As late as last year, Rogers Centre was a house of horrors for the Baltimore Orioles. And I’m not just talking about the 2016 AL Wild Card Game, but also regular season series’. So an early season four-game set north of the border may well have been met with some angst in the Orioles’ clubhouse.
But that would have ended up being unnecessary, as the Birds took three-of-four from Toronto, putting them in a great spot going into today’s off day before opening a series in Cincinnatti tomorrow. Dylan Bundy was fairly dominant for the Orioles yesterday, shutting Toronto bats down all day – just as Toronto bats had basically been shut down all series long. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K.
Throughout the first part of the afternoon it appeared as if we were going to see another pitcher’s duel. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that anyone scored, which was when Adam Jones‘ RBI-single gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. One inning later Trey Mancini smacked a three-run homer, and the Birds were off to the races.
The O’s would add additional runs in that fourth inning on Hardy’s RBI-double, and Gentry’s sac fly-RBI. Toronto also mounted a threat in the seventh, but the O’s got out of it surrendering only one run. But one inning later Mancini spouted off again with a solo homer. But wait…there’s more.
The O’s ended up with three home runs in that eighth inning, as Gentry and Machado each added two-run shots. Toronto would put three runs on the board before all was said and done, however that was too little too late. The O’s ended up with an 11-4 victory in the series finale, again giving them a series win at three games out of four.
This has the feel of a series to which one might look back as one that was instrumental in setting the tone for the season. The Orioles found different ways to win in different types of games at each spot along the way. They also leave Rogers Centre with five consecutive quality starts, dating back to last week in Boston. The pitching has really stepped up and come a long way.
However that pitching took a bit of a hit before the game, as we found out that Zach Britton was being sent to the 20-day DL with forearm soreness. He apparently felt a twinge while throwing a breaking ball on Friday night; the DL assignment is back-dated to Saturday.
Adam Jones also smacked into the Rogers Centre wall chasing down a triple late in yesterday’s game. He stayed down for awhile, but was able to stay in the game. He was lifted in the ninth inning, but it certainly gave the Orioles a scare.
Needless to say, the Orioles may well have exorcized any old demons which existed at Rogers Centre. Timely hitting, offensive power, and quality pitching all played a role in this big divisional series win. Big wheels keep on turning!