Not satisfied with reaching 10,000 home runs in club history, the Orioles seemed determined today to double the total.
The Orioles hit five homers in the first four innings off Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, who fought the urge to signal for his own reliever. Ubaldo Jiménez came within an out of his third consecutive quality start, the tight rope never snapping beneath his feet, and the Orioles salvaged a split of the four-game series with a 12-3 victory over the Tigers before an announced crowd of 30,144 at Camden Yards.
The flight to Anaheim will be much more pleasant with the Orioles winning the last two games and improving to 55-56. A Royals loss will leave the Orioles two back for the second wild card.
Tim Beckham was held to one hit today, an RBI single in the eighth off the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. He also walked and made a couple of nice defensive plays and an outstanding one to end it, diving to his backhand side to rob Victor Martinez..
Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give him 82 RBIs, breaking a tie with Nelson Cruz for the American League lead. Cruz responded by homering twice and driving in four runs to move ahead, the mentor staking out his territory.
Chris Davis and Trey Mancini followed with home runs, the seventh time that the Orioles have gone back-to-back and the first time they’ve strung together three in a row since Aug. 19, 2016 against the Astros.
Manny Machado’s RBI double in the second increased the lead to 5-0, Joey Rickard led off the fourth with a line drive inside the left field foul pole and Machado followed Adam Jones’ single with a two-run shot.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus called upon reliever Chad Bell. No one was more grateful than Sanchez.
Machado’s homer left him a triple short of the cycle and produced the Orioles’ 5,000th home run at home, including 2,490 at Memorial Stadium. He added a two-run single in the eighth to give him four hits - his average climbing to .257 - and five RBIs.
Rickard also came within a triple of the cycle. He established a career high with four hits, the last an infield single in the eighth after Caleb Joseph’s leadoff double.
The lead grew to 11-1 after Davis’ run-scoring grounder in the eighth and Beckham struck one more blow for good measure. Richard Bleier tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Donnie Hart allowed a couple of meaningless runs in the ninth - unless he’s your fantasy lefty - to send the Orioles on the road on a happy note.
Jiménez lost his shutout bid with two outs in the fifth on Nick Castellanos’ solo home run that reduced the lead to 8-1. Jiménez scattered nine hits in the truest sense while allowing only one run, walking three batters and striking out six in 5 2/3 innings.
Manager Buck Showalter brought in Bleier with two on and two outs in the sixth and Jiménez at 105 pitches. Bleier retired Jim Adduci on a fly ball.
Jiménez has allowed four runs in his last three starts over 18 2/3 innings. He’s struck out 21 batters.
The bases may be littered, but Jiménez is cleaning up.
Jones’ single in the fourth came after he swung through a pitch and grimaced while favoring his left leg. He’s wearing a protective guard on his shin down to his ankle. He got back in the box, as he always does, and grounded the ball up the middle.
He picked the right day, with the Orioles’ eighth home run in less than 24 hours allowing him to trot around the bases.
Eight different players accounted for the home runs.
Jones singled in the eighth to load the bases with no outs against Joe Jimenez - the second-best Jimenez in this series - and bring Machado to the plate. Jones is tough as nails, the same way that a West Coast trip has been described.
A win Monday night in Anaheim will bring the Orioles back to .500 for the first time since June 29.
Showalter on whether team not getting as much notice for home runs: “I don’t know where we are compared to last year and is it because everybody else is hitting more or less? I don’t even look at it. It’s about run production. Sanchez made some mistakes and our guys were on them. Sometimes, a day game after a night game, it’s a few innings before you get on track. They made him pay for the mistakes he made. You knew the ball was going to be flying out of here today. For our pitching staff to only give up one is pretty remarkable. Any pitching staff. I’m just saying, that’s a tough gig here in a day game.”
Showalter on how to critique Jiménez’s performance: “I know he had a lot of pitches he thought he should have got, but that seems to always be the case sometimes. But I didn’t feel like, it kind of surprised me when I looked out there and saw nine hits. I thought he had pretty good stuff. He’s been carrying a good fastball for a long time. He’s been able to get back in some counts with a well-located fastball instead of a centered fastball. He made a lot of 2-0 quality fastball strikes today. And I didn’t think the split was quite there like it was before, but pitching with that lead, going out there and hanging zeros after we score was a good mentality for our club. How about the last play? I know Martinez is running, but that’s some play there.”
Showalter on 5-2 homestand before heading west: “You have a good series against Kansas City, then Detroit pops you a couple times, it’s a challenge to come back. It was a big win for us last night. I said that after the game coming into the office. Sometimes I’m wrong, sometimes I’m right, but I felt good coming into today’s game. To get back and finish 5-2. But we’ve got a tough road. Anaheim is the only team playing better than Kansas City when we played them. Seattle is making moves and playing well. Oakland in that place, you never know what you’re going to get.”
Showalter on challenges of 10 games on West Coast: “So, is the season over if we don’t do well on the West Coast? No. Our guys know what’s at the stake the rest of the season and that road trip includes that.”
Showalter on Machado hitting more balls to right and right-center: “He and Scott (Coolbaugh), they talk. You’re in a good feel, approach is habit. Then, when you get out of it a little bit, as much as you try to do things, there’s a lot of mechanical things that are hard to repeat, just like a pitcher’s delivery. It may look like he’s trying to pull the ball, but he’s not. Where your bat angle and your bat head can’t get where your body is taking you, it’s hard. Fastball, slider ...
“It’s not easy to go out there and say, ‘I’m going to hit the ball to right today.’ Plus, the pitchers know what you’re trying to do for the most part. Like Scott says all the time, there’s a mental approach and a physical approach. When you get those two things going together like Manny has right now, you get some good results.”
Jiménez on start: “It wasn’t pretty, but I got the job done. I was happy that I was able to compete. And they didn’t make it easy for me at all. They got a lot of hits. They took a good approach, hitting the ball to the opposite field. But our guys picked me up. Our guys scored a lot of runs and they played great defense.”
Jiménez on getting win without pitching at this best: “It feels good. It feels good to be able to go out there and it doesn’t matter how many runners I’ve got on base. I was able to minimize the damage because of the guys. They made great plays.”
Jiménez on the home runs: “It’s always fun when the guys go out there and score a lot of runs. Our lineup is capable of doing that every single night or every single day. So it’s not a surprise.”
Schoop on three straight home runs: “It’s really fun. When you go back-to-back-to-back, you score some runs early and Ubaldo pitched really good today. He attacked the zone. It’s fun when everybody’s hitting, and especially when we win.”
Schoop on team’s ability to hit home runs: “We’re just us. We believe in each other and we don’t pay attention (to talk). We pay attention inside and we try to win every ballgame to go to the playoffs. That’s all that matters. We just want to win more ballgames and go to the playoffs.”
Schoop on Machado: “He’s Manny. He’s just the best in the game for a reason. You know what he’s going to do. They’re still going to come to him. He’s hard to stop.”
Machado on split: “It was a great series. We played as a team. We came up short. We battled that day and then came back and played well and lost the second game. It’s part of the game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but at the end of the day you’ve got to go out there and keep playing baseball, keep doing what we’re doing. Do things that we did today.
“Our pitching staff is doing well, we’re playing as a team. We’re doing things correct. We’re finally starting to sink in so hopefully we can take this road trip and get some more Ws.”
Machado on West Coast trip: “It’s never easy. Every night’s hard. You’ve got to go out there and produce. Some days you feel great, some days you feel like crap. You’ve just got to go out there and grind it out and keep playing baseball.
“We’re finally playing good baseball. Things are starting to sink in and the pitching staff is doing well. The bullpen is coming in and holding games. We’re finally starting to get some key hits and try to continue doing the little things and start getting some wins.”
Machado on his turnaround: “Hits are falling. Things are going well and we’re playing well. We’re playing as a team. People are getting on base. There are a lot of things that are clicking. It always helps when everyone’s hitting. The pitching staff is keeping us in the dugout, we’re trying to go out there and produce. We just got to keep doing that.”
Machado on team’s home run binge: “We’re playing baseball. We’ve been scuffling. We were scuffling for a while. Nothing’s been going our way. We weren’t hitting homers. It’s just part of the game. There’s ups and downs to it, there’s a roller coaster. Each guy tries to get on the wave and see what happens.”