The Baltimore Orioles are back in first place of the American League East division for the moment after beating the Toronto Blue Jays in two straight games over the weekend.
The Orioles have a 25-16 record as of May 20, placing them a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees for the division lead.
The starting pitchers weren’t at their best in either victory over Toronto, but they did just enough to put the game in the hands of the Orioles’ best weapons: the closers of the bullpen and the power batters on offense.
Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado, right reacts after dumping water on Wellington Castillo hit a game winning home run to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays’ during the 10th inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 19, 2017, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Kevin Gausman allowed 10 hits and two runs though six innings in his start on May 20, while Richard Bieber and Mychal Givens gave up three more runs as the first two relievers out of the bullpen. But once closers Darren O’Day and Brad Brach took over, Toronto was held scoreless through the last two innings. Brach earned his ninth save of the season.
As for Baltimore’s power bats, Manny Machado nailed his 10th home run of the season and Mark Trumbo picked up his sixth homer.
Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado follows through on a solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
The Orioles’ offense is starting to come alive right when the team needs. Baltimore’s starting pitchers have uncharacteristically played well for most of the season. And while that’s been a welcome pleasant surprise for O’s fans, nobody expects it to last for long. Baltimore will need its high-scoring offense to drive in runs consistently if it wishes to maintain a hold over the division lead.
Next: The Orioles will host the Minnesota Twins in a three-game series May 22-24, followed by a three-game series on the road against the Astros in Houston, May 26-28.