Baltimore Orioles straighten themselves out at the Trop

Manny Machado‘s glove was a key part of the Baltimore Orioles’ win last night in Tampa. More on that in a moment. But it all begins and ends with starting pitching, right? If in fact, Kevin Gausman set the tone last night early on. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K.

Gausman once again gave the Orioles a quality start, in a series that’s of dire importance to both the Orioles at Tampa. The pitching seems to be getting marginally better. It’s still not great, but it’s getting better.

Machado made a key play in the last of the first to end the inning, starting a double-play. He made a similar play to end the fifth inning, and in both cases that helped to keep Tampa off the scoreboard. Make no mistake about the fact that if not for those two plays, the Orioles might not have won this game.

The Birds got on the scoreboard in the top of the third when Adam Jones smacked a solo homer to left. And that run stood up for the Orioles through Gausman’s tenure in the game, along with those of the rest of the pitchers used. The O’s of course added to that lead eventually multiply.

The O’s would load the bases in the eighth, and Machado smacked a two-RBI single up the middle into center field. That opened up a 3-0 Orioles’ lead, but they weren’t quite done. Schoop would add a sac fly-RBI before the inning ended, and Castillo would score on a throwing error in the ninth. This allowed the O’s to cruise to an eventual 5-0 victory.

The Birds were finally able to put it all together in this game. They got a dominant outing out of their starter, the bats came through in the clutch, and the Orioles’ bullpen held things down come the latter innings. While I suspect that they envisioned a bit more power ruling the day, the fact is that the Birds put runs up behind a dominant pitching performance, and held the lead.

And yes, that’s what you want. This Tampa team is one against whom the Orioles have had some success this year. With the win last night, the Orioles improve to 6-4 on the season against this team. You have to start somewhere when it comes to scratching your way back into the race.

The series continues this evening at Tropicana Field. Wade Miley gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jacob Faria. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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