Alejandro De Aza

Fans cheer after Baltimore Orioles left fielder Alejandro De Aza caught Toronto Blue Jays’ Dalton Pompey’s fly ball in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 8-2 to clinch the American League East. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Baltimore Orioles earned their first American League East pennant in 17 years with wins in four of five games played from Sept. 15 to Sept. 20.

Baltimore clinched the division title while sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game home series. The Orioles then split wins in the first two games of a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox in Baltimore. The Orioles’ Sept. 20 win over the Red Sox was their 93rd victory of the season, the most games they’ve won since 2012 when they clinched an American League ‘wild card’ spot. Baltimore’s 93-61 record trails only the Los Angeles Angels (96-59) for the best record in the AL.

Sept. 15-18: Baltimore Sweeps Blue Jays, Reaches Magic Number

Alejandro De Aza, Dioner Navarro

Baltimore Orioles’ Alejandro De Aza watches his three-run triple in front of Toronto Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

In a week focused on reaching their “magic number” to clinch the division, the Orioles cut that number to one with a 5-2 win over the Blue Jays in Game One on Sept. 15 Wei-Yin Chen delivered a solid start to win his 16th game of the season. Chen lasted into the sixth inning, throwing six strikeouts while giving up two runs. Closer Zack Britton earned his 35th save of the season. Center fielder Adam Jones led the team with three hits and an RBI; second baseman Ryan Flaherty smacked a two-run home run in the fourth inning.

Baltimore made it official the following night, routing the Blue Jays, 8-2, in Game Two to win the division crown. Starter Ubaldo Jimenez gave up two early runs but eventually settled in. But the Orioles really took over the game offensively, as first baseman Steve Pearce and third baseman Jimmy Paredes provided clutch hits. Both Pearce and Paredes went the yard with home runs; Pearce added three RBI’s and left fielder Alejandro De Aza also came up with three RBI’s.

Pearce stayed hot at the plate in Game Three as he nailed two home runs to push the Orioles to a 6-1 win, sweeping the three-game series. Pearce finished with four RBI’s on the night. Bud Norris pitched into the sixth inning, allowing just two hits and no runs.

Sept. 19-20: O’s Split Two Against Red Sox

Garin Cecchini, Jonathan Schoop

Baltimore Orioles’ Jonathan Schoop, right, beats a throw to Boston Red Sox third baseman Garin Cecchini on Alejandro De Aza’s single in the third inning of a baseball game, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Baltimore’s pursuit of the top seed in the AL faltered slightly in Game One of a three-game set against Boston, in a 5-3 loss on Sept. 19. David Ortiz came up big for Boston, hitting a two-run homer in the 10th inning to push the Red Sox to victory. Orioles relief pitcher Darren O’ Day gave up the winning home run.

But the Orioles bounced back to beat the Red Sox in Game Two, 7-2. Jones was smoking hot at the plate, hitting two home runs and racking up four RBI’s. Backup first baseman Christian Walker went the yard with a homer in the fourth inning. Starting pitcher Chris Tillman gave up a home run to Ortiz in the first inning, but pitched a solid game thereafter, lasting seven full innings while giving up just two runs and five hits.

Next up: Baltimore will close out their series against the Red Sox on Sept. 21, followed by a four-game set against the Yankees in New York from Sept. 22 to Sept. 25. The Orioles will then close out their regular season with a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto from Sept. 26 to Sept. 28.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor