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On long day, Orioles scratch out 5-4 win

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On long day, Orioles scratch out 5-4 win

BALTIMORE – It was nearly five hours between Orioles hits. Few of the 33,085 who were at Oriole Park when the game began were still there to see J.J. Hardy score Chris Davis with a single up the middle in the eighth.

After two rain delays, the Orioles head off to Miami after a grueling 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

“It was actually one of those games when you gain some experience, you kind of get on the plane feeling good about doing something that not just anybody can grind through. It was one of those games that we've been good at over the last three years,” manager Buck Showalter said.

“It’s just so easy to give in.”

The Orioles (18-20) didn’t have a hit between Jimmy Paredes’ single in the second and Davis’ infield single off Danny Farquhar (0-3).

After Steve Pearce grounded out, Davis took second and scored on Hardy’s single.

Hardy, who missed the first 25 games with a shoulder injury, doesn’t yet feel like himself.

“It's nice to get hits when you're feeling like I feel right now. Every day I'm making adjustments. I feel like one day I go up there with a different stance, next at-bat, you know, a different stance. I'm just trying to feel something that feels good and have something to work off of. So it's definitely nice getting hits when you're not feeling great,” Hardy said.

Tommy Hunter (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth. Zach Britton worked the ninth for his ninth save.

The game started 12 minutes late, but rain began falling not long into play. After 2 ½ innings with the Orioles leading 4-1, play was called and didn’t resume for two hours, five minutes.

Chris Tillman started and allowed a run on a hit. He walked three and struck out one in his three innings.

The rain cost Tillman a chance to break his career long four-game losing streak.

“It was a weird day all around,” Tillman said. “It was a frustrating day, but that’s selfish. We got a win today, and a series win, so you move on.”

Seattle (18-21) scored a run in the second on Welington Castillo’s sacrifice fly. That scored Nelson Cruz.

Brian Matusz took his place and struggled through the fourth, allowing a two-run bases-loaded single by Rickie Weeks to cut the lead to 4-3. Matusz gave up three hits and walked one, but did strike out three.

In the first, Manny Machado led off with a single. Paredes hit into a fielder’s choice and advanced to third on Delmon Young’s two-out single off J.A. Happ. Davis walked, and Pearce hit his first career grand-slam home run, his fourth, to left field.

Pearce had been swinging poorly, but now he’s starting to hit a little better. His average isn’t over .200 yet.

“It was great, considering how I’ve been swinging the bat lately. Hopefully, this gets me started on the right foot moving forward,” Hardy said.

Brad Brach entered in the fifth, and allowed a single to Robinson Cano. He struck out Cruz and Kyle Seager was caught looking. Seager was ejected from the game by home plate umpire John Tumpane.

In the sixth, Brach got the first two outs and walked Justin Ruggiano. Chris Taylor grounded to third, but Machado couldn’t come up with the ball and was charged with his ninth error of the season. Rickie Weeks flied to center, ending the inning.

T.J. McFarland allowed singles to Brad Miller and Cano to start the seventh. Cruz singled against Darren O’Day to load the bases with none out. Willie Bloomquist flied to short right. Castillo hit a foul pop near the first base stands that Davis snared, and after going 0-2 on Logan Morrison, walked him to score Miller and tie the score at 4.

In the end, it was a difficult, but satisfying win for the Orioles.

“It’s tough when you start a game and then you get to wait for an hour, just sitting around and not knowing what’s going on. We had to find some way to stay loose, but we did a good job of that. The pitchers did a great job and kept us in the ballgame and we pulled it out in the end,” Pearce said.

NOTES: Rey Navarro was unavailable because he had a tooth extracted. … Paredes ran his on-base streak to 18 games with the second-inning single. … Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 2.43) faces Henderson Alvarez (0-3, 6.23) as the Orioles begin a three-game series at Miami on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. … Bud Norris will pitch Game 1 of Norfolk’s doubleheader against Rochester on Friday. Norris is on the disabled list with bronchitis.

MORE ORIOLES: ORIOLES GAMES MOVING QUICKER

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How former Orioles players fared in the 2018 MLB Postseason

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How former Orioles players fared in the 2018 MLB Postseason

The Baltimore Orioles were historically awful in 2018. The Orioles were eliminated from the A.L. title race on Aug. 10 and eliminated from playoff contention Aug. 20. Since the divisional era began in 1969, no team has been eliminated from postseason contention as early as the 2018 Orioles were.

The 2018 season was downright awful for the Orioles. Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers. Chris Davis, who is set to receive $94 million over the next four years, had one of the worst seasons in MLB history.

Baltimore fans knew very early that a trip to the 2018 MLB Postseason was not going to happen. But because the Orioles traded away such a sizable chunk of its roster, fans actually had a better opportunity to see their favorite players in the postseason.

How did the former Orioles players do in the 2018 MLB Postseason? Glad you asked.

Atlanta Braves

Brad Brach (2014-2018): Continuing off of a regular season in which he struggled, Brach was unable to turn it around in the postseason. He gave up two walks and two hits in an 1.1 innings (two games), allowing one run.

Kevin Gausman (2013-2018): Gausman came on in relief in Game 3, Atlanta's only win in the series, though Gausman didn't play a big role. He allowed two runs in two innings, off two hits and two walks (deuces are wild). He did strike out four though.

Ryan Flaherty (2012-2017): Ryan Flaherty had an uneventful October, as he only got two at-bats in the series, and he went 0-for-2.

Nick Markakis (2006-2014): The beloved Markakis' comeback season was a major reason for the Braves making it to the postseason, but he didn't do much with the opportunity. Markakis went 1-for-12, just a .083 batting average.

Boston Red Sox

Steve Pearce (2013-2016): Pearce's overall numbers don't jump off the page, but he's had quite the postseason. On numerous occasions, Pearce has come up with the big hit when needed. He's just 9-for-34, but hit one of the most critical home runs of the World Series when he tied the game off Kenley Jansen in the eigth inning of Game 4, and he started the scoring in Game 5 with a home run in the first inning off Clayton Kershaw.

Chicago Cubs

Pedro Strop (2011-2013): Strop pitched just one inning in the NL Wild Card game, allowing one hit and striking out two in the Cubs loss. 

Cleveland Indians

Andrew Miller (2014): Miller didn't have many leads to protect during the Astros' dominating performance against the Indians, and he pitched poorly when he actually got in the game. In 0.1 innings, Miller allowed one hit and walked three batters, which is unheard of for someone of Miller's talent.

Colorado Rockies

Gerardo Parra (2015): Parra reached base twice in the NL Wild Card game, walking once and recording a hit. He stayed hot in the NLCS against the Brewers, going 3-for-6 and scoring a run.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Rich Hill (2009): It feels strange including Hill, given his minimal time in Baltimore (Justin Turner was left off the list for the same reason). He is technically a former Oriole, however. This postseason, Hill pitched 16.2 innings and allowed four earned runs. Hill was terrific in Game 4 with the Dodgers trying to tie up the World Series, allowing one hit, one run, and three walks whil striking out seven. The Dodgers lost the game, thanks in part to another former Oriole in Steve Pearce.

Manny Machado (2012-2018): You could write a dozen articles about Machado's postseason without even mentioning his on-field performance. Manny has taken a heel turn this October, becoming baseball's biggest postseason villain since Alex Rodriguez. There have been quesitonable slides, weird kicks and stomps while running to first, and even the occasional crotch grab. In terms of the games themselves, he's hit 15-for-62, though struggled in the World Series, being held without a single extra-base hit.

Milwaukee Brewers

Wade Miley (2016-2017): Miley has had an interesting postseason. He pitched well in his one NLDS start, going 4.2 scoreless innings (which is essentially a complete game in this era of pitching). He then started Game 5 in the NLCS and was pulled after just one batter, part of a strategic decision by the Brewers. He started again in Game 6. The Brewers lost Game 5, but he held his own the next day and the Brewers forced a Game 7. 

Jonathan Schoop (2013-2018): Schoop didn't get many chances this October, and he did literally nothing with them. He was 0-for-8 overall, and struck out three times.

New York Yankees

Zach Britton (2011-2018): Britton struggled in pinstripes, allowing two runs in his only inning pitched during the Wild Card Game. He fared better in the ALDS, allowing one run and three hits over the course of four innings across three games.

Oakland Athletics

Edwin Jackson (2017): Did not pitch.

 

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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."