Orioles manager Buck Showalter didn’t want to place too much importance on today’s game despite the bait dangling in front of him. He refused to bite.
His club is heading to Milwaukee to start a 10-game, 11-day road trip. Better to split the four-game series with the Indians at Camden Yards than lose three of four.
“We can’t live in that world,” Showalter said following a 4-2 win over the Indians before 37,649. “If you do, oh my gosh, if we lose three out of four at home... you can’t do that. These are major league players. Every day you have to assume the position, see what the boys have in store for you and, more importantly, what the game has in store for you. If you live in that world of gloom and doom and oh my gosh...
“The toughest part of this homestand was driving home and seeing everybody downtown in orange, knowing we didn’t return the favor of playing better.”
They were better today, though Miguel Gonzalez’s four walks and hit batter could have come back to haunt him. Instead, he held the Indians to two runs over six innings for his fifth quality start.
“OK,” Showalter said. “I like the fact he didn’t give in. The first inning was a little frustrating for him. The walks, we gave up what, five walks and a hit by pitch? We were fortunate to hold them to two runs doing that. But I thought the bullpen was real good.
“Miggy, the last out he got was big, obviously. He was good. He didn’t break.”
Manny Machado made it into the lineup after batting practice and hit an opposite-field home run, his second of the season, to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning.
“He wanted to play yesterday,” Showalter said. “I kind of checked him last night, telling him to get ready to hit. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.
“When he ran the one foul ball out, the flare to right field, I didn’t know what was going on. But he felt good. I’ll talk to him on the plane. We have a quick turnaround.”
Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells went to the mound to check on Zach Britton with two outs in the ninth inning after the left-hander fielded Ryan Raburn’s chopper to the third base side of the mound, spun and fired a throw to first.
“He just caught his spike,” Showalter said. “It’s a nice little time to take a blow there. That’s something he and our guys work diligently on this spring. Especially Zach and Brian (Matusz) have really improved. Today was a good example. That was a tough play.”
Britton is now 2-for-2 in save chances - this season and in his career. He sure seems to be the closer, though Showalter won’t hang a label on him.
“I think it’s too early,” Showalter said. “He’s had a couple of chances to pitch the last three outs, and there will be some times when he’ll need to get us some big outs in the seventh or eighth, depending on the situation.”