Orioles focused on closing out the season strong
BALTIMORE – The Colorado Rockies are gone, and the Orioles are through with interleague play for the year. With six weeks and 39 games to play, it’s a steady diet of playoff contenders.
Over the next week, Tampa Bay and Oakland come to Baltimore, the two teams that are immediately ahead of the Orioles in the Wild Card race.
Of course, the Orioles want to win the American League East, but they’ll have to get through the Rays before they can think about the Boston Red Sox.
“This is a group that kind of likes being in that position. I think the last thing I would ever do is underestimate what they're capable of," manager Buck Showalter said.
On Sunday, they took their second straight over the Rockies, 7-2 before 22,238 at Oriole Park.
The Orioles (67-56) may have to win two of every three to make the postseason for the second straight season.
“You’ve got to win every game. Obviously, that’s impossible to do, but you’ve got to go out every single day and say, ‘I’ve got to win today. I’ve got to win today.’ There’s no thinking we’ve got to go out there and win two out of three against the Rays. No, we’ve got to go out there tomorrow and then take care of Tuesday and take care of Wednesday,” Adam Jones said.
“It’s that cliché, one game at a time, one pitch at a time. Whoever said that and came up with that, it’s true. They’re right.”
Jones had three hits, including his 25th home run. Davis had his fourth four-hit game of the season and swatted his 45th home run of the year.
“I just like the combination of me and Chris,” Jones said. “I think we make each other better.”
Scott Feldman pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two runs on five hits. Feldman (3-3) allowed just two hits in the first six innings.
In the second inning, Nick Markakis singled with one out off Jhoulys Chacin (11-7). Brian Roberts followed with a single. After Ryan Flaherty hit into a fielder’s choice and Markakis took third, Alexi Casilla’s single scored Markakis.
Davis doubled with two outs in the third. Jones hit a two-run home run into the Orioles bullpen for a 3-0 lead and became the second Orioles outfielder to hit 25 home runs in three seasons. Frank Robinson, who did it five times, is the other.
Feldman created his own jam in the sixth. He walked Corey Dickerson, then threw consecutive wild pitches to Troy Tulowitzki, and Dickerson advanced to third. Feldman struck out Tulowitzki and retired Michael Cuddyer on a fly ball to center.
Todd Helton led off the seventh with a double for Colorado (58-67). After he moved to third on Nolan Arenado’s fly ball, Helton scored on Charlie Blackmon’s double. Blackmon stole third and scored on an infield out by Yorvit Torrealba.
Feldman was relieved by Tommy Hunter after DJ LeMahieu’s single.
Hunter retired Dexter Fowler on a fly to left, and the Orioles led 3-2.
Feldman allowed two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out three in earning his first win since July 22.
With Texas, Feldman pitched in the 2011 postseason and is eager for another chance at it.
“Every day you show up to the ballpark and you’ve got a chance to continue the season and try to play into October. It’s fun to watch, see what the other guys are doing that we’re chasing right now and kind of root against them a little bit. But at the same time I think as long as we just take care of our business here we’ll be fine,” Feldman said.
In the bottom of the seventh, Davis and Jones singled off Josh Outman. Davis moved to third on Markakis’ fly to center. Jones stole second. Both scored on Roberts’ line drive single to center.
Davis’ line drive home run to center scored Manny Machado in the eighth. It was his 45th. He has 115 RBIs and he had his fourth four-hit game.
“This time of year, you definitely want to win as many series as you can especially when you’re at home but every game’s important down the stretch, and everyone in this division always seems to play really well near the end of the season, so the more wins we get, the better off we’ll be,” Davis said.
NOTES: After the game, the Orioles optioned Josh Stinson to Norfolk. Stinson on both Saturday and Sunday pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings. The Orioles will probably promote a hitter, perhaps Danny Valencia or Wilson Betemit, if he’s thought to be ready to activated from the disabled list.
-Chris Tillman (14-3, 3.70) faces David Price (6-5, 3.28) in the opener of the three-game Rays series.