BALTIMORE—Offense has not been an Orioles strength this season. However, it was on Friday night in their 15-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Orioles, who entered the game last in the American League in offense, scored their most runs since May 13, when they beat the Rays, 17-1.
Their eight-run seventh was their biggest of the season.
Jonathan Schoop homered for the fifth straight game. He’s the first Oriole to do that since Chris Davis did from June 7-12, 2016. He also equaled a major league record for home runs in consecutive games by a second baseman. And, he has a 10-game hitting streak.
Schoop was batting .197 when July began. His .389 mark this month has lifted his average to .245.
“I think it’s just when I get a pitch to put a good swing on it and make it go forward,” Schoop said. “I’ve had some good at-bats, even three weeks ago, no two months ago, I was getting pitches to hit, but I wasn’t doing damage with them. I was fouling it back, I was getting jammed, I was missing them. Right now, I’m putting good contact on them.”
After Manny Machado was traded, he sent Schoop an Instagram post urging him to carry the torch.
“Why didn’t he tell him in April?” Buck Showalter joked.
Schoop’s name has been mentioned in trade talks, but he’s ignoring the chatter.
“I just come in here and try to help my team and try to block all these things out,” Schoop said. “I can’t do anything about it. Even if I know, what can I do? I can do nothing, so the only thing I can do is go out there and play the game the way I know how to play.”
The beneficiary was Andrew Cashner, who won for the first time since May 21 and picked up his first win at home. He had gone nine starts without a win.
“I didn’t really have much going tonight,” Cashner said. “It was a struggle. I was kind of fighting my delivery quite a bit. I didn’t really do a lot of things great, but I was able to kind of skate around the lineup and fight my way through.”
After the Orioles took a 12-3 lead, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash brought in veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez to pitch the eighth inning for the first time in 1,393 major league games.
The game became a joke when Gomez walked four batters and committed two balks. Gomez did retire Renato Nunez on a fly to center, but was relieved by Jesus Sucre, a catcher. Sucre allowed a single and retired two batters, including Schoop.
“One thing I [have] to remember is that guy is trying to get me out,” Schoop said. “I hit the pitcher and the position player got me out. I don’t know. Maybe he’s got to pitch more.
“Of course, you don’t want the [position player] to strike you out. You don’t know what to expect when you get in there because the first pitch I think was 82 and the next pitch was 70-something. You don’t know what to expect.”
Being a good host
The Bowie Baysox had no game on Friday, so the Orioles arranged to bring the five players on the Baysox who were obtained in the deals for Machado and Zach Britton to Oriole Park.
The players were ushered to Showalter’s office, and the manager made an impression.
“He showed us a board with our names on it, and it’s just kind of crazy that he’s in there looking at that stuff every day about potential guys to be up here, and it kind of put it into perspective how close all of us really are,” infielder Ryan Bannon said.
“There’s a fine line between us being down there and us coming up here.”
Bannon was obtained from the Los Angeles Dodgers along with outfielder Yusniel Diaz, pitchers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop and infielder Breyvick Valera for Machado. All but Valera are at Bowie.
Diaz, a 21-year-old Cuban who homered twice in the Futures Game and is considered the centerpiece in the Machado deal, is just 2-for-20 (.100) in six games for the Baysox.
“Right now, I would say there’s no pressure,” Diaz said through a translator.
“At the beginning, I felt a little bit of pressure, but right now I feel confident and looking forward to the challenge.”
In addition to Diaz, the players coming to the Orioles in the Machado trade have an international flavor.
Kremer pitched two-thirds of an inning for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
“It was like no other,” Kremer said of the experience. “It was a huge stage. The atmosphere was electric. It was an unbelievable experience.”
Pop, who’s a Canadian, grew up in Brampton, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, and, not surprisingly, is a huge hockey fan. However, he’s not a Maple Leafs fan, but a Washington Capitals fanatic.
He fell in love with Alex Ovechkin’s play when he watched him play as a junior.
“He played the game with heart, a lot of grit, went out there and made the right plays,” Pop said. “It’s fun watching his development as a player being a Caps fan since he’s been drafted. It’s very fulfilling to see him get that Cup.”
Also on hand was Dillon Tate, who is the big name in the Britton trade with the Yankees. Tate, a starting pitcher, was obtained along with two pitchers who have been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk, Cody Carroll and Josh Rogers.
Tate, who has yet to pitch for Bowie, was 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 15 starts for Double-A Trenton.
“I don’t think I’ve gotten incredibly better at a ton of things with my pitches, but more just me competing a little harder than I did the year before,” Tate said. “I feel like that’s made a big difference.”