BALTIMORE – The crutches ominously stood next to Manny Machado’s locker. Machado walked into the Orioles clubhouse after the game without aid, his face blank, his answers polite but guarded.
He’d been through this all before. It couldn’t be happening again, could it?
Machado sprained his right knee while grounding out against the New York Yankees’ Chris Capuano in the third inning of Monday night’s game.
He came out of the game with manager Buck Showalter and trainer Richie Bancells’ help. Machado had X-Rays which were negative and a Tuesday morning MRI awaits.
Machado will endure a night of questions and concerns, hoping the injury isn’t a big deal. It was only last September at Tampa Bay when he severely injured his other knee, and October surgery on the left knee kept him out until May 1.
“I hate crutches. I thought I put those down a long time ago,” Machado said.
The Orioles will have anxious hours, too, hoping their star third baseman isn’t going for very long.
“Wait for the MRI and that will give us an idea of how long or how many days I’m going to be out,” Machado said.
After Machado left, the Orioles scored 10 unanswered runs and pulled away with an 11-3 win over the Yankees before 34,018 at Oriole Park.
Chris Davis, who didn’t start, hit a two-run home run off Capuano (1-3) to give the Orioles (68-50) the 4-3 lead. They scored three in the seventh and four more in the eighth to win going away.
J.J. Hardy missed his second game with a sprained left thumb. If Hardy and Machado are both unable to play for what looks like an extended period of time, the Orioles will reach down to Norfolk to recall an infielder.
Showalter wants to remain optimistic.
“We're not going to get caught up in that gloom and doom and the sky is falling. Hopefully we don't have to DL him and he's back in a few days. Who knows? That's the way I look at it. Same way with J.J. Maybe he comes in tomorrow and ready to go,” Showalter said.
His reading of Machado’s mood was noncommittal.
“If you've been through what he'd kind of been through in the past, that initial feeling is pretty negative,” Showalter said.
Machado didn’t know what happened when he swung at that pitch and while it shattered his bat, he crumbled and turned over as he officially grounded out to shortstop.
“I have no idea. It just happened. No explanation for it. Just a freak accident,” Machado said. “First thing that goes through your mind is bad thoughts.”
The good that happened included Davis’ 21st homer, Nelson Cruz’s 31st and Jonathan Schoop’s 10th, but his first at home.
Bud Norris (10-7) pitched an inelegant five innings for the win. He allowed three runs on five hits. His 10 wins equals his season high. Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, Andrew Miller and Tommy Hunter pitched four hitless innings to complete the win.
His thoughts were with Machado.
"I think it was a scare for all of us. We didn't like seeing it in Tampa last year and obviously that was pretty frightening here today,” Norris said. “Obviously we want him out there with us, but we want him out there when he's 100 percent and he can play the caliber of baseball he can play."
Machado’s injury and the late offensive barrage, which gave the Orioles 10 or more runs in three of the last four games, took the attention away from the Keystone Kops-like sequence in the second, which gave the Yankees (61-57) a 3-1 lead.
Carlos Beltran led off the second with a walk and advanced to third when Chase Headley singled. With one out, Headley broke for second and was caught in a rundown. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop threw the ball to Steve Pearce, who threw to Machado
Beltran scored as Machado’s throw sailed onto the backstop. As Headley moved to second, third and headed home, Norris recovered the ball and rolled toward Machado, who threw home, but not in time to prevent Headley from scoring, and the Yankees had two runs and Beltran had a rare steal of home.
Norris blamed himself, calling it “a bonehead play.”
The Orioles added three runs in the seventh off Adam Warren on doubles by Nick Markakis and Adam Jones and a long two-run home run by Cruz, his 31st to make it 7-3.
Schoop’s three-run homer in the eighth gave the Orioles a 10-3 lead. David Lough’s infield hit drove in the 11th run.
NOTES: The Orioles lead the American League with seven players hitting 10 or more home runs. …Wei-Yin Chen (12-4, 3.90) faces Shane Greene (3-1, 2.89) on Tuesday night.