The Orioles’ offense just keeps humming along. Leading the major leagues in runs scored this month, the Orioles beat Tampa Bay 12-5 today with 17 hits and three more home runs. In completing their first-ever four-game sweep of Tampa Bay, the Orioles scored 31 runs on 50 hits with nine homers since Friday.
“This was a fun series,” Adam Jones said after going 4-for-4 to raise his average to .265. “I think offensively we did a lot, scoring a lot of runs. We just passed the baton and fed off the guy in front of us. Try to square something up and not do too much and we found ourselves in good hitters’ counts. Now see if we can duplicate that on the west coast.
“It is good to take care of our home turf. Now we have to go out to San Diego and scratch and claw and get some wins against the Padres.”
Jones also had praise for reliever Dylan Bundy. After starter Tyler Wilson allowed five runs over five innings, Bundy pitched three scoreless innings to protect the lead and help Wilson pick up his first home win. Bundy gave up two hits and fanned four.
“Three great innings, six, seven, eight from Bundy. Was terrific, about as good as you can get,” Jones said.
Chris Davis hit the Orioles’ first homer. He fell behind in the count with the bases loaded against lefty Drew Smyly in the bottom of the first. Then he lifted a flyball to left for his seventh career grand slam and a 4-0 lead.
“He threw me two breaking balls to start me off,” Davis said. “First one was not a good pitch. I was trying to be way too aggressive in that situation. After I got to two strikes I was basically just trying to see the ball up. He threw a fastball up out over the plate. I got enough of it to hit it out. I was glad to come back and have a productive at-bat after two not very aggressive swings.”
Davis was the designated hitter today and did not play in the field.
“We’ve had conversations about days off and stuff like that. He knows I want to be in there every day,” Davis said. “It’s nice to DH and kind of get half a game off so to speak and not have to be out there on defense. Obviously with a day off tomorrow, it is going to little bit more of a break. Hopefully I’ll be re-charged and ready to go.”
The Orioles scored 20 runs in the last two games of this series and went 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position today. Over the last three games, they are 14-for-31 (.452) with RISP.
“We did a great job of just kind of keeping it going,” Davis said of the offense. “Everybody was swinging well and having good at-bats. No one was giving at-bats away and I feel like we didn’t try to win the game with one swing. Just took what they gave us and it really snowballed for us.
“This was a good homestand for us. I thought we were playing good clean baseball. That is what we needed getting ready to go on a west coast trip for the second time this year. We’ll try to keep the momentum going.”
Bundy talked about his outing where he threw 57 pitches, 38 for strikes. He has been getting several days of rest between appearances in recent games. It has worked well for him.
“Definitely,” Bundy said. “I was a starter my whole career, so it makes sense why I am a bit more crisp and have a bit more on the fastball with four days or three days rest. I’m just adjusting to the role they give me and throwing when they want me to. Today was throwing some offspeed pitches in fastball counts and locating them. Trying to keep hitters off balance, but still go at them at the same time.”
When he took the mound in the sixth the Orioles had an 8-5 lead.
“Basically my job was to keep the game where it’s at and luckily I was able to stay in there with that (lead) still intact,” Bundy said.
Bundy knows it may not always be easy for the Orioles and manager Buck Showalter to get him all that rest between appearances.
“Absolutely,” he said with a laugh. “It is hard to get four days off and then have the perfect situation for me to come in and get innings. What I did notice was my pitch count was 57. That is good for me to get my pitch count up. Not good for a normal reliever.”
Wilson talked about his outing. He allowed a career-high 10 hits today.
“I think that today was a great team win,” Wilson said. “Personally it wasn’t a very good performance on my end. There are some things to learn from. I started falling into some patterns early on in the game that Dom (Chiti) did a great job noticing that we talked about and worked through. Tribute to the Rays, they put some good swings on balls. Wish I could have done a better job of getting that third out and closing out that fifth inning. Need to do a better job job of shutting that down.”
The Orioles went 7-2 on this homestand that was interrupted briefly by a one-game trip to Texas. Now they play nine games on the west coast starting with Tuesday’s game at San Diego.
Texas beat Boston 6-2 today as every AL East team but the Orioles lost today. The Orioles (45-30) now lead the divison by four games, their largest lead of the 2016 season.