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Orioles need strong performance in Oakland

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Orioles need strong performance in Oakland

Fans who stayed up long enough to watch the Orioles 3-2 loss to Oakland late Friday night probably had a hard time going to bed.The loss probably brought back memories of losses earlier in the season when the team had difficulty manufacturing runs and hitting with runners in scoring position.The Orioles were 0-for-5 with RISP, and aside from Chris Davis long home run in the fifth, did little productive hitting. They had 11 baserunners, seven hits, three walks and an error, but couldnt cash in. They hit into four double plays, equaling their season high. Pinch-runner Xavier Avery was thrown out trying to steal second for the final out.For about two hours, the Orioles were in first place in the AL East. The Yankees were beaten by the Rays. Tampa Bay trails Baltimore and New York by three.The Orioles are still in excellent wild card shape, no matter what happens with the East. Theyre 2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild card spot and three in front of Tampa Bay. Detroit is 4 games back. Theyre two games in back of the Athletics for the top wild card spot. The remaining two in Oakland will be difficult and especially critical.Should the Orioles lose even one of the remaining games with the Athletics, their path gets tougher. Baltimore needs to win both at least one to take the season series from the Athletics. Oakland currently leads 4-3.If the teams finished in a tie for the top wild card spot, the team with the better record in the season series hosts the Oct. 5 game.Of course, the Orioles can make it easier on themselves by beating out the Yankees.

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Orioles' Manny Machado leading all American League shortstops in All-Star Game votes

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USA TODAY Sports

Orioles' Manny Machado leading all American League shortstops in All-Star Game votes

The Orioles' Manny Machado is the early leader among American League shortstops in the first results of All-Star voting released by Major League Baseball Tuesday.

Machado holds a lead of 110,131 votes over the Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor. 

No other Orioles' player is on the list, and Adam Jones isn't listed among the top-15 of outfielders. 

The Astros' Carlos Correa was last year’s starting shortstop for the American League, but is in fourth place with 206,707 votes, trailing the Yankees' Didi Gregorius who has 208,583.

The next AL voting update will be announced June 19.

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Zach Britton rejoins Orioles after stint on disabled list

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Zach Britton rejoins Orioles after stint on disabled list

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Orioles left-hander Zach Britton has been activated from the disabled list, six months after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Assuming he's finally healthy enough to resume his role as one of the best closers in the big leagues, the question now is: How long will Britton be with the Orioles?

Britton's contract expires after this season, and Baltimore entered play Monday with the worst record in the major leagues (19-45).

So, as he stood in front of his locker and spoke excitedly about his return to the Orioles, Britton conceded that his stay in Baltimore may not extend beyond the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"I want to pitch well and help the team, regardless of our standing or trade discussions," he said.

Asked if the next few weeks might serve as an audition for other teams, Britton replied, "I guess so, but I'm not going to think of it like that."

Britton made the 2016 AL All-Star team during a season in which he converted all 47 of his save opportunities and compiled a 0.54 ERA in 69 appearances.

He fought forearm and knee injuries last season and had only 15 saves. Then, during the winter, he tore his right Achilles tendon during a workout.

"When I injured myself in December, I was just looking forward to walking again and running again and then to be able to pitch back in the big leagues," Britton said. "There were a lot of hurdles that I overcame."

Surgery and an intense rehab program under Orioles trainer Brian Ebel enabled the 30-year-old to return sooner than many anticipated.

"The thought that he's a pitcher for us on June 11, that's remarkable," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's checked every box to get ready. I don't know what else you could possibly do."

Although Britton will be pitching for a team that's struggled mightily this season, that won't influence the intensity he will bring to the mound.

"I had some injuries the last few years, so I'm looking forward to turning the page on that and just getting back to pitching well," he said. "Everyone in this clubhouse wants to do well at this level, and that's my focus."

To adjust the roster for Britton's return, the Orioles placed right-hander Pedro Araujo on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow strain and moved outfielder Colby Rasmus to the 60-day DL.