BALTIMORE---The strange week ended well for the Orioles. A nine-game homestand that included a makeup doubleheader interrupted by a one-game trip to Texas for another makeup, went swimmingly.
The Orioles won seven of nine games, or if you want to be more precise, five of six since the one-off against the Rangers came between homestands.
A nine-game trip to San Diego, Seattle and Los Angeles awaits. The Orioles left on Sunday night to spend an off-day in California.
They leave playing their best ball of the season. On Sunday, they won their fifth straight and moved to .15 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2014 season with a 12-5 win over the sad-sack Tampa Bay Rays before 38,611 at Oriole Park.
Tampa Bay (31-43) has lost 11 straight while the Orioles (45-30) have won five in a row.
The Orioles scored in double digits for the seventh time this season and had 17 hits. Adam Jones had four for the second time in 2016. Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop each had three.
“This was a fun series. Offensively, we did a lot. Obviously, we did a lot, scoring a lot of runs each night,” Jones said. “Now, let's see if we can duplicate that on the west coast.”
Chris Davis quickly gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead with an opposite field grand slam in the first inning off Drew Smyly (2-8). It was Davis’ 18th home run of the year, and his seventh grand slam, most in the majors since 2011.
Desmond Jennings homered off Tyler Wilson in the second, but the Orioles offset that in the bottom of the second. Nolan Reimold led off with a double. Francisco Pena bunted Reimold to third, and Adam Jones bunted for a base hit. Reimold scored on the rare Orioles squeeze for a 5-1 lead.
“You never know. You never know what someone's gonna do. Bring out all the tricks. I don't care if it's the element of surprise,” Jones said.
Manager Buck Showalter, who elevated Jones to the leadoff spot on May 27, has liked what he’s seen from Jones.
“What’s Adam got, 20 walks now? Adam’s starting to take on some characteristics of a leadoff hitter. The walk, the bunt,” Showalter said.
Jones walked 24 times last year, and just 19 times in 158 games in 2015.
Pena’s bunt was just the third sacrifice for the Orioles this season. Generally Showalter disdains the bunt.
“Get some of the manufacturing or small ball, get some of that out of the way for a little while. I thought that was big ball,” Showalter said.
The lead grew in the third on Schoop’s 13th home run.
Oswaldo Arcia’s home run in the fourth cut the Orioles lead to 6-2.
Tampa Bay shook Wilson (4-5) in the fifth, scoring three times. Logan Morrison’s RBI double scored Brad Miller, and Arcia’s two-run double put the Rays within 6-5.
Arcia made it to third on a relay, but stayed there as Tim Beckham bounced to third to end the inning.
On his T-Shirt day, Mark Trumbo hit a two-run home run to left, his 22nd, and the Orioles led 8-5 after five. Trumbo has already equaled his home run output from 2015.
Wilson allowed five runs on 10 hits in five innings and won his first game at home.
Dylan Bundy pitched three scoreless innings, striking out four, and continues to make his case as an option for starting later this season. He’s pitched 9 1/3 scoreless innings in his last four appearances.
Showalter has tried to space his appearances out, giving him four or five days rest when he can, the better to nurture him as a starter.
“What’s ideal is he’s contributing to the team within the confines of how we have to do it,” Showalter said.
“This is the way we hoped to do it going in, but you’ve got to be able to get people out to do it that way. Gives us two- and three-inning stints and get rest in between.”
Bundy has been able to pitch effectively the way he’s used.
“It makes sense why I'm a little bit more crisp and I have little bit more on the fastball with four days rest or even three days rest. I'm just adjusting to the role they give me,” Bundy said.
The Orioles added four runs in the eighth on an RBI double by Joey Rickard, run-scoring singles by Machado and Trumbo and a wild pitch by Ryan Webb.
NOTES: Vance Worley will likely pitch a second rehab game on Tuesday in Frederick with Caleb Joseph catching him. … LHP Ashur Tolliver was optioned to Norfolk. T.J. McFarland could replace him on the roster on Tuesday.