like the Yankees on the road is hard. It’s not just something that’s going to look aesthetically pleasing or be perfection. It’s just assume the position and hope you like the end game.
“Tommy’s off to a good start, considering his lack of experience.”
Ryan Flaherty started the two-run rally in the ninth with a double, and he started a double play to end the game. He’s made a nice recovery from his 0-for-17 and 1-for-21 slumps.
“That’s a big double play at the end with some people bearing down on him, because it wasn’t very quick developing,” Showalter said.
“I think that’s where teammates come into play a little bit. He’s had a lot of support, everybody, the confidence they have in him, including me. But really I said many times, it’s more about your teammates, and I see how guys have rallied around him and Jonathan (Schoop), and that’s what gives you some tugs at an older man’s heart because you know they’re real sincere about it.”
Schoop hit a three-run homer in the second inning, the ball landing in the second deck in left field.
“What was the tale of the tape on that thing?” Showalter asked. “Jon’s got a lot of talent, and try as you may, you can’t mess up the good ones. And I learned that a long time ago. So you just try to get out of his way and give him a little guidance here and there and know that he’s got good teammates around him.
“The thing about it is, he defends well while we’re waiting for him to figure some things out, and I’ve said that a lot of times. That’s the key with the young players. If they can defend, I can wait on the other stuff.”
Schoop connected off Masahiro Tanaka, who walked one and struck out 10 over seven innings.
“Good. As advertised, as paid for,” Showalter said. “He’s going to be a great contributor here. You feel fortunate any time you can end up with a W with him on the mound. He’s impressive. We knew he’s got an outstanding split and you know what he’s going to do. You see the percentages of pitches, what he’s going to throw, and he still does it. That tells you what type of stuff he has.”