The Baltimore Orioles hung-on tight to their lead over the American League East division after winning three of their last five games between July 29 to Aug. 3. The Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels, 2-1, in a three-game home series in Baltimore, and then split the first two games of another three-game home series against the Seattle Mariners. Baltimore is currently in first place in the AL East division with a 61-48 record, as of Aug. 3. They lead the Toronto Blue Jays by 2.5 games.

July 29-31: Orioles Handle Angels in Home Series

Hank Conger, Adam Jones

Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones watches his solo home run in front of Los Angeles Angels catcher Hank Conger in the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Baltimore.

Baltimore had a tight 7-6 win over the Angels on July 29 in Game One of their series against the Angels,. The Orioles led, 6-5, going into the 7th inning when Brad Brach gave up a game-tying run to even the score at 6. The score was then locked up into the 12th inning of extra play until third baseman Manny Machado blasted a walk-off home run to win the game. Chris Tillman got the start at pitcher and was awful with three earned runs allowed, five runs total in just six innings pitched. Relief pitcher Ryan Webb got the win as he closed out the final inning.

The O’s won a tight Game Two the next night, 4-3, over the Angels. This time it was outfielder Adam Jones’ home run early in the first inning that ultimately decided the victory for Baltimore. It was Jones’ 21st homer of the season. Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman was solid from the mound, lasting seven innings while allowing just three hits and three earned runs. Zack Britton eventually closed the game out for his 21st save of the season.

Baltimore’s Game Three with the Angels on July 31 was another close game, but this time Los Angeles won, 1-0. The Orioles struggled at the plate offensively with just five total hits. Bud Norris was sharp on the mound, starting the first seven innings of the game while giving up no runs. Webb gave up the one run the Angels needed in the 13th inning to win the game.

Wei-Yin Chen

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, of Taiwan, winds up for a pitch to the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, in Baltimore.

Aug. 1-2: Baltimore Wins One, Loses One against Mariners

The Orioles bounced back in Game One to defeat the Mariners, 2-1, on Aug. 1. Wei-Yin Chen was outstanding at starting pitcher, lasting into the eighth inning. Chen allowed just five hits and one earned run with eight strikeouts while on the mound, and Britton closed out the game for his 22nd save. With such strong pitching, Baltimore only needed two runs to win.

Unfortunately for Baltimore, Miguel Gonzalez didn’t have the same success during his start at pitcher in Game Two, Aug. 2. Gonzalez gave up four earned runs in five innings pitched, causing the O’s to fall behind early and eventually lose, 6-3. Machado had three hits in five at-bats and catcher Caleb Joseph a home run, but that still wasn’t enough to get Baltimore out of the early hole.

Next-up: following Sunday’s finale action against the Mariners, the Orioles will face the Washington Nationals in a make-up game on Aug. 4 in D.C. Baltimore will then travel to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays in a three-game series on Aug. 5-7, followed by a home-series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 8-10.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor