After they lost three of four last weekend to Toronto and lost again on Friday night, it was big for the Orioles to win the last two games. They took the series from Toronto and emerged 5-5 over the last 10 against Boston and Toronto. The Orioles beat the Blue Jays 11-6 today in front of 39,024 fans at Camden Yards.
They began this 10-game stretch in first place and will end it that way. The Orioles have lost just one home series in 12 this year, going 9-1-2. They have a .500 record or better against every other AL East team and are now 5-5 versus the Blue Jays.
“We are trying to win them all,” manager Buck Showalter said. “But that’s behind us. We don’t look at any part of the schedule with a sense of dread or licking your chops. It is what it is. San Diego, I’ve been watching them the last three days. They are going to be a challenge for us, too. They are playing well now. And of course Texas. Make sure we pack the shorts for BP tomorrow if we take it.”
The Orioles had a season-high 19 hits today, their most since recording 26 on Aug. 16, 2015 versus Oakland. Matt Wieters went 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs and Jonathan Schoop went 3-for-5 with a long two-run homer and three RBIs. The Orioles had six players with multi-hit games and went 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
“Matt had a big day,” Showalter said. “That’s a taxing day on catchers. To be able to get four hits and catch that game. Concessions probably did well today. Especially the water people. Ryan (Flaherty) had a great game. He’s always been able to give us what we need in a time of need. He had some, I remember the way he played down the stretch in the playoffs in ‘14. He takes it seriously, being there for the team. We are fortunate to be able to move him around and give us what we need.”
Chris Tillman became a 10-game winner today. He threw four scoreless innings and gave up four runs on two homers in the second inning. Over five innings he allowed five hits and four runs and is now 10-1 with an ERA of 3.11. Over his past 11 starts, Tillman is 9-0 with a 2.78 ERA.
Today he broke a tie for 13th on the all-time Orioles’ wins list with Dick Hall, moving into 13th with 66 victories. Next on the list for Tillman is Sidney Ponson, who is 12th with 73 wins.
“It’s a challenge against them,” Showalter said. “It’s a hot, offensive-friendly day and he had that one inning that got his pitch count up. He’s coming off a 119 pitches last time. I didn’t want to push him. He wasn’t real happy with the old manager. He said he felt great, and I said we want to keep you that way. (Odrisamer) Despaigne gave us some needed innings and Brad (Brach) did the good job he’s been doing all year.
“We’ve got (Dylan) Bundy and Despaigne but we’ve got to have length tomorrow and the next day. We’re just trying to get to that off day. You can tell Toronto has an off day tomorrow. You use your pen differently. We’ll probably leave Brad back here and save another $400 on a hotel.”
MORE CLUBHOUSE QUOTES
Wieters on taking the series from Toronto: “It’s going to be a battle all the way to the end. We know that. We’re ready for it. Now we just get ready for the game tomorrow and that is the best way we can go about it.
“It’s important to win games. When it comes down to it, the teams that will win divisions and make the playoffs, will win games. When you play teams 19 times, everyone kind of knows each other well and sometimes you have to do some things differently than you normally would.”
Wieters on winning as Manny Machado serves his suspension: “Just keep playing. Next man up. And Flash (Ryan Flaherty) has done it for us so many times. So be able to get him out there, everybody has the utmost confidence in him. We’ll get Manny back now in three games, but until then, we have confidence in whoever goes out there to do the job.”
Schoop on the win and missing Machado: “It was really big to take this series. Every win against a divisional opponent is really big. I’m going to miss him for sure. We will keep in touch texting and he’ll get freshened up and come back stronger than before.”
Schoop, did you get all of that 458-foot homer?: “No, I still have a little bit more in the tank. It just feels good. Score more so we can get a win. Felt really good.”
Tillman on his outing: “I finished up good. Little struggle early on, fastball command was off. But made some pitches when I needed to. They hit some pitches that I wanted to throw. Devon (Travis) fouled off a lot of pitches, had an impressive at-bat and put a good swing on it (for a homer).
“The boys picked me up big time today. We came out of it with a big series win. Anytime you come out with a series victory in the division, it’s important. Every game counts as much, but in the division is big. We have a tough schedule coming up and this is a big series win.”
Tillman wanted to stay in the game beyond five innings: “Yeah, I felt really good actually. Like I was starting to get on a roll, get on track. Our bullpen needs a rest. Was rough for me early and I understand.”
Tillman, do you take pride in being 10-1?: “I take a lot of pride in getting deep into ballgames and giving my team a chance to win. The record goes out the window. You have to fight to stay in that game and give your team a chance and that is what I take a lot of pride in.”