The Orioles’ first game after the non-waiver trade deadline came and went was a success. They won 2-1 in walk-off fashion over one of baseball’s hottest teams, the Kansas City Royals.
Coming into this series, Kansas City had won two of three in Fenway Park and was 10-1 in its last 11 games. The Royals’ 33-18 record since June 1 was second-best in the majors to the Dodgers at 41-10 and the Royals were 14-8 versus American League East teams, including 3-0 against the Orioles.
So, yeah, that was a good win and nice start to the post-trade deadline schedule.
Zach Britton is still an Oriole and got the win with a scoreless 10-pitch top of the ninth. At 51-54, the Orioles are now 4 1/2 games back of K.C. for the AL’s second wild card spot.
“We are playing some teams right now that, (if) we win some series, we can be in it,” Britton said. “That is the mindset now. We made the deal for (Tim) Beckham today and added (Jeremy) Hellickson, so just kind of play it out and see where we go. Today was a good start.”
Britton was not the only Orioles player that was the subject of trade rumors, but his name came up the most. When the trade deadline passed, perhaps some pressure was relieved on Britton and the entire team.
“It can only be a good thing. You get some things off your mind that shouldn’t be there and just focus on pitching,” Britton said.
Last season, right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez had a nice run of pitching late in the year and the Orioles would love to see a repeat. He’s now put together back-to-back quality starts after allowing one run over seven frames last night.
He sees the trade deadline passing as a positive for the team.
“We all know it’s part of the game,” Jiménez said. “Everyone gets a little, I wouldn’t say pressure, but you have it in the back of your mind. You might lose some of your teammates or gain new ones. But after that, you just say, ‘This is our team. It’s time to take care of business.’ “
Jiménez is confident the Orioles will make a strong run at a playoff spot.
“Yeah, there is no doubt about it,” he said. “We have a talented club. It is a matter of going out every night and giving everything we have. Let’s see where we are two months from now.”
When Craig Gentry singled in the game-winner in the last of the ninth, it was some nice redemption. He had been 0-for-3 in the game and popped up with the bases loaded in the second.
“It has been a battle, been a big grind, not only this year, but the last few years (to get to the majors),” Gentry said. “For something like this to happen to me, it’s pretty amazing.”
Gentry came up with his first career walk-off hit and the Orioles came up with their seventh walk-off win of the year. The Orioles and Royals have played four games on the season with all four decided by a single run.
Manny Machado had two doubles last night, his 22nd and 23rd of the year. He is 6-for-12 with four doubles over his past three games. In July, Machado hit .327/.379/.490 with eight doubles, three homers, 15 RBIs, 16 runs and an OPS of .870. He is batting .323 with an OPS of .810 since the All-Star Game.
If you missed some of Monday’s stories, click here to read what Hellickson said about joining the Orioles. Click here to read more of Britton’s postgame quotes about remaining an Oriole. Click here to see last night’s game blog, where I wrote about new O’s pitcher Yefry Ramírez, acquired yesterday from the Yankees and headed to Double-A Bowie.