BALTIMORE—The Orioles had just finished off a split of the Tampa Bay Rays with four vital games against the Boston Red Sox at hand, Buck Showalter put the 2-1 win before 28,247 at Oriole Park on Sunday in perspective.
“In a lot of ways, I thought today’s win was a very impressive win from my eyes,” Showalter said.
How important was the win?
The Orioles (82-67) lost two games to the Red Sox in the standings while dropping two of three to Tampa Bay (64-85). They entered Sunday trailing Boston by three games. The Red Sox were playing the New York Yankees Sunday night.
Last week, the Orioles won two games in Boston to temporarily cut their deficit to one game.
“I think we’ve battled that team pretty good this year, so I look forward to getting a chance and four games will be a real nice way to kind of see where we shake up at the end,” Mark Trumbo said.
Trumbo hit his 43rd home run in the eighth inning to provide the big hit. He had missed the previous two games with back spasms.
“This time of year, someone’s got to step up at some point in the game. We did a real nice job. It was a well-played game, but we just needed to get that hit there at the end. So it was nice,” Trumbo said.
The home run off Ryan Garton (1-1) enabled the Orioles to win a battle of the bullpens.
After Wade Miley abruptly left the game in the top of the fifth inning with a muscle strain in his back, the bullpen allowed one run on five hits in five innings.
Darren O’Day, who hadn’t pitched since Aug. 11 with a strain in his right shoulder, allowed a home run to Corey Dickerson on his first pitch in the fifth.
“It was awesome to be back. Be able to help the guys out They’ve been having a heavy workload down there. So to take one inning it’s helpful. Obviously the day was made even better by the win at the end there It was a good day,” O’Day said.
He pitched in the fifth inning for the first time since May 20, 2012.
“I had an idea I was going to get in maybe earlier than usual. I didn’t anticipate it would be that early,” O’Day said. “Injury warmups are tough I’ve done a handful of them in my career. And yeah they’re not ideal.”
Donnie Hart, who extended his scoreless streak to 14 2/3 innings to begin his career, Mychal Givens, Brad Brach and Zach Britton combined for scoreless innings.
Brach (10-3) who became the first Orioles reliever since Arthur Rhodes in 1997 to record 10 wins, pitched the eighth, and Britton worked the ninth for his 45th consecutive save.
“Any time you have the starter go out in the fourth like that, especially when he’s pitching so well, is tough. Everyone was able to step up and pitch their inning and just kind of pass it to the next guy, like we’ve been saying all year. You pitch your inning, and you pass your baton toward the guys in the back,” Brach said.
“There’s no playing for the next game type things now. You’ve got to win every game. You’ve got to play every game like it’s the last. Winning is the most important thing right now. You’ve just got to win any way that you can.”
Miley entered the game with an 8.41 ERA in eight Orioles starts, but pitched four scoreless innings allowing just one hit before his sudden exit.
“I kind of lost my balance. I felt something grab in my shoulder blade area. It kind of stayed there and didn’t go away, and in between innings, it kind of got a little worse. I felt it a little bit. I didn’t think it was smart to stay out there and try to deal with it,” Miley said.
“If it was something I felt before, maybe I have an idea, but it’s something I never felt. I was a little nervous. I’m not going to lie about it. It feels a lot better right now, so hopefully some cramps. It was pretty hot, so we’ll go from there.”
The Orioles other run came on Manny Machado’s sixth inning home run, his 36th.
Now, it’s on to the Red Sox.
“You want to be playing meaningful baseball. I’ve been on the other side and there is nothing fun about that. You want to be in it and we’ve put ourselves in that position,” Trumbo said.
NOTES: Trumbo’s home run tied him with Rafael Palmeiro (1998) for sixth most home runs in an Orioles season. ... Rick Porcello (20-4, 3.12) faces Dylan Bundy (9-5, 3.88) on Monday night.
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