Trumbo’s homer is the dif­fer­ence

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

A week­end full of so-called pro­duc­tive outs from the Ori­oles — sac­ri­fice flies, well-placed ground balls and sac­ri­fice bunts — was cut short when it mat­tered most.

The Ori­oles win when their big boys swing hard and con­nect, and that’s what sal­vaged a se­ries split with the Tampa Bay Rays at Cam­den Yards on Sun­day.

The Ori­oles won, 2-1, when right fielder Mark Trumbo, back in the lineup af­ter two days out with back spasms, hit a homer for the go-ahead run in the eighth in­ning be­fore an an­nounced 28,427.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am ev­ery day look­ing out there and see­ing them fight through it and be­ing there for each other,” man­ager Buck Showal­ter said. “It’s a close group. It killed Trum not to play the last two days. Ob­vi­ously, he had a big day for us to­day.”

Two in­nings ear­lier, third base­man Manny Machado hit a drive out to cen­ter field to tie the game, his ca­reer-high 36th of the sea­son.

The Ori­oles got four score­less in­nings from be­lea­guered starter WadeMi­ley, but he left be­fore the fifth in­ning. Mi­ley was deal­ing with an up­per-back strain and didn’t make it past his warmup throws.

Right-han­der Dar­ren O’Day, fresh off the dis­abled list from a right ro­ta­tor cuff strain, al­lowed a home run on the first pitch he threw in re­lief of Mi­ley to open the fifth in­ning, but the Ori­oles shut the door af­ter that.

From O’Day to closer Zach Brit­ton, who recorded his 45th Manny Machado watches his game-ty­ing sixth-in­ning home run off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi. save in 45 tries, the bullpen al­lowed just one run on five hits, with eight strike­outs in five in­nings.

“The bullpen came in and did an out­stand­ing job of shut­ting the door af­ter that,” Mi­ley said. “O’Day made a pretty good pitch that [ Corey] Dick­er­son hit out, a sinker, down and away. Other than that, it was a lock­down job by our bullpen.”

With the win, the Ori­oles im­proved to 82-67 but would have to wait for the re­sult of Sun­day night’s late game be­tween the Bos­ton Red Sox and New York Yan­kees to know their di­vi­sion deficit when Bos­ton comes to town tonight. Odorizzi good for a change: For years, Rays right-han­der Jake Odorizzi has been far bet­ter against the rest of the league than against the Ori­oles. He en­tered the day 3-4 with a 5.48 ERA all time against the Ori­oles, far above his ca­reer 3.78.

On Sun­day, he showed what he does to ev­ery other team, pitch­ing six in­nings of five-hit, one-run ball with three strike­outs.

The Rays (64-85) an­nounced an ig­no­min­ious dis­tinc­tion af­ter his win­less start: He has set a ma­jor league record with 12 node­ci­sions while al­low­ing two earned runs or fewer. Bullpen’s big day: It started poorly, with O’Day’s first pitch re­sult­ing in the home run by Dick­er­son, but the Ori­oles had all their top pitch­ers avail­able out of the bullpen Sun­day, and it showed.

O’Day al­lowed just the one run, and left-han­der Don­nie Hart pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam with a dou­ble play in the sixth in­ning. Right-han­der My­chal Givens pitched a per­fect sev­enth with two strike­outs, and right-han­der Brad Brach (10-3) did the same in the eighth be­fore Brit­ton han­dled the ninth.

Showal­ter had used only Givens in a tight game Satur­day, and him for only one bat­ter, giv­ing the Ori­oles man­ager flex­i­bil­ity Sun­day. Joseph’s wait con­tin­ues: With an 0-for-2 per­for­mance, catcher Caleb Joseph has 126 at-bats and 135 plate ap­pear­ances with­out an RBI this sea­son.

He did, how­ever, lay down a suc­cess­ful sac­ri­fice bunt with run­ners on first and sec­ond base and no outs in the sev­enth. With the chance to break the game open, cen­ter fielder Adam Jones and pinch hit­ter Drew Stubbs each struck out, Jones swing­ing and Stubbs look­ing. in the team’s fi­nal two weeks.

“We’ll see how Dar­ren is to­mor­row, see how ev­ery­thing goes and how of­ten we’ll be able to use him,” Showal­ter said. “Those last hit­ters were a re­minder of what we’ve gone through with­out him.”

Closer Zach Brit­ton was warm­ing up when the score was tied at1, and came in to record his 45th save in 45 chances with a score­less ninth. The Ori­oles bullpen has been base­ball’s sec­ond best over Septem­ber, low­er­ing its col­lec­tive ERA to 2.04 on Sun­day.

But Brit­ton’s lock­down ser­vices were re­quired only af­ter the other half of the Ori­oles’ bread and but­ter came through late.

Trumbo, whose ac­qui­si­tion from the Seat­tle Mariners last win­ter for catcher Steve Cle­venger (Mount Saint Joseph) has proven to be one of the shrewder re­cent deals by any team, clob­bered a first-pitch fast­ball over the Ori­oles bullpen for his 43rd home run of the sea­son to break the tie.

He has 12 go-ahead home runs this year, tied with third base­man Manny Machado, whose own homer tied it up in the sixth in­ning. Trumbo cred­ited the bullpen with keep­ing the team close.

“It was es­sen­tial,” Trumbo said. “It was what we needed. A huge credit to our guys to give us a chance, es­pe­cially [to] kind of give us that nice mo­men­tum push go­ing into the bot­tom of the eighth in­ning.”

Ori­oles bats have been cre­at­ing plenty of mo­men­tum of their own. The club has 236 home runs, on pace for 257 over­all this sea­son. The fran­chise record is 257, set in 1996. A year later, the Mariners set the ma­jor league record with 264. Both records are in reach, thanks to the likes of Trumbo and Machado.

Some­times it seems that the Ori­oles’ power hit­ters are show­ing off when they string to­gether blasts in high-scor­ing games. Other times, all they can do is scratch out a pair of home runs to win a ball­game.

As Septem­ber rolls on, and the in­ten­sity mul­ti­plies by the in­ning, then by the day, teams can be in a worse spot than the Ori­oles, who have a deep bullpen that can save a game and a pow­er­ful lineup that can win it.

“This time of year, some­one’s got to step up at some point in the game,” Trumbo said. “We did a real nice job. It was a well-played game, but we just needed to get that hit there at the end.”

MITCHELL LAY­TON/GETTY IM­AGES

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