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Five forgettable moments from the 2015 Orioles season

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Five forgettable moments from the 2015 Orioles season

In a year that seemed much more bad than good for the Orioles, here are five forgettable moments that stand out.

1) May 23-What did Brian Matusz do?

In the 12th inning of a scoreless game in Miami, home plate umpire Jordan Baker and third base umpire walked toward Matusz, checked his arm and after a few moments ejected him.

Matusz, who is among the least controversial of the Orioles, was ruled to have had a foreign substance on his forearm, and he was ejected. The Orioles lost the game 1-0 in the 13th, and Matusz was suspended for eight games. Earlier in the week, Milwaukee’s Will Smith had also been ejected and suspended for eight games.

Marlins manager Dan Jennings, in his first week as a big league skipper, got his first win.

Matusz’s suspension was upheld, and the Orioles had to play a man short for eight games. They went 7-1.

2) August 23-Machado comes up short

J.J. Hardy’s groin was hurting, and he had to come out of the game. Jimmy Paredes pinch ran for him in the 11th inning, and it was obvious that Manny Machado would move from third base to shortstop for the first time in his major league career.

Paredes moved to third to begin the 12th, and with one out, the Minnesota Twins’ Eduardo Escobar hit a ground ball to shortstop that Machado booted. Escobar wound up on second. Two batters later, Shane Robinson hit a grounder to third that Paredes muffed, and the Twins scored an unearned run for a 5-4 win. Afterward, Machado was angry, but got a chance to redeem himself at short when Hardy went on the disabled list. It was the end of a homestand that begin with five wins in six games and ended with four straight losses to Minnesota.

RELATED: Five memorable moments for 2015 Orioles season

3) August 30-Jones speaks out

After the Twins sweep, the Orioles went to Kansas City and Texas and fell completely out of the playoff hunt, losing six of seven.

The first game against the Royals featured one of those breathtaking rallies. Kansas City scored seven runs with two outs. After the Royals had seven straight hits, including hitting for the cycle in four at-bats, the Orioles 3-1 lead was an 8-3 deficit. By Sunday when the Orioles were shut out by a rehabbing Derek Holland, Adam Jones had enough.

The night before, Machado ended the game with a protested checked swing, and a day later, Jones angrily denounced fans who thought the team had no chance for the postseason.

“We’re still right in the thick of things,” Jones said even though the Orioles were four games under .500.

“To say our effort level wasn’t there, that’s a slap in the face and I want to slap somebody in the face who says that.”

4) September 20-Britton blows a save at Tampa Bay

The Orioles lost 15 of 18 to fall out of the race. Despite that, they still insisted they had a chance. In their next three series, they won two of three each time, and won two of their first three against Tampa Bay.

With a 5-4 lead heading to the ninth, Zach Britton allowed two runs to the Rays in the ninth. Brandon Guyer hit a leadoff home run, and with the bases loaded, Kevin Kiermaier beat out an infield single, and the ultra-reliable Britton blew his fourth save of the season.

Britton was suffering from a sore lat muscle, and didn’t pitch again for a week. Darren O’Day closed out the Orioles’ three-game sweep in Washington.

5) Sept. 25-27 Shut Out in Boston

For three days, the Orioles did nothing in Boston. They were shut out three straight times by the same opponent for the first time in franchise history. In 1957, two different teams shut them out in three straight games.

Rich Hill, who had a horrible few months for the Orioles in 2009, shut them out 7-0 on Friday night. The next day, seven relievers blanked them 8-0, and on Sunday, Henry Owens pitched into the eighth inning in a 2-0 loss.

There were other bad moments, too. The Orioles allowed 10 or more runs 10 times, six against Toronto. Five of the 10 losses came after Sept. 1 with expanded bullpens not helping. The Orioles were no hit by Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma, the first time they’d been hitless since Sept. 2007.

Even though the Orioles won their final five games of the season to finish at .500, fans expected more, and the season will be viewed as disappointment, with many more bad moments than good ones.

MORE ORIOLES: Should Pearce be back with Orioles in 2016?

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.

A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles' career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.

Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.

Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.

Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.

"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."

With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.

"You know how good they've been to me? I'm not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens," he said.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.

"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."

After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.

Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.

Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.

The Orioles' deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.

Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.

At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.

"We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don't think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now," he said. "We've got some things to do these last four games that need to get done."

Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.

"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."

Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.

FOR STARTERS

Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.

UP NEXT

LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.