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Orioles Roundup: Dramatic ninth inning ends in O's victory

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USA Today

Orioles Roundup: Dramatic ninth inning ends in O's victory

The Baltimore Orioles squeezed out of their series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday with a 9-6 win to avoid the sweep, though they fell in the series 2-1 after suffering back-to-back 6-3 losses on Monday and Tuesday. 

Player Notes:

Shawn Armstrong struck out the final batter in Wednesday's 9-6 victory over the Rays after the bullpen surrendered three runs in the ninth inning. 

All-Star John Means gave up two earned runs and six hits while striking out five in a no-decision victory over the Rays Wednesday. 

Chris Davis smacked a solo home run, his first since May 12, in Baltimore's loss to Tampa on Tuesday. Catcher Chance Sisco sent a long ball of his own over the fence Tuesday, a two-run homer. Davis and Sisco's homers accounted for the Orioles only runs on the night.

Asher Wojciechowski gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings of the Orioles 6-3 loss to the Rays on Tuesday, in his first MLB start since August 2017. To make room for Wojciechowski on the roster, Matt Wotherspoon was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. 

The Orioles made a few other roster moves on Tuesday, when they activated reliever Josh Lucas from the 10-day injured list and optioned Tom Eshelman to Triple-A Norfolk. Lucas suffered a right shoudler strain in the middle of June but was recently cleared to return to Baltimore's bullpen. 

Orioles prospect Yusniel Diaz went 3-for-4 with his eighth homer of the year and a double on Monday with Double-A Bowie.

Injuries:

RP Josh Rogers: Elbow, 60-Day IL (out indefinitely)

OF D.J. Stewart: Ankle, 10-Day IL (may be back soon)

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-Day IL (out until 2020)

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-Day IL (out indefinitely)

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-Day IL (out indefinitely)

Coming Up:

Friday 7/5: Orioles @ Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET, Rogers Centre
Saturday 7/6: Orioles @ Blue Jays, 3:07 p.m. ET, Rogers Centre
Sunday, 7/7: Orioles @ Bule Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET, Rogers Centre

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Orioles' John Means falls short in AL Rookie of the Year voting

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Orioles' John Means falls short in AL Rookie of the Year voting

It was always going to be an uphill climb. Now? It’s reality.

John Means did not become the first Oriole to win the AL Rookie of the Year award in 20 years.

The surprising ace finished second behind Yordan Alvarez in this year’s voting. The result is less of a surprise, as Alvarez utterly dominated opponents at the plate all year long. From the moment he was promoted in June, Alvarez was one of the best hitters in baseball. 

By wRC+, an all-encompassing offensive metric, he was actually the second-best hitter in baseball behind only Mike Trout. And he owned the best OPS for a rookie in MLB history.

He accomplished all this while hitting in the middle of the most formidable lineup in baseball, a Houston unit that carried them to the American League pennant.

Alvarez didn’t enjoy the most prolific postseason of all-time, but he still pitched in with a few big hits against the Nationals in the World Series. His hot streak in the Fall Classic actually allowed him to lead the Astros in both batting average and OPS against the Nats.

For so many reasons, Alvarez earned his unanimous first-place finish. But don’t let that diminish Means’ year.

A non-prospect who was made the Orioles roster out of Spring Training, Means was the team’s lone All-Star representative this season. He held his own in the vaunted AL East, and was the clear-cut second-best rookie in the AL in 2019.

Means’ great season helped him receive 16 second-place votes, while no other candidate received more than six.

In a long, trying season, Means stood out as one of the most pleasant surprises for the Orioles in recent memory. The organization has long struggled to develop starting pitching, which has constantly placed them behind the 8-ball in their division. If the front office can unearth a few more hidden gems in the coming seasons, the rebuild may just work out after all.

Brandon Lowe of the Rays rounded out the top three finishers, while Eloy Jimenez finished fourth.

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Orioles' Chris Davis and family make record donation to UMD Children's Hospital

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Orioles' Chris Davis and family make record donation to UMD Children's Hospital

Chris Davis has had a rough couple of seasons on the field. Off it? He remains one of the biggest stars in the game.

The Orioles slugger and his wife, Jill, donated a whopping $3 million to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Per a release, it was the largest donation ever received by the hospital from a Baltimore athlete.

The gift is earmarked for hospital expansion, in an effort to provide top-notch care for the most seriously ill children.

“This is a cause that is close to our hearts,” Davis says in the press release. “Everyone at the hospital has inspired our family – from the patients and families who show such courage in the face of overwhelming challenges, to the medical professionals and caregivers who dedicate their careers to saving and improving lives.”

Davis famously signed the largest contract in franchise history, so the money is certainly within his budget, but this is still a remarkable gift to give to the city.

The Davis family has been involved with the children’s hospital for years, and plenty of local athletes have served important roles within the community, but this is going a step above for a player dealing with major struggles on the diamond. 

With acts of generosity like this one, it’s no surprise Davis has been named the Orioles’ nominee for Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente award, given to individual players based on their character and community involvement, for three straight seasons. Carlos Carrasco of the Indians won the 2019 Roberte Clemente award last month.

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