On one hand Manny Machado and the Baltimore Orioles are lucky in the sense that they get all of their west coast games out of the way in one fatal swoop. However make no mistake about the fact that this west coast swing is a tough road trip which might make or break the season. Paramount in difficulty is the fact that there are no off days literally until the Birds head home. So what’s the best way to deal with that issue? Win games.
The Birds got a stellar effort out of starter Dylan Bundy, who set the tone for the O’s in the series opener in Anaheim. Bundy’s line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 10 K. Those last two stats in the line are telling in terms of how Bundy was dealing last night. Not walking anyone and striking out ten batters is a pretty special game.
Anaheim did strike first, as they took a 1-0 lead in the last of the fourth on a sac fly-RBI. However the Orioles took care of that one inning later when Joey Rickard singled Beckham (who was on base yet again) home to tie the game. Adam Jones would add a sac fly-RBI later in the inning, and the Orioles held a 2-1 lead.
Anaheim battled back ever so briefly, as they tied the game in the sixth on a solo homer by Trout. But this was an Orioles team bent on victory on this night. Manny Machado came to the plate in the seventh with the bases loaded, and promptly smacked a grand slam which gave the Birds a 6-2 lead. And that held up as a 6-2 victory.
The win put the Orioles back at the .500 mark for the season. They’ve been below .500 since the end of June, which capped of a really poor stretch for the Orioles. But since then they’ve righted the ship. And we saw that again last night – is this a game that they would have won in May or June? Probably not.
To his credit, Machado was simply trying to have a productive at-bat with the bases loaded. And he indicated as much in his comments after the game (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
I was just trying to get something over the plate. He was running the ball in and using that slider the whole game. He was pitching a hell of a game. Just had a couple mistakes and we were able to take advantage of it. Played overall a great game. That was a great inning, started off with Castillo getting a base hit and getting guys over. It was a team win today.