Fresh off of nabbing two of three from the Rangers at Camden Yards, the Orioles didn’t skip a beat versus the White Sox at U.S Cellular Field over the weekend, banking another pair of wins and a series victory while the offense (and the starting pitchers) put on a show.
The Orioles jumped out to a 4-0 lead on Friday after Pedro Alvarez got the party started in the first inning with a solo shot, followed by Manny Machado scoring two on a double and Mark Trumbo picking up an RBI single in the third.
And just as the Sox cut the lead in half in the fourth, the Orioles would jump out to a 7-2 advantage in the eighth after Alvarez’s second homer of the game, a J.J. Hardy RBI base hit and a sacrifice fly from Adam Jones to score Jonathan Schoop broke the game open.
Or so it seemed. The White Sox tagged Darren O’Day, and after Justin Morneau scored on a throwing error by Schoop to make it 7-4, it looked like this ballgame might turn into one that slipped away. Logan Ondrusek came on for O’Day, but allowed an RBI double to Carlos Sanchez immediately to cut the lead to just two.
But then, Ondrusek got the ground ball he so desperately needed to end the inning…but the damage was done to my fingernails.
The ninth wasn’t as intense, as Zach Britton nailed the door shut by striking out the side. Ballgame over, Orioles win a wild one 7-5.
Down 2-0 going into the fourth inning on Saturday, JJ Hardy the Orioles clawed their way back into the game after Hardy scored Trumbo on a ground-rule double in the fourth and followed by scoring Machado on a sac fly in the sixth to level the score.
But the baseball gods weren’t working in the Orioles’ favor late in the game, as Omar Narvaez’s shallow fly ball barely evaded a back tracking Manny Machado’s glove and fell softly into left field, scoring J.B. Shuck for the go-ahead run. Adam Eaton would put the game to bed with a solo shot off of Vance Worley in the eighth, and David Robertson locked it up in the ninth to snatch a 4-2 victory and force a rubber match on Sunday.
But the Orioles were saving the best for last. Before the third inning was over on Sunday, the O’s already had a jaw dropping 10-0 lead. Oh, and Manny Machado had already etched his name into the record books. So yeah…you could say it was a good day!
Machado launched a two-run bomb in the first inning to kick off the fireworks display, a moment which only served as a prelude to what the Orioles were preparing to unleash in the second inning.
The Orioles opened the floodgates after Hardy went yard, Machado cranked a three-run shot and Chris Davis ‘’crushed’’ a much-needed (and hopefully rejuvenating) solo shot, all off of James Shields, to jump out to an incredible 7-0 advantage going into the third inning. Pedro Alvarez capped off the O’s six-run assault with an RBI single to extend the lead to 8-0.
Then, Manny became just the second player to record three home runs in each of the first three innings of a game in MLB history with a two-run shot in the third. Just like that, the O’s were on easy street with a 10-0 lead. The Sox later pegged back two runs, highlighted by Jose Abreu’s 14th homer of the season in the sixth, but the O’s ultimately cruised to a breezy 10-2 win to bank the series win before heading to Cali.
Let’s take a look at all of the highlights from the O’s trip to the Windy City:
– The Offensive revival. Not only did the Orioles hit for an impressive .306 average versus Chicago, they pushed 19 runs across the plate while clubbing seven homers. After a stagnant month of July, the O’s sluggers seem dialed in during the first week of August, as they are hitting .278 as a team while scoring 30 runs (five per game) along with a whopping 14 home runs over the first six games of the month.
– The 16 hits recorded by the O’s sluggers on Friday was the most the Orioles had racked up as a team since posting 17 hits in a 11-7 win versus San Diego on June 28th. And their ten runs scored on Sunday was the most since a 12-6 win versus the (guess who) Padres on June 29th.
– Cheers to the starters. Recording what was probably their best collective effort against the Rangers, Yovani Gallardo (6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K), Chris Tillman (6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) and the superb Dylan Bundy (6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) dominated the White Sox sluggers by allowing just seven runs over 18 innings, good for a rock-solid 3.50 ERA. Since the beginning of August, Orioles starters have registered an impressive 3.16 ERA, while over the past 17 games, their ERA is a very respectable (and much improved) 3.75.
– Let’s talk about Bundy. The O’s rookie-turning-phenom has been absolutely dealing over his last four outings, and owns a 3-1 record with a stellar 1.90 ERA and 29 K’s over 23.2 innings. Over his last seven games (five starts), Bundy owns a 3-2 record, a wicked 2.53 ERA and a remarkable 1.00 WHIP while also punching out 42 batters over 32 innings. This guy is getting stronger by the start.
– And how can we not talk about Pedro “El Toro” Alvarez?!?!?! The in-form slugger has six home runs over his last seven games, and during that stretch, he also owns a spectacular .375 batting average and eight RBI. He also has two multi-homer games in his last five ballgames. Since the end of June/beginning of July, Alvarez has arguably been the Orioles biggest threat at the dish and has an impressive .309 average with 12 homers and 22 RBI over his past 30 contests to back it up.
– The Britton watch- The O’s superstar closer is still a perfect 34-for-34 in save situations on the year after locking up another on Friday, and he also has now gone 37 straight contests without allowing an earned run.
– Adam Jones stayed hot in Chicago and finished the series 6-for-14 at the plate with two runs and one RBI. Over his last 15 games, the Orioles captain is hitting .306 with four homers and ten RBI.
– Hyun Soo Kim will ride a current nine-game hitting streak into Oakland, and owns a .333 average (11-for-33) with six runs, one homer and one RBI during that span.
– Before Manny Machado’s historic three-home run, seven-RBI display on Sunday, the Orioles star third baseman had just three homers over his previous 15 games and seven RBI over his last 19 games. Here’s to hoping his fireworks display on Sunday puts him back on the MVP path.
– And finally! Crush Davis finally recorded his first home run post All-Star break and his first in 20 ballgames on Sunday. Here’s to hoping that after his stress-breaking bomb, #19 will start putting them over the fence at a more frequent pace.
After completing the mission in Chicago, the O’s will now head to the Bay Area for a week to take on the A’s and the Giants.
Here’s to letting the good times roll in sunny California!