The Baltimore Orioles passed the New York Yankees and claimed second place in the American League East with victories in two series during week 11 of the season.

(June 10-12) Orioles Take Two of Three Against Angels 
Baltimore (39-30) began their run in Camden Yards with a home series against the Los Angeles Angels. The Orioles won the opening game, 4-3, after waiting out a rain delay of more than two hours. Baltimore scored two key runs in the sixth inning and the bullpen held off the Angels through the ninth inning for the win. Closer Jim Johnson earned his 22nd save of the year.

The second game of the series came down to a pitcher’s duel between O’s starter Miguel Gonzalez and Angels’ starter Jason Vargas. Gonzalez won the battle, pitching a career-high eight innings while allowing just four hits and one run and striking out five batters in the 3-2 win. Johnson relived Gonzalez in the ninth inning to earn another save.

The Angels rallied in the third game with a six-run seventh inning highlighted by a homerun from designated hitter Albert Pujols and a bases-loaded triple by shortstop Erick Aybar. Los Angeles defeated Baltimore, 9-5.

(June 13-15) Orioles Take First Two, Drop Third, in Four-Game Series Against Red Sox
The Orioles bounced right back to beat the A.L. East-leading Boston Red Sox on June 13 in the opener of their four-game series. The score was tied 4-4 for 13 innings until Chris Davis hit a walk-off single to give the O’s a 5-4 win. Davis had two hits in the game, while Adam Jones had just one hit, which also came in the 13th inning.

The second game against the Red Sox was much shorter, as the O’s put on a pitching clinic to seal a 2-0 victory. Starting pitcher Chris Tillman didn’t surrender a run over six innings, and the bullpen kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard to close out the game. Third baseman Manny Machado led Baltimore with three hits in the game, and Chris Davis had a hit and a run scored. Jim Johnson finished the game to earn his 24th save of the season.

Unfortunately, the Orioles couldn’t make it three straight wins, falling 5-4 in game three. Baltimore fell behind midway through the game, down 5-2 by the seventh inning, but made an attempt at a comeback in the ninth inning. Catcher Matt Wieters hit a two-run homerun to bring the O’s within one, but the Red Sox turned a double play on a subsequent fly ball by second baseman Ryan Flaherty to end the rally.

The Orioles are having trouble closing out their series, but as long as they continue to win two games of each set, they can end the season in control of the American League East. The Red Sox are still in first place with a 42-28 record, but Baltimore has beaten them 12 out of the last 19 times the two teams have faced each other.

Orioles Player of the Week:
Johnson is back on track for the O’s after several rough outings, earning three saves this week. He still sits atop the American League with 24 saves.

The O’s will travel to Detroit to face the Tigers on June 17-19, and then onto Toronto to take on the Blue Jays on June 21-23.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor