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Orioles break their four-game losing streak behind Tillman

Orioles break their four-game losing streak behind Tillman

NEW YORK—Buck Showalter was back. So were Chris Davis and Manny Machado. But Adam Jones was out, and so were Joey Rickard and Matt Wieters. 

Yet another cobbled together lineup. This one produced four runs, and the most runs since July 8. The 4-1 win over the New York Yankees before 42,476 at Yankee Stadium on Thursday sent the Orioles home happy.

In the Orioles’ previous eight games, they’ve scored four runs or fewer and, in the first three games of this series, had managed just three runs. 

Thanks to Chris Tillman’s 14th win, and two runs in the first and seventh the Orioles left the Bronx with a smile. 

“They’re pitching well, and we’re not swinging the bat particularly well, and you come out of it with a ‘W,’ and we won one in a row, and we’re going home,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

For the fourth straight start, Tillman (14-2) allowed a run in seven innings, and he’s averaged four hits in each start. 

That’s as good of a four-pitch mix as he’s had. He’s had some good ones, too. You can tell. He was really trying to give us what we needed today. It’s good to get him some runs early to give him some margin for error,” Showalter said. “That’s impressive, especially when you keep in mind he’s been facing these guys for a long time, and they know everything he’s going to try to do, and he can still do it.” 

After going 3-for-33 with runners in scoring position in the first six games after the All-Star break, the Orioles scored two runs in the first. With one out, Jonathan Schoop reached on an infield single, and took third on Machado’s single. With two outs, Davis walked to load the bases, and J.J. Hardy singled off shortstop Didi Gregorius’ glove to drive home Schoop and Machado for a 2-0 lead off CC Sabathia (5-8).

“It was four games. I don’t know all the stats and everything, but I know we lost four in a row,” Hardy said. “You go through these stretches throughout the season and you’ve just got to stay positive and things will turn around.” 

Tillman walked two and allowed a single in the first inning, but pitched out of trouble. Gregorius scored on Starlin Castro’s RBI single in the second. That gave New York (48-47) its only run. 

“After the first inning, I feel like we got in sync. Was able to command all four to both sides. When you have that, it’s fun. You get to go out and make pitches and Caleb did an outstanding job of getting back on track there,” Tillman said. 

Wieters had caught Tillman in each of his first 20 starts. With Wieters out, Joseph worked well with Tillman.

“I had a lot of fun today. I told him that. To be able to command all four pitches to both sides of the plate, you’re giving the catcher a lot more weapons and when you’re able to give the catcher the ability to call whatever he wants in whatever situation he wants to, it turns out to be fun,” Tillman said. 

Joseph, who caught three consecutive games for the first time this season, said there wasn’t much of an adjustment.

Tillman ended by retiring 16 of his last 17 batters. 

The Orioles (54-40) added two more runs to take a 4-1 lead in the seventh on one-out singles by Joseph and Julio Borbon and a two-run double by Schoop. 

“That was big. That game just kind of had a feeling of just a one-run game not being good for us, so that was a big hit for Schoopie and the team,” Hardy said.

Brad Brach worked a scoreless eighth and Zach Britton a perfect ninth for his 30th save. 

Showalter is hoping to get Jones, who’s out with a back spasm, Wieters, who has a bruised right foot, and Rickard, who injured his right thumb trying to field Brett Gardner’s triple in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game, back shortly. 

“We’re so close with a lot of them. I’m hoping they’re a day or two type things. I don’t want to lose a guy for 13 days, so we’ll probably just wait on it,” Showalter said. 

He said he was feeling better.

“I was real smart with Chris Tillman pitching. I know I’m living right…We were in good hands,” Showalter said.

NOTES: The Orioles have reached agreement with Brandon Bonilla, their 13th round draft pick. Bonilla, who signed for $100,000 is in Sarasota. He’s the son of Bobby Bonilla, who played for the Orioles. …The Cleveland Indians come to Baltimore for three games beginning Friday night. Trevor Bauer (7-3, 3.36) faces Dylan Bundy (2-2, 3.70) on Friday. 

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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.