The longest road trip of the season is over, and it was a most eventful—and successful one.
The Orioles’ 8-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday gave them a 7-4 trip. They won three of four in both Anaheim and Oakland, but lost two of three in Seattle.
They end the trip just 1 ½ games behind Boston, which has lost three straight, for first place in the AL East. They’re just percentage points behind the second place Yankees.
With a 12-8 road record, they have the most road wins in the American League, and play 11 of their next 14 games at home.
On Sunday, Jason Hammel had a horrible first inning, allowing three runs, but managed to make it through six innings and won his fifth game, all of them on the road.
While Hammel is frustrated that he hasn’t been able to put together a complete start, he’s a dropped fly ball in the sun by Adam Jones away from being 6-0.
Nate McLouth, Manny Machado and Jones had strong offensive performances on the trip, and the scariest moment of the sojourn, Chris Davis injuring his right knee on Friday night, turned out to be almost a non-event.
After undergoing a Saturday morning MRI, Davis returned to the lineup on Sunday, and had an RBI single.
Machado and J.J. Hardy had two-run home runs and Ryan Flaherty, who was just 4-for-28 on the trip, had a two-run eighth inning single.
There were two new starters on the trip, Zach Britton, who was quickly returned to Norfolk, and Freddy Garcia, who threw six no-hit innings on Saturday. A new backup catcher, Chris Snyder came on board to substitute for Taylor Teagarden, who dislocated his left thumb eight days ago.
Zach Clark made his long awaited major league debut, but the eight-year undrafted free agent, was designated for assignment just three days after his first game.
After a horrid outing last Sunday in Oakland, Pedro Strop showed signs of improvement.
Wei-Yin Chen threw one great game and one bad one, and Chris Tillman was terrific in his last outing.
Miguel Gonzalez raised a blister in Friday’s start, and his next one is in doubt.
What’s not in doubt is this group of Orioles looks ready to contend for the five months, and it should be a most entertaining time in Baltimore.