J.J. Hardy, Wilson Ramos

Baltimore Orioles’ J.J. Hardy (2) comes in to score on a doubt by Ryan Flaherty during the seventh inning of a baseball game as Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos looks on at left, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, in Washington. The Orioles won 7-3. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Baltimore Orioles were red hot in the first week of August, winning five of six games. After defeating the Washington Nationals in a make-up game on Aug. 4, the Orioles took two of three from the Blue Jays in Toronto, and the first two back home against the St. Louis Cardinals. As of Aug. 10, the Orioles led the American League East division with 67-49 record.

Aug. 4: Orioles Win Make-up Game in Washington

The Orioles started the week with a 7-3 win over the Nationals in Washington, D.C. in a makeup game for a matchup that was postponed due to rain on July 7. Starter Kevin Gausman gave up eight hits and three earned runs in six innings, but the Orioles were scorching hot on offense with 14 total hits. Catcher Caleb Joseph and right fielder Nick Markakis both hit home runs and shortstop J.J. Hardy led the team with four hits.

Aug. 5-7: Baltimore Takes Two in Toronto

Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Reys bobbles the ball but manages to hang on to it for the force out on Baltimore Orioles Adam Jones at second base during sixth inning AL baseball game action in Toronto Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Fred Thornhill)

The Orioles opened a three-game road series against their division rivals with a 9-3 win in Game One on Aug. 5. Joseph hit another home run, and second baseman Jonathan Schoop and first baseman Chris Davis went the yard as Baltimore dominated again at the plate. Starting pitcher Bud Norris had a solid outing, lasting into the sixth inning while giving up seven hits and two earned runs with six strikeouts.

Unfortunately, Baltimore couldn’t keep their winning ways going, falling 5-1 in Game Two on Aug. 6. Starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen struggled on the mound, allowing eight hits and four earned runs in just five innings. Toronto pitcher Drew Hutchison came within one out of pitching a complete game and one-hit the Orioles; Davis got the lone hit, his 19th home run of the season.

The O’s bounced back the following night with a 2-1 win in Game Three. Baltimore wasn’t spectacular on offense, recording just five hits including Joseph’s third home run of the week. Starter Miguel Gonzalez pitched six strong innings, allowing just four hits and one run. Relief pitcher Zack Britton closed out the game for his 24th save of the season.

Aug. 8-9: O’s Dominate in First Two Against Cardinals

Baltimore Orioles’ J.J. Hardy, bottom, slides past St. Louis Cardinals catcher A.J. Pierzynski for a run on a double by Delmon Young in the second inning of an interleague baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Orioles returned home and found their offense waiting for them as they crushed the Cardinals, 12-2, in Game One on Aug. 8. Five different Orioles batters smashed home runs, including Hardy, Davis, third baseman Manny Machado, center fielder Adam Jones and second baseman Ryan Flaherty. Chris Tillman got the start and pitched into the seventh inning while allowing just four hits and two runs with seven strikeouts.

Baltimore was just as dominant at the plate in its 10-3 win over the Cardinals in Game Two on Aug. 9. Joseph hit his fourth homer of the week, and Nelson Cruz and Delmon Young also hit home runs. Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez lasted six innings with five strikeouts.

Next-up: After closing out their series with the Cardinals on Aug. 10, Baltimore will host the New York Yankees in a three-game series from Aug. 11 to 13.   The Orioles will then travel to Cleveland to take on the Indians in a three-game series on Aug. 15 to 17.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor