He didn't hit any homers or rip any doubles in the gap, but Manny Machado once again had a huge impact on an Orioles win last night.
There were too many defensive plays to mention, but let's just the say the kid is playing third base at a level not seen in these part since a man wore No. 5 over there. I didn't think I'd ever say that.
But yes, Machado is playing third base at a Broooks Robinson level.
"That is what we preach about with Bobby (Dickerson) and Buck (Showalter). Defense wins games," Machado said.
Machado shows his smarts in subtle ways almost every night. Last night, it was when he batted in the last of the sixth. The Orioles had gone 14 innings this year without a run against Jason Vargas and trailed the Angels 1-0.
But Ryan Flaherty and Nick Markakis came up with hits that put runners on second and third with no outs. Machado came up and knew he had to at least get one run in, but he was trying to plate two.
"Well you know, just trying to get that run in," Machado said of his approach in that at-bat where he fell behind 0-2 in the count. "I saw them playing back and the first couple of pitches, you know, you are trying to drive in both runs. But once I got to two strikes, you are just trying to put the ball in play and at least get one in."
He did. It was a simple ground ball to second base, but it advanced two runners and was an example of a productive out. He set it up for the O's to get the lead. They didn't that inning, but Machado did his part.
He's now got a nine-game batting streak and he's had exactly one hit in each of those games.
Right now, he's a combination of a player with a strong work ethic, humble personality, game smarts and immense talent. Put that together and you get Machado.
And fans get to watch him play again in a few hours.