The Orioles completed their first sweep of the season tonight with a 6-5 win over the Red Sox at Camden Yards.
They’ve won four games in a row, their longest streak of the season, and six of their last seven. They’re one game below .500 for the first time since May 29.
“We have momentum until we leave the locker room and get back here tomorrow,” Showalter said, already looking ahead to the upcoming three-game series against the Yankees. “The best team in our division so far this year is coming in. It’s tough because there are a lot of people having trouble beating them. Now we have to try to see if we can. They’re very talented. They have a lot of weapons.”
The Orioles are down a man, but they’ve gone 5-1 during left-hander Brian Matusz’s suspension.
“You can withstand it if the guys who come in to pitch out of the bullpen finish the job that they have to do,” Showalter said. “If you have to bring another guy in to finish that, that’s where the problem comes in. These guys have done a good job of finishing. Chaz (Roe) gave up the home run, but got right back on the horse. That was impressive.”
Showalter was most impressed by Nolan Reimold, playing his second game since the Orioles purchased his contract. He homered, walked and made several fine running catches in left and right field among his eight putouts.
“I was thinking tonight watching Nolan, this is a guy who basically broke his neck diving in the stands for his team, his family, his city, whatever,” Showalter said. “Going after some of the balls tonight, it just reminds me what the separator is of these guys at this level. Kind of put yourself in his shoes. That’s pretty impressive. I remember the first time I saw him run a ball down over in Sarasota in that corner, kind of slaps you back. Pretty impressive. He played really well tonight defensively on both sides of the field.
“You guys saw him, the best, before I got here and I heard so many people talk about it. It seems like he could never... He had a hammy, he had an Achilles I believe it was. It seemed like it was always something. And just like I tell the guys all the time, if you just stay true and keep grinding, the baseball gods are pretty good to you, and that’s what Nolan’s done through thick and thin.
“A lot of guys would have given in, but to have a good season you’ve got to have things like that happen. I know everybody feels good for Nolan. It’s been a long journey for him.”
“Great baserunning play. Great,” Showalter said. “I don’t know how many people would have made it. That’s a good baseball play. To have that wherewithal. I said to myself as soon as it happened, ‘What a great baseball play.’”
Showalter used three relievers, including closer Zach Britton, who recorded his 17th save.
“We should be probably full throttle tomorrow in the bullpen,” he said. “I think after these three days we could get through the whole thing. I was trying to stay away from Tommy (Hunter) and Darren (O’Day) tonight. Brad (Brach) gave us some key work. The only hit he gave up was a jam-shot over J.J. (Hardy’s) head. Good to see him get back on the horse.”
The bullpen accepted the challenge of being short-handed.
“They kind of rally around it,” Showalter said. “Not that there’s a safety net. It was going to be a need. They saw it coming. They knew. They’re trying to pick up Brian and pick up the team. We brought Mike (Wright) in here. We’re covered until we get to Sunday, then Brian’s got to get some people out to be useful. He’s getting them out down in Sarasota, that’s for sure.”
Chris Tillman won at home for the first time since Sept. 20, 2014. He was charged with four runs over 5 2/3 innigs.
“You smell it. If you want it, you’ve got to go get it. It was sweltering out there. It was smoking,” Showalter said.
Here’s some chatter from the clubhouse, beginning with Reimold:
“I had a lot of fun getting out there in front of a good crowd and playing baseball and making some plays. So it was a lot of fun being out there tonight.” he said.
“It’s great to win the games. It’s fun. It’s what we want to do. Play well, put it together. At the same time, it’s usually a problem, (you) pitch, won’t hit, whatever. So all three phases, pitch, defense and hit, it was a good game tonight for us.”
What was Reimold thinking as he rounded the bases on his home run?
“I don’t think I was thinking,” he said. “It was just happening. But I was soaking it up. I was enjoying it. It was fun to be back out there in Camden and playing for the Orioles again.
“I always wanted to be here. I’m glad to be back. I appreciate it. I’m not taking anything for granted and playing baseball.”
Reimold is playing for the organization that drafted him after being designated for assignment last year and claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks.
“I never thought that far ahead, but I didn’t think I’d be back here, but I always wanted to, obviously,” he said. “That’s why it means a lot to me to be back here again. I just appreciate it.”
Machado believes the Orioles are turning the corner.
“Yeah, we’re playing good baseball,” he said. “We’re playing really good baseball. We’re playing D like we’re supposed to, our pitching staff is pitching well and we’re getting rhythm.”
Asked what’s been the biggest difference, Machado replied, “Our defense. We’re playing the defense we’re supposed to be playing on the Orioles and this organization.”
What about getting back Reimold and Wieters?
“It’s huge,” Machado said. “Those two guys are going to help this team win. It’s good to have Wieters back there behind the plate in the game and how much he means to this ballclub. Reimold is coming in here playing good D, doing what he has to do to help this team win, which is the most important part.”
And the bullpen?
“It’s been our pitching staff,” Machado said.” Our starting pitchers have been going late in the game and helping that bullpen out. Our bullpen on the other hand, has been lights out, which is the main thing. They’re going out there, getting after it and getting the outs they’re supposed to get done.”
The bullpen allowed one run over 12 innings in the series.
“It’s been good,” Brach said. “I think for any team, especially us, we just want to get rolling. Because when your bullpen is shutdown you’re going to win games. It’s pretty evident in baseball. It’s the way it goes. If you have guys that can get outs from the seventh to the ninth, you’re gonna win a lot of games.”
Was it a challenge having six relievers before Wright arrived today?
“Not too much, we didn’t really think about it too much,” Brach said. “It’s just kind of we know whenever you get the ball, whether it is four outs, six outs, seven outs, eight outs, you’ve just got to go out there and try to keep the lead and give the team a chance to win.”
Think of it as passing the baton in this series.
“Definitely, it’s awesome,” Brach said. “Any time you win three games and every guy out there got a chance to be involved, it’s big, because I know it helps with confidence big time. You’re out there trying to win games and when you’re able to go out and help the team win, it definitely helps.”
Sort of reminds you of how the bullpen got on a roll last season.
“Yeah, definitely,” Brach said. “I was kind of having that feeling this series and I hope we can continue. It just seems that the excitement is starting to get there, everybody is starting to find their little niche and hopefully we can keep rolling.”