Bourn’s power pro­vides ‘real lift’ for the O’s

OF has two homers in two starts; Brach, Givens switch or­der in re­lief

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Jon Me­oli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli

DETROIT — The Ori­oles didn’t trade for vet­eran out­fielder Michael Bourn be­cause of his power, but it has been an added bonus as their trade ad­di­tion con­tin­ues to im­press in his first few weeks.

Bourn home­red to open the Ori­oles’ scor­ing in their 3-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sun­day, and now has two home runs in two starts since join­ing the club Aug. 31. He’s bat­ting .333 (4-for-12) with three RBIs in eight games, and has ap­peared as a de­fen­sive re­place­ment in six of the seven games he didn’t start.

“Michael gave us a real lift to­day,” said man­ager Buck Showal­ter, who gave Bourn the start in right field be­cause of his .371 ca­reer av­er­age against Tigers starter Justin Ver­lan­der. “It’s hard to find many track records against Ver­lan­der, be­cause he wins the bat­tle most of the time. Mike was in a po­si­tion to con­trib­ute to­day, and he did.”

Bourn’s third-in­ning home run gave the Ori­oles a 2-0 lead they would not re­lin­quish, and gave the 33-year-old out­fielder rea­son to smile in the fi­nal month of a sea­son dur­ing which he has played in three or­ga­ni­za­tions and strug­gled to find his foot­ing.

“It’s a tal­ented team, so I’m just happy to be a part of it,” Bourn said. “I like be­ing a part of it. You know, I’m just try­ing to make the most of it, have fun while I’m do­ing [it] and en­joy the mo­ment.” Showal­ter swaps Brach, Givens: Showal­ter shook up the team’s late-in­ning bullpen, at least for one day, mov­ing All-Star re­liever Brad Brach into the sev­enth in­ning and giv­ing rookie My­chal Givens the eighth to pre­serve a 3-1 lead.

Showal­ter said the de­ci­sion was matchup-based, with Brach, whose se­cond-half swoon con­tin­ued Fri­day, when he al­lowed the win­ning home run in the eighth in­ning, a bet­ter fit for the sev­enth in­ning Sun­day, and noth­ing more.

“It was a good spot for him,” Showal­ter said. “I liked Mike at the top of the or­der there, and I liked Brad where they were with the left-handed hit­ters com­ing off the bench, po­ten­tially. You’re pick­ing your poi­son this time of year.”

Essen­tially, Showal­ter bet on the Tigers’ pinch-hit­ting left­handers at the bot­tom of their right-han­der-dom­i­nant or­der against Givens, but not Brach. It paid off. Brach pitched a per­fect sev­enth, and Givens ended up pitch­ing him­self into and out of a jam. He hit lead­off man Jose Igle­sias, the No. 9 hit­ter, to open the eighth, then is­sued a one-out walk to Cameron May­bin, but he got Miguel Cabr­era to ground into a dou­ble play to end the in­ning.

“I know that is prob­a­bly the best hit­ter out there in our gen­er­a­tion,” Givens said of Cabr­era. “I just went out there to com­pete and try to get us out of the in­ning.”

The move re­versed their sea­son-long po­si­tions, though there’s no in­di­ca­tion the change is per­ma­nent. Ama­jor­ity of Brach’s ap­pear­ances have come in the eighth in­ning, and most of Givens’ in the sev­enth.

“It’s just a con­fi­dence boost,” said Givens, who low­ered his ERA to 3.49.

“That was big,” closer Zach Britton said. “For a young guy in that sit­u­a­tion, he hasn’t thrown that eighth in­ning very of­ten. He did a great job. It’s a tough lineup, and he bat­tled and made some good pitches. I think it just gives him con­fi­dence go­ing for­ward.” Sept. 11 re­mem­bered: The Ori­oles joined 300 Detroit-area first re­spon­ders on the field for the na­tional an­them and wore flag patches on their hats to com­mem­o­rate the 15th an­niver­sary of the Sept. 11 ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

“Some­times we need to take a look at maybe the world some­times and see how good we have it here and see how lucky we all are to be born into the sit­u­a­tion we’ve been born into com­pared to some other peo­ple,” Showal­ter said. “It’s just a re­minder how fleet­ing it can be.” Around the horn: Catcher Caleb Joseph went 1-for-4 with a dou­ble but ex­tended his run with­out an RBI this sea­son to 124 at-bats af­ter he struck out with a man on se­cond base in the fourth in­ning.

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