An 18-2 win is in the books and Orioles manager Buck Showalter is celebrating by leaning against a brick wall beside the home plate field entrance and talking to the players’ kids before the Family Day game.
What else were you expecting?
The Orioles are four games above .500 for the first time since July 5. They’ve scored 30 runs in three games since being no-hit in Seattle. They’re tied with the Angels, who play later tonight, for the second wild card.
What’s it mean to Showalter?
“We’ll see how (Chris) Tillman is,” he said, referencing Monday night’s starter. “We’ve got 40-something games and we’re engaged in the competition.”
They dominated it today, tying the franchise record with 26 hits, a total they hadn’t reached since 1980. Gerardo Parra tied his career high with five hits and Steve Clevenger set his own with four. Caleb Joseph’s four RBIs also were a career high.
Parra is the first Oriole with five hits in a game since Manny Machado on July 7, 2014 at Nationals Park.
The Orioles sent 13 batters to the plate while scoring nine runs in the fifth inning. Parra, Adam Jones and Chris Davis had two hits. According to STATS, the Orioles didn’t have multiple players collect multiple hits in an inning since May 9, 2009 against the Yankees, when Gregg Zaun and Luke Scott accomplished the feat
Showalter tried to call off the dogs, removing Machado, Jones, Davis and J.J. Hardy, and letting his Rule 5 pitcher bat in the eighth.
Jason Garcia was instructed not to swing against Athletics first baseman Ike Davis, their emergency pitcher for the second time this season. Garcia walked on four pitches after Jimmy Paredes doubled.
Garcia turned in two scoreless innings in relief.
“I thought Garcia presented himself well,” Showalter said. “He wasn’t supposed to swing there, but he put his batting gloves on for the photo op. Then I watch him on deck and he was pine tarring his bat. I said, ‘Why are you putting pine tar on?’ He goes, ‘Oh yeah.’”
Showalter said it didn’t strike him as odd to have Garcia facing Davis.
“We knew he was going to hit there,” Showalter said. “Weird? No. I’ve been in extended spring. No much happens up here that you haven’t seen before.”
Garcia enjoyed the moment.
“Earlier in the year we took BP and I thought being a long relief guy, getting innings, I’d get to bat. But they kind of told me, ‘Don’t even think about it,’ so I was really shocked,” Garcia said.
What about the batting gloves and pine tar?
“Got to look the part,” he said. “I wanted to swing, but ...
“It was funny. I was enjoying it. It’s kind like a once-in-a-lifetime thing, especially here. I don’t know when the last time I’ve seen an American League game, a position player throwing against a pitcher. It was kind of cool.”
Garcia avoided eye contact with Davis.
“I was just kind of taking it all in, the moment,” Garcia said. “It was cool, it was a cool experience.”
Showalter has been on both sides of this type of blowout, so he could sympathize with the A’s, who received a failing grade for their pitching and defense.
“You’ve worn both shoes,” he said. “You’re dealing with guys this talented at this level, it can snowball one way or the other. Just went our way today, a lot of things.”
Joseph produced a two-run double with two outs in the second after it appeared that the Orioles would waste a first-and-third, no-out opportunity, and they took off from there.
“I thought Caleb had a big hit to kind of open things up and keep a good momentum going,” Showalter said. “It looked like they were going to get off easy there. And I thought Wei-Yin (Chen) giving us six solid innings and get our bullpen back on its feet, so to speak.
“You get through it. We’re going to see one of the best pitchers (Sonny Gray) in baseball tomorrow, so you’ve got to turn the page very quickly.”
The Orioles needed a laugher after the last two nights, when they’ve fought back to win on walk-off home runs.
“You’re still having to do a lot of things from coaching and managing standpoint,” Showalter said. “Making sure you keep everything in a flow for tomorrow’s game, but you never take anything for granted. We had some things we wanted to get done out of the bullpen.
“I was hoping to get a strong outing out of Wei-Yin. It was very sticky, hot day after a lot of really good weather for us. First time you hit that, I was really impressed with our guys’ intensity today.”
Parra was 5-for-5 with his second home run in two days before lining out against Davis.
“One thing that’s really impressed me about him so far, this guy is a good baserunner,” Showalter said. “His read on Chris’ ball, a lot of guys wait on that ball and don’t score. He’s made four or five baserunning plays that have been really impressive. It was a good day for him. He’s a baseball player. He’s fit in real well. I’m glad we have him.”
The Orioles are 37-5 when Joseph has an RBI and 18-2 when he collects at least two, which he did with his clutch hit in the second inning.
“That was big,” Showalter said. “That was probably a big moment in the game after we had a ball in the sun and they scratched across a run there. That was a big momentum change. It looked like they were going to wiggle out of it. Caleb had a big hit there for us. He’s had a lot for us.”
Showalter said removing Hardy and Machado was done to provide rest. Not because of Hardy’s back or the grounder that slammed off Machado’s foot.
“They’re fine,” he said. “I haven’t been told yet, other than normal beatupness. We’ll have a real challenge with Gray tomorrow, that’s for sure.”