Showalter speaks after 8-3 win (Atkins optioned)

Today’s attendance: 17,754

The Orioles have won back-to-back games for the first time since June 19-20, and veteran left-hander Mark Hendrickson is a big reason why they defeated the Indians today, 8-3, at Camden Yards.

Hendrickson replaced starter Mitch Atkins and threw three scoreless innings.

Buck Showalter’s postgame comments after the Birds beat the Indians 8-3

“He was probably the key to the game, the innings he put up there,” manager Buck Showalter said.

“Mitch was very fortunate to get through the innings he did. He wasn’t carrying much location today. It’s been a real challenge for a lot of our starters to locate the fastball and it’s something we’re going to have to get better at. Just about all the balls they hit off him were balls that were in places we weren’t trying to go.

“Mark Hendrickson was a huge part of (the win). I felt like if we could hold them there with that left-handed dominant lineup, we might take a run at them. Robert (Andino) had a big blow. I thought Mark Reynolds had an impressive at-bat trying to get the ball the other way there and set up that tack-on run, sixth run, and that was good to see.”

Andino laid down a nice bunt with Derrek Lee breaking for home that produced one of those tack-on runs.

“Fortunately, it worked out,” Showalter said. “We got real good execution from Derrek. Derrek had a hustle double there for a big guy, day game, playing every day. And the break at third you’re supposed to make where you don’t give it up, and Robert didn’t show it too early. A lot of things go into that, so they executed it real well.”

The game could have gotten away from the Orioles after Atkins allowed three runs in the first inning.

“I think Mark Hendrickson kept it from snowballing,” Showalter said. “Felt like having (Troy) Patton here and Mark here and Gonzo (Michael Gonzalez) available, I wasn’t going to let the game get away from us. We had some defense I thought against their lineup and I was trying to stay away from Patton today with Boston being predominantly left-handed, too.

“In the American League, you see lineups where they can run seven or eight left-handed hitters out there, and the next day seven or eight right-handers. That’s why you ask people down below, ‘Can a left-hander get a right-handed hitter out and can a right-hander get a left-handed hitter out?’ If you can’t, you go down to the bullpen. Simple as that.”

Hendrickson could have opted to become a free agent, but he stayed at Triple-A Norfolk to be closer to his York, Pa. home. And Camden Yards is much closer to it.

“I was happy that he did,” Showalter said. “Andy (MacPhail) and the organization have been very good to Mark, and Mark’s been good to us in return. I don’t know how many guys with his background and his experience level would have done that. He lives in Pennsylvania. He drives back and forth about an hour each day. He struggled a little bit early, and then he started coming on. And it was something we had been looking at when we saw that we weren’t going to have the luxury of carrying a one-hitter pitcher like (Clay) Rapada. Mark did what he had to do. There’s a reason why a guy like him has stuck around for so long. We like what he brings to the club between the lines on a given night, and he gets it. He gets the reality of this game and what it’s about and he doesn’t let failures snowball the way he treats people or the way he competes.”

Koji Uehara has pitched in three straight games. He retired the side in order in the ninth on only 11 pitches. Then he celebrated a certain soccer victory today.

“We talk to him every day,” Showalter said. “Sometimes, when it’s that quick of a turnaround from the night before...and the other thing is he threw 12 pitches last night and 20 in the two innings, so there’s not some max effort. That’s about the extent of it. We felt like that was a good spot for us. He’s going to be down anyway tomorrow more than likely. We’ll see. If he comes in tomorrow and... what did he threw today, 10 or 11? It’s nice to have a clean inning there when you have the lead. It does a little something for the mentality of the club.

“As you’ve seen, we’ve been pretty over-protective sometimes, but we want him around. He’s 36, 37 years old and we’re very protective of what he can bring for us. He’s putting together some type of year.”

Matt Angle made his major league debut in left field. He ran down a couple of fly balls and drew a walk.

“Impressive defensively,” Showalter said. “Good first step. Real accurate thrower. Charges the ball well. Made a play down the line that was not an easy play for a guy who’s never played left field in this ballpark. (Wayne) Kirby had him out there about 11:15, 11:20 today so he wouldn’t be cold turkey. I was hoping and praying he’d get a hit. We got some good times on him down the line. Kind of as advertised.”

Update: Following the win, the Orioles announced they have optioned Atkins to Triple-A Norfolk. Atkins made three starts for the Orioles and pitched to an 8.44 ERA.

A corresponding roster move will be announced tomorrow, but third baseman Josh Bell and pitcher Mark Worrell are heading to Baltimore. One will fill Atkins’ spot, while the other will replace Alfredo Simon as the pitcher heads to the Dominican Republic.

Bell is hitting just .257 for the Tides this season, but he has 16 home runs and 47 RBIs. Worrell, meanwhile, was selected to the 2011 International League All-Star team. The right-hander carries an 0-4 record and 2.95 ERA in 36 innings.

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