Don’t look now, folks, but the Orioles have something cool going on. It’s called a winning streak.
It’s three games, so, you know, not the longest streak in history or anything. But a three-game winning streak is worth getting excited about for a club that hadn’t done it since the first week of the season.
The O’s didn’t just win. They made it look easy, trouncing the Blue Jays by an 8-1 final. It turns out that when your offense scores eight runs and your starting pitcher throws a brilliant game, you’ll usually win. Who knew?
The Orioles’ bats started a bit slow against Blue Jays starter Clayton Richard, not to be confused with 1940s actor Richard Clayton from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I bet those two get mixed up all the time. Only two Orioles reached base in the first three innings, and neither scored.
The second time through the lineup, though, proved to be Richard’s undoing. The Orioles batted around in the top of the fourth, if you — like me — assume “batted around” to mean nine batters and not 10. I don’t want to get into a big debate about it, though. The rally began when Trey Mancini reached on a Justin Smoak error. Renato Nunez then walloped a mammoth home run to approximately Vancouver, making him the first Oriole this year to reach the 20-home run mark. It gave the Birds a 2-0 edge.
They weren’t done. Pedro Severino laced a double on the next pitch, and the O’s again took advantage of sloppy Jays defense when third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. fielded and then dropped a sharp grounder to the left side. Anthony Santander’s single and Keon Broxton’s double each brought home a run before Richard got the first out of the inning. Richie Martin completed the scoring with a weak grounder to short that plated Santander from third. All told, the Orioles tallied five runs in the inning, handing Andrew Cashner a commanding lead.
It was more than he needed, considering how dominant Cashner looked against the Blue Jays lineup. Sweet sassy molassey, was he good! Cashner mowed down the first 10 batters of the game, half of them on grounders, before Guerrero snuffed his modest perfecto with a one-out single in the fourth. The Jays scored their first run later that inning, when Guerrero advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Cavan Biggio’s single, but that’s where having a five-run cushion comes in handy. Cashner ended the fourth with no further damage, then went back into cruise control.
Cashner stuck around for three more sensational innings, a Luke Maile sixth-inning single the only blemish. He finished his outing with a three-up, three-down seventh inning — his fifth perfect frame of the afternoon — and left the game with this sparkling pitching line: seven innings, three hits, one run, no walks, four strikeouts. That’ll do! In his last five starts, Cashner has a 1.97 ERA. That’ll do, also!
For good measure, the Orioles poured on a few insurance runs in the late innings, starting with a Stevie Wilkerson RBI single off Richard in the sixth. In the eighth, with a runner at third and one out, Santander lofted a bloop to shallow center field that, frankly, should’ve been caught. But the drawn-in infielders didn’t give much of an effort to go back on it, and center fielder Teoscar Hernandez pulled up and let it drop in for a gift RBI hit. In the ninth, Wilkerson delivered a more boisterous run, parking a solo homer to right field to extend the O’s lead to 8-1.
Jimmy Yacabonis struck out the side in a dominant eighth inning, and Shawn Armstrong handled ninth-inning duties, although he issued a two-out walk. The Orioles were so close to pitching an entire game without walking a batter! But that’s a minor complaint. Armstrong got the final out on a nice catch by Broxton at the wall, putting the victory in the books.
Easy as pie. The Orioles clinched their fifth series win of the year, and they also sealed their first series win on the road since April 1-3 (which was also in Toronto), snapping an 11-series road losing streak. The O’s will finish their first-half schedule tomorrow at Rogers Centre. Can they finally pick up their first sweep of the year? After a game like today, anything seems possible.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Saturday, July 6?
This poll is closed
Andrew Cashner (7 IP, 1 R, win)
Renato Nunez (20th HR)
Stevie Wilkerson (HR, two RBIs)