The Orioles won tonight for only the second time in their last six games, again relying on an offense that’s doing some major damage.
Six runs or more in the last five games. Twelve hits or more in the last five games.
Nick Markakis registered his first four-hit game of the season to raise his average to .306. He ranks eighth on the club’s all-time hits list with 1,429. Brian Roberts is seventh with 1,452.
“Nick’s one of those guys that you only really miss him when he’s gone, when he’s hurt,” said manager Buck Showalter following an 8-4 win over the Indians at Camden Yards. “As close as we came last year and the year before, not having him around is a challenge. He’s so consistent, everything that he does. I don’t think he feels the pressure to do things from the leadoff spot that he might feel in other places, but he’s capable of hitting about anywhere you want to hit him in the batting order.
“The thing that separates him from so many left-handed hitters is he doesn’t give in on left-handers. You never feel like the pitcher really has an advantage because of his approach.
“This is a tough right field to play and he made some plays tonight that looked pretty routine, and trust me, they’re not. It’s an honor to watch him play every night. It’s hard to do what he does every day.”
Chris Davis is 8-for-16 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in his last four games. Nelson Cruz has homered in three of his last four games. Adam Jones has reached base in 17 straight games, batting .365 with four doubles, five homers and 12 RBIs. J.J. Hardy has 11 hits in his last 22 at-bats, with two doubles and four RBIs.
Imagine what this offense could do with Matt Wieters in the lineup.
“Yeah, it’s impressive,” Showalter said. “We got some help with the error tonight, but we took advantage of it. We strung together some two-out hits. We had a swinging bunt and a ball that hit the runner. Swung the bats well again. We caught their staff kind of beat up from the extra-inning game. It’s always tough on a staff playing Detroit. We were fortunate that happened.”
Is Showalter seeing a different Davis at the plate these days?
“A little bit,” he replied. “Chris doesn’t have to swing hard to create some damage. He’s one of those guys you can’t stay in one place in one pattern. I think he hit a breaking ball for a home run, he hit a fastball in borderline off the plate for the double and kept it fair. That’s really hard to do, to keep that ball fair. You’ve got to stay so far inside that ball to not get it foul.
“Chris has been consistent in his approach. I think the experience he’s gone through the last couple years gives him a lot of confidence in realizing how long a season is and how good he’s capable of being.”
Bud Norris improved to 3-4 with a 3.83 ERA after allowing four runs over six innings. Jason Giambi hit an opposite-field three-run homer in the fourth inning.
“Big, strong guy, ball over the plate. He was a little frustrated,” Showalter said. “He had that one inning, really. Other than that, he was pretty effective. He got a big out there with the catcher. He bent a little bit, but didn’t break. He made some real important pitches when he needed to. (Carlos) Santana there. But Bud very quietly has been pretty solid for us.”