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Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles look to continue their groove

The O’s broke even against the two best teams in baseball. With seven more games on this homestand, can they keep the good times rolling?

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Six games into the most brutal stretch of their schedule, the Orioles haven’t looked the least bit intimidated. They’ve gone 3-3 against the teams with the two best records in baseball, the Rays and Braves, and just finished off a series win over Tampa Bay that featured outstanding O’s pitching. Even the three Orioles losses have been by just a combined five runs.

They’ve more than risen to the challenge of facing tougher opponents, defying the skeptics — including more than a few Orioles fans — who feared they’d collapse once the quality of competition increased. The Birds’ potential storybook season has continued unscathed.

It’s been the opposite story for their next opponent, the Pirates, who were a similar feel-good story as the Orioles for the first month of the season — going 20-9 through the end of April — but have collapsed to a 1-8 May so far. Their tailspin began when they were handily swept by the Rays, the same team the Orioles just beat.

The O’s can’t look past the Pirates for these next three games, of course. Pittsburgh is still a first-place club that’s capable of rattling off a bunch of wins in a row. But the way the Orioles are playing now — and the way the Pirates are — this series is a good opportunity for the O’s to keep their winning ways alive.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 26th birthday to Orioles utility man Terrin Vavra, who earlier this week was called back up to the big club after a stint at Triple-A. Perhaps Vavra will be in the lineup tonight for his big day. Former Orioles with May 12 birthdays include right-hander Evan Meek (40), outfielder Kevin Bass (64), and catcher Joe Nolan (72).

On this day in 1984, Orioles legend Jim Palmer made the final appearance of his 19-year, Hall of Fame career, pitching two innings of mop-up relief in a 12-2 O’s loss to the Athletics. Palmer gave up four runs, including a Davey Lopes three-run homer. Coincidentally, he also faced Joe Morgan (and walked him), who would ultimately be elected to the Hall alongside Palmer in 1990. The outing inflated Palmer’s ERA to 9.17 in five games, and the O’s released him two days later.

Random Orioles game of the day

On May 12, 1964, the Orioles blanked the Washington Senators at the creatively named D.C. Stadium, 5-0. The Birds’ impressive 21-year-old lefty Dave McNally threw the second of what would be 33 career shutouts, holding the Senators to just two hits and retiring 12 batters in a row at one point. Meanwhile, the O’s offense jumped out to five early runs against Washington starter Dave Stenhouse, including a Boog Powell three-run homer in the third. The game was played in a tidy two hours and 17 minutes in front of a crowd of just over 2,000.