Zach Britton and Chris Tillman on the O’s win streak

The Orioles played mediocre or worse baseball for several months, but in the last few days they have gotten hot and perhaps turned around their season.

Back-to-back one-run wins over Boston and Seattle give the Orioles a five-game winning streak and put them a game over .500 at 66-65. They have not been over .500 since they were 31-30 June 11.

Zach Britton, who got a 14-pitch save last night, talked about the Orioles trying to claim a playoff berth after they had losing records in May (12-16), June (12-16) and July (12-14).

zach-britton-in-white-Sidebar.png“I’m not sure if people wrote us off yet or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did,” Britton said. “That second wild card gives a lot of teams hope.

“We’ve got a good ballclub and we knew that. You look at our record when we started the season playing our division, and that is what is coming up next for us. You know we were too good to play the type of baseball we had been playing. Obviously, we’ve got a long way to go to claw back. But, if we started playing the way we are capable of, we’re going to be right there to get into that wild card game. Everyone in this clubhouse feels that way.”

Britton by the way, had a very good sinker last night. He looked more Britton-like than he had in a while. He agreed with that assessment during a postgame interview.

“Absolutely, yeah. A couple of guys were saying that, from the side angle in our dugout, that was the best they’ve seen it in a while. So that’s good news. I think I felt a little more relaxed. It’s been a grind for me this year but, you know, hopefully I get back to my former self a little bit and get back to the way I want to pitch. Especially going into September, that would be huge for everybody,” Britton said.

The Orioles have outscored their opponents 40-17 during the win streak, which started with last Wednesday’s 12-inning walk-off win over Oakland.

Last night’s starter, Chris Tillman, talked about the win streak.

“I think (we are playing good) all-around baseball. We’re playing better. We are definitely swinging the bats really well right now. Defense is fun to watch. I enjoy watching this team show up every day. The pitching is also better. It all starts and ends with pitching. You don’t pitch, you don’t win. That is probably the key to it.”

The O’s rotation had given up just six earned runs in 25 2/3 innings the last four games before Tillman was charged with six runs in 5 1/3 last night.

During the win streak the O’s team batting average is .330 and the team is batting .414 (24-for-58) with runners in scoring position. The O’s bullpen has recorded 11 scoreless innings the past four games.

Adam Jones hit his 250th career homer last night, and it was also his 25th for this season. He is the first Oriole ever to produce seven straight seasons of 25 or more homers. Cal Ripken Jr. did that for six years consecutively from 1982 through 1987. Jones is one of 28 players since 1990 with at least seven straight 25-homer years.

The O’s Trey Mancini went 3-for-4 with three singles last night. Over his past four games, he is 10-for-17 (.588) with five RBIs. He is batting .519 (14-for-27) during a seven-game hitting streak with one double, one triple, one homer and eight RBIs. He has raised his average during the stretch from .282 to .297.

Teacher versus center fielder today: Jones will take on the winner of the 2017 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Fan Challenge, Sparrows Point High School teacher Kelly Karwacki, in a cooking competition this afternoon at Dempsey’s Brew Pub & Restaurant.

Jones invited fans to head to the kitchen to cook up their signature dish and to share the finished product on Instagram or Twitter using #IChallengeAJ. Karwacki’s entry, a salmon panini, earned her a head-to-head cookoff challenge against Jones to see who could make the most mouthwatering meal.

Today, both Karwacki and Jones will create their signature dishes for a panel of local celebrity judges. Coverage of the competition will air tonight on MASN2 during “O’s Xtra”, the Orioles’ exclusive pregame show, before the Birds take on the Mariners, and on MASN’s social media platforms.

“I’m excited to meet and compete against Adam Jones, and I plan to bring my confidence to the contest like he does every day on the field,” said Karwacki.

Judges of the closed-to-the public event include Dempsey’s sous chef Chris Person and former Oriole Mike Bordick. MASN broadcaster Gary Thorne will serve as emcee for the event.

“It’s a pleasure to be part of the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Fan Challenge for another year,” said Michael Sullivan, senior director of internal and external communications for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. “Whether he’s representing his country or the Baltimore community, Adam Jones is a great ballplayer, and an even better person. We can’t wait to see what he can whip up in the kitchen this time around.”

Remember, the challenge will air tonight on “O’s Xtra” pregame and on MASN’s social media channels on “MASN All Access.”

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