On the O’s farm, Bowie Baysox continue to roll

The Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds are no longer the only farm team Orioles fans can feel excited about it. Now there are several in terms of won-loss records.

Through Sunday’s games, three O’s teams are in first place and another is one game out. Starting at the highest-level, Double-A Bowie has been on a winning roll for several weeks now. The Baysox are 29-9 since June 1.

They are 18-5 in the Eastern League second-half race for the best record and they lead their division by 2 1/2 games. Bowie has won 11 straight series.

How is this for a rotation right now at Bowie?:
* Zac Lowther is 10-5 with a 2.54 ERA.
* Alex Wells is 7-1 with a 1.92 ERA.
* Michael Baumann is 1-1 with an ERA of 0.50 in four Double-A games.
* Bruce Zimmermann is 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA.
* Dean Kremer is 5-4 with a 3.76 ERA.

Three of those five qualify for league leaders and Wells ranks first in the Eastern League in ERA, with Lowther third and Zimmermann fifth. So, yeah, pretty good.

Those Shorebirds just keep winning and winning. After their first-place finish in the first-half South Atlantic League race, they are 17-7 and own the best record in the second half.

The Orioles’ short-season Single-A Aberdeen affiliate is 16-13 and just one game out of first in its division in the New York-Penn League. The IronBirds are 10-2 the last 12 games. In Sunday’s win, Andrew Daschbach hit a two-run shot for his first professional home run. He is this year’s 11th-round draft pick out of Stanford.

They had Sunday off, but the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team is 12-3 and tied for the best record in the GCL. The Orioles lead their division by 4 1/2 games.

Sunday’s farm notes: Single-A Frederick right-hander Brenan Hanifee threw a gem as the Keys shut out Salem 6-0 at Harry Grove Stadium. He pitched a complete-game five-hitter with no walks and four strikeouts. Hanifee threw 91 pitches for the game and never needed more than 16 in an inning. He retired 13 in a row at one point.

This was the first complete-game shutout by a Keys pitcher since Brady Wager threw one on Aug. 3, 2013. Hanifee is now 6-9 with a 4.40 ERA.

Bowie beat Akron 4-2 as Lowther took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He allowed one hit and one run over 6 2/3 innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. Lowther is 10-5 with a 2.54 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .191 batting average against.

Diaz-Throws-Bowie-Sidebar.jpgBowie outfielder Yusniel Diaz went 3-for-4 with three doubles. Over his past two games, he is 6-for-8 with five doubles. In 11 games in July, Diaz is batting .349/.408/.674 with two homers, 11 RBIs and an OPS of 1.083. That has raised his numbers for 52 games for the year to .255/.336/.485 with an OPS of .821.

Meanwhile at Camden Yards: The Orioles were close to being on the wrong side of history yesterday. But the Tampa Bay Rays’ bid at pitching the first combined perfect game in major league history ended in the ninth inning. Hanser Alberto led off the inning with a single and the Orioles got three hits in a 3-1 loss.

The Orioles (28-65) take today off and then host the Washington Nationals for two games beginning Tuesday night.

O’s hitters have been held to 12 runs over the last five games after scoring 53 in the previous eight. Trey Mancini is hitless his last 24 at-bats and Dwight Smith Jr. is 0-for-26. Richie Martin is 0-for-20 and Chris Davis is 0-for-9.

The Orioles are 1-3 to start the second half and the schedule is rather unforgiving, with series coming up with the Nationals and Boston, followed by a nine-game West Coast trip. Then comes a homestand against Toronto, the New York Yankees and Houston, followed by road series at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.

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