The Orioles made it through today’s game without a trade. Adam Jones stayed in the lineup, and likely will continue to do so through the season unless swayed to revoke his 10-5 rights. Brad Brach remained in the bullpen, inactive since Tuesday except for conversation and munching sunflower seeds.
The games still matter to this crew despite the constant chatter surrounding a rebuild. Their opponent over the weekend can verify it.
The Orioles jumped on Rays starter Yonny Chirinos for three runs in the first inning, Dylan Bundy worked through the seventh, Chris Davis homered twice and Jonathan Schoop continued his power binge in an 11-5 victory before an announced crowd of 22,454 at Camden Yards.
Eight batters came to the plate in the first inning, which included Davis’ two-run homer to center field on a ball that popped out of Mallex Smith’s glove as he reached over the fence, and the Orioles never fell behind. On the field, they don’t seem to be buying the seller narrative.
The Orioles (32-74) have won three straight games for only the second time this season. They claimed four in a row from May 9-12.
The Rays dropped back to .500. This is the second time in franchise history that they gave up 10 runs or more in three consecutive games, the other from April 4-6, 2001.
Today’s outburst gave the Orioles 10 runs or more in three straight games for the first time since June 26-29, 2016. They’ve totaled 15 hits in each of the last three games.
Davis added a two-run shot to left field off Diego Castillo in the eighth inning for the 20th multi-homer game of his career and first since July 18, 2017.
Schoop has homered in six of the last seven games, his three-run shot today off Andrew Kittredge in the seventh inning moving the Orioles ahead 9-3. Schoop was robbed last night. Otherwise, he would have been padding his major league record for consecutive home runs by a second baseman instead of just a lead.
Rookie catcher Austin Wynns greeted reliever Hunter Wood with a home run leading off the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Orioles a 5-2 lead and they increased it in the fifth on Jace Peterson’s RBI single after Davis walked and Joey Rickard singled.
Rickard isn’t on the trading block, but he could be impacted by the moves while trying to hold onto his roster spot. He needs more games against the Rays.
Rickard began the day 8-for-19 with three doubles, three home runs and 13 RBIs against Tampa Bay this season. He walked in the first inning and singled in the third and fifth. Nothing can slow down this guy except for an off-day and trips next week to New York, Arlington, Texas, and St. Petersburg, Fla.
How much will the roster change when the Orioles return home?
Clubs are checking on Bundy’s availability, the Braves among them, but the Orioles remain focused on their pending free agents. Bundy allowed only three hits through the first six innings, on solo home runs by C.J. Cron in the second and fourth and Jake Bauers in the sixth.
Bundy has surrendered 26 home runs in his 20 starts this season. Three others were washed away by the rainout in his last outing against the Red Sox, which led to him working today on three days’ rest.
Whatever concerns remained from Bundy’s struggles following his stint on the disabled list might have dissipated today. He notched his 11th quality start after allowing three runs and four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts, and his first since June 23 in Atlanta, where he sprained his left ankle while running the bases.
Can’t take away the home runs on a sunny day, but without them it really would have been a dominant start.
Jones singled three times and walked in his first four plate appearances. He had a run-scoring single in the second inning after the Rays committed two errors.
Tim Beckham doubled and scored in the first inning, singled in the second and reached on an infield hit in the seventh. He also committed his 13th error on a poor throw in the seventh while trying to turn a double play, but he continues to get acclimated to shortstop after changing back following the Manny Machado trade.
It’s been a work in progress.
“I actually thought the last four or five games that he’s really looked ... his clock’s better, his comfort level, his footwork. I think he’s been more comfortable there,” manager Buck Showalter said before the game.
“I think he’s starting to move better. Let’s face it, he had some pretty extensive (core muscle) surgery there with both sides and hopefully will take care of a problem that’s been bugging him for quite a while, even in his Tampa days. I’ve seen a difference. He’s running the base a little more recklessly as far as not, ‘OK, is that going to hurt? Is that going to hurt?’ It’s steps.”
Beckham reached in the seventh on a ground ball to the right side.
“Unless you really knew him you may not noticed it,” Showalter said, “but you could see there was some real caution early on, even though he wouldn’t admit it. But he just seems to be moving freer and just his clock and his tempo are better at shortstop. I think he’s settled in there a little bit now.
“I said at the time I thought it would take a while for him to really ... I threw out the first week and said just let him settle in there. As much work as he did at shortstop, let the game speed kind of settle in.”
Reliever Mychal Givens allowed two runs in the eighth, but the Orioles ran their total to 37 in the past three games and headed for Monday’s off-day on a nice little roll and wondering who’s next to drop off the roster.
Note: Triple-A Norfolk catcher Andrew Susac is done for the year after breaking his left wrist last week while being struck by a foul ball.