Wrapping up the win that sends Orioles back into first place

TORONTO - Even if the Orioles were not calling this a big win, it sure felt like one. Down 2-0 to Toronto in the seventh to American League ERA leader Aaron Sanchez, they scored twice to tie the game and then won it in 12 innings.

When the Orioles scored four in the 12th off the Blue Jays bullpen, it not only broke a 2-2 tie, but perhaps got the team out its offensive doldrums. It for sure sent them back into first place with a 6-2 win at Rogers Centre, where they had lost five in a row.

Schoop-Hitting-Gray-Sidebar.jpgJonathan Schoop’s RBI single off Franklin Morales broke the 2-2 tie and Adam Jones’ three-run shot off Jesse Chavez then broke it open. The Orioles ended a run of 19 consecutive game scoring five or fewer runs. They snapped a season-high five-game losing streak and are now 59-45 and moved a half-game ahead of Toronto after relinquishing first place yesterday.

The Orioles bullpen today combined for 6 1/3 scoreless on one hit with six strikeouts. They did this versus a Toronto team that had scored 45 runs in six games this year versus the O’s in this park. Mychal Givens got a win a day after having one of his poorest outings of 2016. The O’s ‘pen leads the majors with 26 wins.

Manager Buck Showalter picked up his 517th win as O’s skipper to tie Paul Richards for second on the club’s all-time wins list behind Earl Weaver at 1,480. It is also his 1,399th all-time as a manger, tying him for 28th on Major League Baseball’s all-time list.

Some postgame quotes:

Showalter on whether this was a big win: “Move on. Another challenge our guys responded to. They have a solid pitching staff and their starters are really good. You have to get a real solid start and Chris (Tillman), he was engaged in it. Chris was the big difference for us. Obviously, we pitched some good innings out of the bullpen. Hung around long enough and got a big hit.”

Showalter on the work of the bullpen: “We haven’t had situations much to use them. I knew Darren (O’Day) and Zach (Britton) were going to pitch today. If Zach could keep his pitch count down the first inning, I could have used him for two. I don’t care about the save thing, try to keep one of the best pitchers in the game in. Mike, that was good to see, for a young pitcher. Darren, looks like he’s getting back into the contributing role. That bodes well for us.”

Showalter on O’s breaking five-game skid: “I don’t call it a slump. It’s period where they are not hitting at the level they spoiled us with. Their team is good, too. They pitched well. Our guys are strong mentally. They will get back in step. We are facing three really good pitchers the next three days. We get (Yu) Darvish, we got (Cole) Hamels. It’s the big leagues. That’s why they are where they are. But we got some guys that can pitch, too.”

Tillman on the victory: “They’re all big. We’ve had a tough stretch, but it’s good to get out of here with a win. It’s a good ballclub right now and to come away with one was good.”

Tillman on being picked up by the bullpen: “Always impressed with them. They’ve been good all year. You feel pretty comfortable with them coming into the game regardless of the situation. They picked me up big time today and hats off to them.”

Tillman on leaving Toronto in first place in the AL East: “I haven’t even thought about it. I didn’t know the placing or whatnot. It’s good to get out of a here with a win after losing the first two. It was a grind today and good to come out on top.”

Jones on the victory: “We won. We outplayed them - not outplayed them, we outlasted them. They grinded, we grinded. Good game to go, especially going into the off-day. A much-needed win.”

Jones on the bullpen’s contributions: “That’s been one of our strong suits, our pitching staff. We count on them and count on them and count on them, and today they just came through again.”

Jones on Schoop getting the big hit to give the O’s the lead: “He’s been having a good year. Nobody cares about the last couple days. It’s about what you do in the present and in that moment, he had one hell of an at bat. He drove him in.”

Givens on shaking off Saturday’s struggles and getting another chance: “I’m not a big guy in thinking about the past, because that is the past for a reason. That’s what it’s called. Just looking for another chance and I got it to go in and pound the zone.”

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