If you forgot, baseball tends to be fun when your team is winning games. The Orioles made things fun on this night, winning their third straight game for a winning streak that feels similar to winning a world series. Maybe not. But for 2018, three wins is probably cause for bit extra clubhouse celebration.
If you’d like to relive the night, the details are below. Celebrate good times. It’s Friday night and the Orioles are winners!
Things got started early in the bottom of the first, as Manny Machado did what apparently Manny Machado does on a regular basis now — cashing in with a first-inning home run. Tonight, he barreled up a ball to left-center with Adam Jones on first, a long fly that accounted for his 11th of the season. Quickly, Machado gave the Birds a 2-0 edge.
The Orioles needed a solid outing from Kevin Gausman on the hill on Friday and they most certainly got it. To say Buck Showalter and company had to be ecstatic to see actual production from a starter would be an understatement.
The Rays got on the board first in the bottom of the third courtesy of a bit of an unconventional two-out rally. After Denard Span singled, a Gausman wild pitch advanced him to second for C.J. Cron. On a pitch that was well inside, he somehow flared a single behind first base that got down into the grass, a perfect shot to score Span and plate a run. That cut the Orioles lead in half, making it 2-1 after three full.
From there, Gausman continued to cruise and showcase why his stuff projected the way it did as a prospect. He had Tampa Bay hitters off balance throughout the night and provided some sturdy exclamation marks throughout the night. In the sixth, he surrendered a pair of singles to put runners on first and second with two outs, but slammed the door shut with a perfect 97 MPH fastball to lock up Mallex Smith for the strikeout.
With Chris Tillman going on the disabled list and, well, everything going the way it is for the current state of the Orioles rotation, moments like that Smith strikeout become just a bit more appreciated.
In the bottom of the sixth, our old friend “the insurance run” made an appearance off of the bat of Jonathan Schoop to give the Birds a little cushion. Trey Mancini singled and looked as though he’d be stranded after two outs, but Schoop ripped a double to right-center for a timely RBI, making it 3-1 after six innings.
After Gausman worked out of a jam in the top of the seventh, the always exciting five-spot was posted on the scoreboard to put this one out of reach. Mark Trumbo offered a leadoff solo shot to make it a three-run game, but that one run wouldn’t end up meaning all that much.
It had everything to do with that Machado guy who is having a pretty good year.
With the bases loaded, he hit a sky-high fly ball to left field that would not have gotten out of the park if it were hit just a couple of inches shorter. Fortunately, the wall in left field at Camden Yards is just deep enough. It got just a row deep, but it was good enough for a grand slam nonetheless. It cleared the bases and made it 8-1, putting the exclamation mark that this game — and particularly Kevin Gausman — deserved. After a nine-inning shutout that didn’t result in a win, those runs had to be a pretty good feeling for the Birds starter.
Richard Bleier had arguably his worst outing of the season and allowed two runs after Gausman exited the game, but that wouldn’t matter on this night.
Chance Sisco homered, and Brad Brach closed it out with a scoreless ninth to lock in the series-opening 9-4 win and give the Birds their 11th win of the season. Progress!
If you’re looking for more Orioles baseball, it turns out that you’re in luck. How does 18 innings sound? The Orioles host a doubleheader tomorrow at OPACY with a 3:05 first pitch. Sure, it’ll take a heck of a winning streak for this team to find a record anywhere close to .500, but why not inch a bit closer with a pair on Saturday afternoon?
We’ll see you there.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Friday, May 11?
This poll is closed
Kevin Gausman (7.1 IP, 2 ER)
Manny Machado (2 HR, 6 RBI)