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Orioles end homestand with 5th straight win

Orioles end homestand with 5th straight win

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.

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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.

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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."