TORONTO - The Orioles have had a pair of seven-game winning streaks this year and now they have a five-game win streak after Thursday’s 6-5 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
This was a pleasing win for the Orioles in many ways. They won in a place where they went 3-6 last year. They came from behind, trailing 4-1 in the second and 5-3 in the fourth. They pinned a loss on Jays’ closer Roberto Osuna. They used situational hitting to take the lead in the ninth.
Chris Davis went 2-for-3 with a solo homer and a pair of sac flies. His homer in the seventh off lefty Aaron Loup tied the game 5-5 and his sac fly in the ninth provided a 6-5 lead. It was a big night for Davis, who was batting just .137 his previous 20 games.
“You look at Chris’ on-base percentage and he’s basically at the same place statistically as he was last year at this time,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We really liked the way that ended, so you take the good with the bad. But through thick and thin, he’s impacted our team defensively and also by the way he’s handled adversity.”
Showalter also had to be impressed with rookie right-hander Dylan Bundy. He pitched 2 1/3 scoreless on 47 pitches to get his second career win.
With two on in the sixth, Bundy got Josh Donaldson looking on a 97 mph fastball. An inning later, he hit a man and gave up a single to start the inning. But then he struck out Justin Smoak with a 95 mph fastball and got Russell Martin to bounce into a double play.
Showalter was impressed that Bundy pitched with the game on the line and got it done against a tough team on the road.
“When you know there’s such a fine line there, the only way you find out if young guys can graduate is giving them the opportunity,” Showalter said. “Now we didn’t have (Brad) Brach tonight and I had Mychal (Givens) for one inning at the most. It looked like we might be playing extra innings, so I didn’t want to blow up the long guy for tomorrow. You’re starting a road trip and you want to keep your bullpen intact. Dylan was holding his stuff pretty well, and they hadn’t seen him this year.”
Showalter praised starting pitcher Tyler Wilson for battling through 5 2/3 innings so he didn’t have to go the ‘pen before he did. It looked like Toronto would knock Wilson out early when the Jays led 4-1 in the second, but Wilson found his stuff to the point he got into the sixth.
“I know I need to get better and pitch a little bit better, and these things that I’m working on kind of have to come to fruition and all come together at once and hopefully that’s how it happens, but it’s in the process,” Wilson said.
“If we can manage the game to the point where we have the chance to win as a team, then I’m doing my job. It might not be pretty along the way and I’m definitely conscious of the things I need to get better at, but it makes it easier to go out there and pitch and compete and fight when we’ve got guys like that who are back there fighting along with me. I’m proud of that victory, however I contributed to it.”
With the Red Sox off last night, the Orioles gained ground on their two closest pursuers in the American League East. At 36-23, they have won eight of nine games and now lead second-place Boston by two games and third place Toronto by 5 1/2 games.
Over the last five games, the Orioles bullpen has thrown 14 scoreless innings allowing just six hits. The Orioles lead the majors in bullpen ERA, which is now down to 2.61.
The Orioles hit two more home runs Thursday night and have hit 20 over the last eight games and 52 in the last 30. Meanwhile, O’s pitchers have not given up a home run the last six games. Before this stretch, they gave up 19 home runs in the previous six games.
In the second game of this four-game series tonight, Kevin Gausman (0-3, 3.52 ERA) pitches against right-hander Marco Estrada (4-2, 2.41 ERA). Over his last four starts, Estrada is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.74.