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Gonzalez, fielding both superb in Orioles 6-1 win


Gonzalez, fielding both superb in Orioles 6-1 win

BALTIMORE –- Miguel Gonzalez is at his best when pitching against the Toronto Blue Jays. After allowing just an unearned run and three hits in 7 2/3 innings, Gonzalez is 5-0 with an 0.98 ERA in his last six starts when facing the Blue Jays.

Gonzalez’s superb outing gave the Orioles a 6-1 win over Toronto before 24,654 on Wednesday night.

It was just the Orioles’ third win in in nine games over the Blue Jays (17-18) this season.

For seven innings it appeared that Gonzalez (4-2), who threw the last complete game for the Orioles (15-17) on Sept. 3, 2014, would thrown another. In one stretch, he retired 13 straight.

“Miggy doesn't shy away from a big stage,” manager Buck Showalter said. You go through your career and you've had a lot of people tell you you couldn't do something, he doesn't take a pitch for granted up here."

In their first 32 games, the Orioles played 29 against American League East opponents. Next comes a stretch where they’ll play out of their division in 21 of 24.

“Nobody is going to or will relax. You’ve seen the schedule. You’ve just seen people you’re going to face it seems, half the season,” Showalter said.

The Orioles scored five in the second. Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy led off with walks off Aaron Sanchez. David Lough bunted them along, and both scored on Caleb Joseph’s double over third base.

Manny Machado’s double drove in Joseph, and Alejandro De Aza’s double scored Machado. After Sanchez (3-3) threw a wild pitch, De Aza scored as Jimmy Paredes beat out an infield hit.

In the third, Ezequiel Carrera was hit by a pitch, and Devon Travis singled to right. De Aza’s throw sailed to third base, and Travis took second. Josh Donaldson grounded to third and Machado made a nice pickup and dove toward the bag and tagged a leaning Carrera.

Machado, who declared “that wasn’t us,” after watching his team commit three errors on Tuesday night, ended the third by starting a 5-4-3 double play.

The snappy defense continued in the fourth when De Aza made a nice running catch on Edwin Encarnacion’s drive in right and Navarro snared Russell Martin’s liner.

“It's more what we're capable of. It was a good defensive night,” Showalter said.

Donaldson was the final Blue Jays baserunner until Kevin Pillar walked in the eighth. Ryan Goins singled, and after Danny Valencia struck out, Travis flied to right. Gonzalez walked Donaldson, and as the ball got away from Joseph for this second passed ball in as many nights, Pillar scored.

Gonzalez allowed five runs in four innings against the Yankees six days ago.

“My last outing wasn't the greatest, but this time around, I worked well and I worked hard and it paid off,” Gonzalez said.

Darren O’Day who has a running feud with Jose Bautista got him to tap out to the box, ending the inning. They ignored each other they left the field. O’Day picked up the save.

Rey Navarro homered to start the eighth, his first career homer.

“I just feel like it was something out of this world. That’s the dream coming true. Playing in the big leagues and then you hit your first career home run. It was great,” Navarro said.

Navarro, who was recalled on Tuesday when Ryan Flaherty was put on the disabled list, got his first postgame pie from Adam Jones.

“Yeah, it was a good one. And it tastes great,” Navarro said.

The Orioles get Thursday off and get to see their first AL West opponents of the season, the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.

After two weeks of tumult and travel, Showalter thinks things are returning to what passes for normal.

“It was good to win a series in our first series at home after being gone forever, it seems like. Take a day tomorrow and start up against the Angels,” Showalter said.

NOTES: Hunter Harvey, the Orioles first round draft pick in 2013, had an MRI on his right elbow Wednesday.”It was pretty good news, all things considered, I thought. I know they're going to take some time off and we'll see if he wants to get a second opinion,” Showalter said. “He's not going to be throwing for a little while. He's going to take some time, but don't feel like there's anything else but rest prescribed at this point."

Showalter said Harvey is expected to pitch this season.

"There's nothing that we feel like requires surgery,” Showalter said.

Matt Wieters will catch nine innings in an extended spring game on Thursday. … Paredes has a 12-game hitting streak and Machado a 19-game on-base streak. … The Orioles had a season-high five doubles. … On Friday. Jered Weaver (1-4, 4.98) faces Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 2.52).


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Hunter Harvey’s Major League debut a bright spot in long Orioles season

Hunter Harvey’s Major League debut a bright spot in long Orioles season

For some first-round draft picks, the Major Leagues are merely a season or two away. Other top prospects take longer, sometimes three or four seasons. Hunter Harvey’s path was a bit more complicated than that.

It was more than six years ago that Harvey was selected by the Orioles in the 2013 MLB Draft. Early in his professional career, he looked like a potential steal as the 22nd pick in that year’s class. He dominated hitters at the lower levels of the minor leagues, and looked like a future staple atop the Orioles rotation.

Of course, there’s a reason the old adage “there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect” exists.

Harvey missed the entire 2015 season with elbow tightness, then pitched just 12.2 innings in 2016 before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He threw only 18.2 innings in 2017 after his recovery, so he entered the 2018 season having tossed just 144.1 innings in five years since being drafted.

Harvey was still used as a starter in 2018 across 32.1 mostly unspectacular innings, but this season, the front office decided to try him out as a reliever.

Early on, it’s been a terrific transition for Harvey, whose natural arm talent plays up even more in shorter stints. And it was out of the bullpen that Harvey finally, after all these years, made his big league debut Saturday.

And what a debut it was.

Working around a walk, Harvey tossed a hitless, scoreless inning against the heart of the vaunted Red Sox lineup. He averaged over 98 mph on his fastball, while flashing potential plus offspeed pitches. 

Harvey ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts, a stretch that included nine consecutive strikes.

The Orioles haven’t had many positive moments to point to in 2019, but this definitely qualifies as one. If he can harness his incredible stuff and -- here’s the key -- stay healthy, Harvey could be a dominant late-inning reliever, or potentially even a mid-rotation starter.

Of all the players to wear the orange and black in Baltimore this season, Harvey is one of the few who can stick around long enough to contribute to the next great Orioles team.

More than any excitement surrounding his future, it’s just cool to see somebody overcome countless obstacles to realize their dreams.

That experience wasn’t lost on Harvey himself.

From his incredible mullet, to his long and winding road to the Majors, there’s a lot to cheer for with Harvey. If he can replicate his debut inning a few more times this season, then fans in Baltimore will have to admit he was worth the wait.


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All it took for Chris Davis to break out of his slump was a letter from a Red Sox fan

All it took for Chris Davis to break out of his slump was a letter from a Red Sox fan

Well, dang. We did not expect to need tissues for this video.

When Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was in the midst of the worst slump in Major League Baseball history, it often felt from afar like nothing could pull him out of his doldrums. It was difficult to watch Davis make the worst kind of history, knowing there was nothing fans can do to help.

Apparently, that was a mistake. All it took was a letter.

Henry Frasca, a diehard Red Sox fan, hated watching Davis struggle. So, when the O’s were in town to play his favorite team, he decided to write Davis a letter of encouragement.

The note made its way to Davis, who kept it with him. Inspired by the kind words, Davis had a breakout day at the plate, driving in four runs one his first three hits of 2019. The longtime Oriole has kept the letter with him ever since.

Frasca was unaware of the specific impact his message made, but as the Orioles returned to Fenway Park once again, he was given the opportunity of a lifetime.

This is, frankly, one of the coolest things we’ve seen in a long time. Frasca is just nine years old, but his view on the world and, specifically, helping those in need is both mature beyond his years and inspiring to the adults around him.

The most impressive part of the letter, as Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne highlights in his interview, is the idea that how Davis is playing on the field does not define the person he is off it.

It’s an insightful message, one that’s easy for even grown men and women to forget when cheering on their favorite players from afar. For someone so young, who roots for a rival team, to recognize it so early is mighty impressive.

The video is five minutes long, but well worth every second of your time. Well done to the Orioles, Thorne, Davis, and of course, Frasca most of all.