Sweep­ing up

Back-to-back se­ries sweeps put Ori­oles in thick of AL play­off race

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS -

The Ori­oles’ seven-game win­ning streak — the long­est ac­tive streak in the ma­jor leagues — has sud­denly put them within arm’s reach of the sec­ond Amer­i­can League wild-card spot, a place that seemed like a pipe dream the last time the Ori­oles played a se­ries with the Mariners.

Two weeks ago, the Ori­oles boarded a plane Baltimore after drop­ping two of three in Seat­tle to con­clude a los­ing West Coast trip. At that point, six teams — in­clud­ing the Mariners — were ahead of the Ori­oles in the chase for the fi­nal play­off spot.

The teams have gone in op­po­site di­rec­tions since, and, after their 8-7 win over the Mariners on Wed­nes­day after- noon, the Ori­oles en­tered the night one game out of the sec­ond AL wild-card spot.

“To be hon­est, I don’t fol­low [the stand­ings] much, but to­day I see the stand­ings and you know, we’re right there,” said sec­ond base­man Jonathan Schoop, who drove in the win­ning run with a two-out sin­gle in the eighth in­ning and hit his 30th home run of the season. “So, we just got to keep win­ning and we just got to go out there and com­pete and don’t worry about the stats too much. Just try to go out

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BALTIMORE SUN

Wel­ing­ton Castillo, round­ing the bases after hitting a two-run homer in the fourth in­ning off Seat­tle start­ing pitcher Ariel Mi­randa, made sure the Ori­oles’ play­off bub­ble didn’t burst. The O’s turned back the Mariners for their sev­enth straight vic­tory.

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