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Orioles pull off four-game sweep against Oakland


Orioles pull off four-game sweep against Oakland

BALTIMORE – The Orioles don’t often complete four-game sweeps, and Steve Clevenger doesn’t often homer. Both happened on Monday night.

The Orioles have their first four-game sweep of 2015, and 46 games into his Orioles career, Clevenger hit his first home run.

Clevenger, who grew up just blocks from Oriole Park and often walked to games as a youngster, hit a three-run home run off Sonny Gray to lead the Orioles to a 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics before 22,766 at Oriole Park.

“The Pride of Pigtown” is the first Baltimore native to ever homer for the Orioles at Oriole Park, the first to homer anywhere since Damon Buford did it on May 9, 1993 in Toronto, and the first to homer in Baltimore since Tom Phoebus on Aug. 8, 1988.

“I wasn’t thinking about it right away until I got back into the dugout. I think it’s awesome. Playing here in Baltimore is a dream come true for me. To be part of this team right now, help the team get a ‘W’ here in Baltimore and get it rolling. It’s great. It’s an awesome experience,” Clevenger said.

Clevenger is with the Orioles because Matt Wieters hasn’t been able to play, and he knows his time here could be short. Wieters may be ready to return from his strained right hamstring as soon as Tuesday.

In the Orioles’ 18-2 rout on Sunday, Clevenger had his first four-hit day.

“It bodes well for him. It's always a good time for someone who can contribute like he did yesterday and today,” manager Buck Showalter said.

Clevenger has had an excellent year at Norfolk, and even if he’s returned to the Tides, he’ll be back with the Orioles after the rosters expand in two weeks.

“He’s done nothing but improve as a catcher down there [in Triple-A], I read the reports. Talking to him very bluntly this spring, I said ‘Go down there and lead the league in hitting. You are going to be holding all the marbles at the end of this year. Present yourself attractively, with everything.’ And he’s done everything at every turn that’s why I’m glad he’s getting a return for it. Glad we are, too,” Showalter said.

Clevenger, who has been less than pleased to be sent back to Triple-A, is realistic.  

“I hope Buck is paying attention a little bit,” Clevenger joked. “I’m just here to help the team anyway I can and when Buck calls my name I’m gonna do my best to do what I can do with the bat.”

The Orioles (61-56) are five games over .500 for the first time since July 2, and hold the second wild card spot.

Their four-game sweep over Oakland (51-69) was their first against the Athletics since May 22-25, 1987.

“I can't tell you how hard it is to win four games from the same team, home or away. It's hard,” Showalter said.

Chris Tillman gave up home runs to Danny Valencia leading off the second and Mark Canha to start the sixth. Canha had the only other hit off Tillman (9-7), a two-out single in the third.

Rebounding after allowing five runs in 2 1/3 innings on Aug. 11, Tillman struck out three and walked three in seven.

Tillman has enjoyed playing with Clevenger, who was the designated hitter.

“I think he’s done way more than his fair share of what he needs to do to stay up. But look at the guys in front of him. They’re doing just as well. Clev is great, he’s evolved with the pitching staff and as a pitching staff we appreciate him,” Tillman said.   

Darren O’Day pitched a perfect eighth, and Zach Britton finished Oakland off in the ninth for his 29th save.

Sonny Gray (12-5) sped through three innings, allowing just a second inning single by Jonathan Schoop, and it looked as if he’d have an easy fourth, too. But, after retiring the first two batters, Chris Davis reached on an error by second baseman Eric Sogard.

Schoop followed with a single, and Clevenger homered to right field. It was Clevenger’s first home run in the major leagues since June 29, 2012. He that one against Bud Norris when Clevenger played for the Chicago Cubs and Norris was with the Houston Astros.

“I reminded him all the time when he was here. It’s been a while since I hit one, but I always reminded him about it,” Clevenger said.

Joseph’s RBI double scored J.J. Hardy from first in the sixth. It was Joseph’s 43rd RBI. Only Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado have more, and it gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead.

NOTE: The last Orioles’ four-game sweep was June 30-July 3, 2014 against Texas.

RELATED: Here are postseason dates to hold for Orioles fans

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles hope Wieters can play on Tuesday

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm