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Despite arguments, Orioles take series from Blue Jays

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Despite arguments, Orioles take series from Blue Jays

BALTIMORE – If you listened to Buck Showalter closely, you might have thought the Orioles lost Thursday night’s game. His star catcher, who rarely argues, was ejected from the game, his team left 13 runners on base, and still they won.

Not only did they win, but they took two of three against the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that captured the AL East a year after the Orioles did.

All Thursday night the Orioles complained about home plate umpire Dan Bellino’s strike zone, and in the fifth inning, Matt Wieters was ejected for the second time in his career.

The Orioles rallied in the eighth and pulled out a 3-2 win over the Blue Jays before 17,644 at Oriole Park.

“That was a challenge. It was a frustrating game to manage,” Showalter said. “A tough night. A frustrating game for me.”

With the game tied at 2, Joey Rickard singled with one out off Brett Cecil (0-3). He advanced to second on Russell Martin’s passed ball and came home when Manny Machado plopped a double down the right field line.

Darren O’Day (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth, walking Jose Bautista, but striking out the side for the win.

Zach Britton pitched the ninth for his fourth save, and the Orioles (10-4) took two of three from Toronto (8-9).

“We all know how this division's going to be. You know how good that team is, and every team in this division's going to be good,” Machado said.

Before the winning eighth inning, the biggest moment came when Wieters, was ejected by Bellino for arguing about a checked swing in the fifth inning and replaced by Caleb Joseph.

“I don’t like to get them, but I said some things I probably shouldn’t have. He just hit a nerve a little bit, especially the checked swing because they do have the option to get help. It was just, I thought it was a little bit inconsistent behind the plate for most of the night,” Wieters said.

“It’s just hard when you know your pitchers out there battling to be able to try and at least know where to go to get a strike called and kind of hit or miss a little bit.”

The first inning looked to be the precursor of an evening full of runs, but that turned out not to be the case.

Michael Saunders led off with a single off Chris Tillman. Josh Donaldson’s double scored Saunders. With first and second and one out, Rickard made a leaping catch in front of the left field wall to snatch Troy Tulowitzki’s fly ball and save perhaps two runs.

But, Tillman loaded the bases when he hit Martin, and walked Justin Smoak to force in a second run.

The 21-minute inning ended on Tillman’s 38th pitch, an infield out by Kevin Pillar.

The Orioles also roughed up Toronto starter Marco Estrada in the first. Rickard singled, and stole second. He’s reached base in all 14 games of his major league career and had consecutive three-hit nights.

Rickard scored on Machado’s single. Machado has hit in 14 straight games, equaling the longest in his career. Adam Jones doubled, and Chris Davis walked to load the bases.

Mark Trumbo took a disputed called third strike, and Wieters grounded into a double play to end the first.

“I thought that was a big inning for us until we got Ball 4 called a strike,” Showalter said.

Tillman settled in, allowing only two more hits, and ending his night with a quality start: two runs on four hits in six innings.

“I think I just continued to make my pitches. Didn’t go our way in the first inning, but that’s what happens when you’re not throwing strikes,” Tillman said.

The Orioles had repeated scoring opportunities, and though they objected to Bellino’s strike zone and flailed away, finally tied the score in the seventh against switch-pitcher Pat Venditte.

Davis walked to lead off the seventh, Trumbo was hit by a pitch and Joseph singled to load the bases. Hardy’s sacrifice fly to center tied the score at 2.

NOTES: Dylan Bundy struck out Pillar for the first strikeout of his career in the seventh inning. “It’s been four years to get one strikeout in the majors. It’s been a while. But it was nice to get that out of the way. I’ve actually thought about it the last two outings, I remembered I don’t have a strikeout but I’ve got a couple walks,” Bundy said. … Davis walked a career high four times. … Yovani Gallardo (1-0, 5.63) face Chris Young (0-3, 7.90) on Friday night as the Orioles begin a three-game series in Kansas City. … The Orioles are 3-0 when they don’t hit a home run.

MORE ORIOLES: Matt Wieters ejected from Orioles game

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Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles signed right-hander Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million contract on Thursday after searching for starting pitching all offseason.

The 31-year-old Cashner is 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in eight major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego, Miami and Texas, including 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers last year. The deal with the Orioles has an option for 2020.

He'll join right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in the rotation.

"I do know that they need some starting pitching, and here it is, show up every day and whoever I can help out, help out and my job is to come here and pitch and win," Cashner said.

Cashner's deal could be worth $41 million over three seasons if he pitches 200 innings annually. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, payable in equal installments each Jan. 15 from 2020 through 2021.

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Cashner has salaries of $5 million this season and $8 million in 2019, and there is a $10 million option for 2020 that would become guaranteed if he pitches 340 innings combined in the next two seasons. If he reaches 360 innings, it would become a player option.

He can make $5 million in performance bonuses each year.

There are $1,525,000 per season in bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 10 and 15, $625,000 for 20 and $400,000 for 30.

Cashner also can make $3,475,000 each year based on innings: $250,000 each for 110 and 120, $275,000 for 130, $350,000 for 140, $750,000 for 150 and $400,000 apiece for 170, 180, 190 and 200.

Cashner was at the Orioles' spring training facility, and was due to head to his Texas home for a few days before returning on Sunday when Baltimore's full squad is required to report. He'll likely work out with the team for the first time Monday.

He has little experience against the Orioles, but said he was excited to join the team.

"It's a lineup you can't really make a lot of mistakes against," Cashner said. "It's a lot of power in there, and I got to pitch (for) San Diego one year in Baltimore. Really cool stadium, really neat, a lot of history. It's one of my favorite places to pitch, so I'm looking forward to making that my home (stadium) every night."

RELATED: ORIOLES TO SHUFFLE UP INFIELD AHEAD OF MACHADO'S FINAL SEASON

Manager Buck Showalter said Cashner would be an ideal addition to the club.

"He's a veteran starter. That's a good deal for both us and him," Showalter said. "He's a guy who's pitched well in the American League. That's something that I think played in his favor."

Cashner said that he began negotiations with Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson last fall and in a challenging offseason for free agents, he said patience was vital.

"I don't think it's been difficult. It's been interesting. It's been different," Cashner said.

To make room for Cashner on the 40-man roster, Baltimore placed left-hander Zach Britton (Achilles) on the 60-day disabled list.

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Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

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USA Today Sports

Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Even if Manny Machado doesn't switch teams this season, he almost certainly will be changing his position in the infield.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that Machado will move from third base to shortstop this spring, and shortstop Tim Beckham will be shifted to third.

The shuffle will become permanent unless something goes wrong -- or Machado gets traded to another club.

"There could be some adjustments if we don't like the feel of it, but that's where we're going to head into it," Showalter said at FanFest, an annual offseason event designed to promote interest in the club.

Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop did not attend.

RELATED: TWO FORMER ORIOLES ELECTED TO HALL OF FAME

Machado becomes a free agent after this year and is sure to demand a huge contract. The Orioles have entertained trade offers for the 25-year-old, who's been an All-Star in three of his six seasons with Baltimore.

Dan Duquette, vice president of baseball operations for the Orioles, has to decide whether to deal Machado sometime between now and September or seek to sign him to a long-term deal.

"That's a big decision for the organization, obviously," Duquette said. "But we're planning on Manny being with the club. We explored all those options. We think the strongest option is for Manny to be on the ballclub."

Machado played in 156 games last season, offsetting a career-low .259 batting average with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs. He has averaged 35 home runs and 92 RBIs over the past three years.

Machado avoided arbitration this month by agreeing to a $16 million contract for 2018. He received $11.5 million last season.

Drafted as a shortstop as the third overall pick in 2010, Machado played third base with Baltimore next to slick-fielding J.J. Hardy, whose contract expired after last season.

So when they return to the field next month in Florida, the Orioles will have Machado at shortstop with Beckham on his left. Beckham came to Baltimore from Tampa Bay in July and played shortstop for the injured Hardy over the final two months.

"I think Tim would rather play shortstop, as Manny would," Showalter said. "Tim's big thing is getting an opportunity to play every day at one position. We need to settle both those guys into a spot and let them get into it."

Showalter said Machado was enthusiastic about the switch.

"All indications are, he's really excited about this," Showalter said. "I can't imagine him being in a better frame of mind or setup to do this. I think out of his respect for J.J. the past few years he's been very professional about it. But it's not like he's changing positions. He's going back to the position he's equipped to play."

RELATED: ZACH BRITTON TEARS ACHILLES

Deciding what to do with Machado is only one problem Duquette has faced this offseason. He's also been trying to fill out a starting rotation that currently consists of Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and perhaps Miguel Castro, who made his first major league start on Sept. 30 after pitching in relief for 75 games over three seasons.

"Obviously we have work to do to address some of the deficiencies on our ballclub," Duquette said. "We're going to continue to build our pitching staff, most notably the starting pitching."

If Castro joins the rotation, the Orioles will be further pressed to fill out the back end of the bullpen. Closer Zach Britton tore his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout and will likely miss the entire 2018 season, leaving setup man Brad Brach the odds-on favorite to take over as the stopper.

"I'm hoping I get a shot to close. I'd be lying if I say I didn't," said Brach, who served significant time as a closer in 2017 while Britton was sidelined with elbow and knee issues.

Brach had 18 saves but blew six chances.

"I think I did all right," Brach said. "Hopefully, I get another chance to do it."