(May 7-9) Baltimore Takes 2-1 Series over Royals 
The Baltimore Orioles continued their wining ways May 7 through May 11, advancing to a 22-15 overall record after a 2-1 series win over the Kansas City Royals and a 1-1 split with the Minnesota Twins.

Baltimore’s formula for winning games this season has been simple: Gain a 2- to 3-run lead through six innings, then call on their reliable bullpen to close out the game for the victory.

That’s how they beat the Royals in games one and two May 7-8. The Orioles earned a three-run lead in the first inning of game one, thanks to centerfielder Adam Jones hitting a single RBI, followed by a two-run RBI. Baltimore held onto a 4-3 win. In game two, J.J. Hardy hit a two-run home run early on and the bats earned three more runs in the fifth inning to win 5-3. Both games ended with designated closer Jim Johnson coming in to record a save, his 12th and 13th save of the season respectively.

(May 10-11) Orioles Split Game One and Game Two with Twins
Johnson earned his 14th save of the season on May 10 in a 9-6 win over the Minnesota Twins. The save was also Johnson’s 35th consecutive save, dating back to July 27 of last season, breaking the Orioles franchise record for saves. Former Orioles pitcher Randy Myers owned the record for 16 seasons when he recorded 34 straight saves back in 1997.

Baltimore gutted out game one after trailing much of the contest; but they put together three runs in the 10th inning. Infielder Manny Machado hit a single RBI, then outfielder Nick Markakis added a sacrifice fly to set Machado for a run scored by Adam Jones’s RBI.

But the Orioles didn’t have the same success on May 11 in game two of the series. Orioles team manager Buck Showalter called on Steve Johnson, a backup pitcher recently called up from the Triple-A team in Norfolk, Va., to start the game. Johnson couldn’t find a rhythm, allowing seven hits, six runs and four walks in just four innings before he was relieved by the bullpen. Orioles relief pitcher Troy Patton gave up two more runs in two innings and Baltimore lost, 8-5.

Oriole Player of the Week: Jim Johnson
So far this season, Johnson has easily stamped himself as the best closer in the game with a league high 14 saves. His record-breaking performances are a huge part of the Orioles’ success this season as they’re third in the American League East Division standings. He’s currently on-pace to break his own team record of 51 saves in a single-season, set last season.

The Orioles will face the San Diego Padres on May 14-15, and then hosts the Tampa Rays on May 17-19.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor