Ahead of the pack

Gal­lardo’s gem, Schoop’s 5 RBIs give O’s 1-game wild-card lead

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Ed­uardo A. Encina

NEW YORK — Yan­kee Sta­dium hardly held the at­mos­phere of a play­off chase Fri­day night, with the Ori­oles play­ing un­der a con­stant rain in front of a sparse crowd in the Bronx.

But these Ori­oles brought their own en­ergy to New York, mov­ing one step closer to a post­sea­son berth with an 8-1 vic­tory an­chored by three homers into the dreary night.

The Ori­oles took a one-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays in the hunt for the first wild card, which would en­able them to host the wild-card game at Cam­den Yards on Tues­day night.

The Ori­oles (88-72), who have won six of their past seven con­tests, broke Fri­day’s game open with three homers in a six-run fifth in­ning, capped by a three-run blast by sec­ond base­man Jonathan Schoop, who matched his ca­reer high with five RBIs on the night.

“That’s why we say in spring train­ing that’s the goal, the play­offs, and we’ve got two more games,” Schoop said. “We’ve got to­mor­row and then the next day, and get in the play­offs.”

A team that had scored three runs or fewer in 10 of its past 12 games com­ing into this week­end’s fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son se­ries, the Ori­oles had their best of­fen­sive out­put in nearly three weeks since an 11-3 win at Detroit on Sept. 10.

The Ori­oles had lost five of seven games at AL WILD-CARD STAND­INGS O’s 88-72 +1 Tor. 87-73 — Det. 86-73 Sea.* 85-74 *late game 11⁄

Yan­kee Sta­dium this year and were outscored 27-14 in their pre­vi­ous visit here last month. They opened their most im­por­tant se­ries of the sea­son go­ing back to their roots by re­ly­ing on the long ball.

The Ori­oles were ag­gres­sive at the plate against Yan­kees pitch­ers.

Both of Schoop’s run-scor­ing hits came on the sec­ond pitch of the at-bat, and Adam Jones solo homer came on the first pitch of the Ori­oles’ three-homer, six-run fifth in­ning.

Schoop, who scuf­fled through a dread­ful Septem­ber that saw him hit just .149 over his first 24 games of the month, broke out with a two-run dou­ble with two outs in the fourth off Yan­kees starter Michael Pineda that opened the scor­ing.

Adam Jones then hit the first pitch he saw in the fifth against Yan­kees start­ing pitcher Michael Pineda — an 85-mph changeup — off the sec­ond-deck fa­cade in left field.

Two bat­ters af­ter a sin­gle by Hyun Soo Kim, Mark Trumbo fol­lowed a mon­strous foul ball with a drive down the left-field line for his ma­jors-lead­ing 47th homer of the sea­son.

Schoop then hit his 25th homer of the sea­son on an 0-1 slider from Yan­kees re­liever James Pa­zos.

All year long, the Ori­oles have Mark Trumbo, left, is greeted by Hyun Soo Kim af­ter hit­ting a two-run home run against the Yan­kees dur­ing the six-run fifth in­ning. shown the abil­ity to put up runs in a hurry with the home-run ball. Their three-homer fifth in­ning marked the 10th time this sea­son that the Ori­oles have hit three homers in one in­ning, ac­cord­ing to STATS LLC.

Right-han­der Yo­vani Gal­lardo recorded a qual­ity start, hold­ing the Yan­kees to one run on two hits over six in­nings. De­spite walk­ing four, Gal­lardo didn’t al­low a hit un­til one out in the fourth in­ning.

“They know what’s at stake and they aren’t go­ing to not give them­selves an op­por­tu­nity to get a chance,” Ori­oles man­ager Buck Showal­ter said.

JULIE JA­COB­SON/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Jonathan Schoop dou­bles to right field in the fourth in­ning to give the Ori­oles a 2-0 lead Fri­day night at Yan­kee Sta­dium. Schoop also hit a three-run home run in a six-run fifth in­ning af­ter Adam Jones hit a solo homer and Mark Trumbo con­nected for a two-run shot.

AL BELLO/GETTY IM­AGES

Re­liever Tyler Wil­son (63) and catcher Matt Wi­eters cel­e­brate the 8-1 vic­tory against the Yan­kees. With two games left in the reg­u­lar sea­son, the Ori­oles pulled ahead of the Blue Jays in the hunt for the first wild card.

JULIE JA­COB­SON/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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