BALTIMORE—The Orioles are headed out of town for a three-city, three time-zone trip, and won’t return home until Sept. 11. In their August home finale, they produced something they hadn’t done all season—a three-game sweep.
In their first 13 games against the Toronto Blue Jays this season, the Orioles lost 12, including all 10 at Rogers Centre.
On Wednesday, the Orioles won their third straight, 10-5 over the Blue Jays, and not only was it their only three-game sweep, it was just their third winning streak of three or more in this most challenging of all seasons.
On Friday, the Orioles begin a three-game series with Kansas City, which has the second-worst record in baseball. The team with the worst record is awarded the top pick in next year’s June draft.
The Orioles’ win was their 40th against 94 losses, and they were helped by four Toronto errors.
In the series, the Orioles scored 29 runs and struck out just 10 times. In the last few weeks, the team’s defense has improved—especially in the infield, and they’ve become much more aggressive on the bases.
“We’ve got nothing to lose,” said right fielder Adam Jones, whose fifth-inning grand slam overcame a 4-1 deficit and sparked the victory. “And when you’ve got nothing to lose, you might as well let your hair down and do everything that you want to do.”
With Jonathan Villar at second, Renato Nunez at third and John Andreoli in center, the Orioles played with some new players at key positions.
“I think the best thing we can give the guys who are getting a shot here and throughout the next month is just to be here in this environment, get the opportunity and see what they can do,” Jones said.
“At the end of the day you can say, this guy’s a prospect, that guy’s a prospect, the big leagues will tell you if you’re going to be good or not. This next four weeks will be a good test for a lot of guys going forward to see what they can do in the major leagues. It’s exciting because people go out there and get an opportunity. It’s good for me as an older guy to see people really grab on to the opportunity.”
Cobb hit hard
Starting pitcher Alex Cobb had a string of five consecutive quality starts broken when he allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings. The five runs Cobb allowed were the most he’s given up since July 8, and the three home runs hit by Toronto equaled Cobb’s career-high set on May 5, 2013.
He’s happy to see how well the team’s been playing.
“We’re playing great. We’re putting up a ton of runs each game,” Cobb said. “We’re playing great defense. There’s just an energy, there’s a confidence about some guys getting an opportunity to play. And you have to take advantage of it when you’re a younger guy, know that you’re on an audition and there’s always somebody else out there that wants your job so there’s no lack of energy in the clubhouse, for sure.”
Jones’ first Baltimore grand slam
If you have a hard time remembering a Jones grand-slam, you’re not alone. Jones’ fifth-inning homer, which gave the Orioles a 5-4 lead, was just the second grand slam of his career, and the first hit in Baltimore.
“That was huge. Complete momentum swing,” Cobb said. “He gets out of that jam and it’s hard to get that opportunity back, where you have bases loaded and a chance to at least score a couple. Obviously, the grand slam put us on top and completely switched the momentum of the game.
“It’s just fun to see him have fun. He’s meant so much to this organization, for him to go out there and have big moments like that in a season that’s kind of lost for us, it’s fun to see and fun to be a part of. I don’t know what the future holds for him here but being his teammate has been a lot of fun.”
Jones’ other grand slam was hit July 28, 2008 at old Yankee Stadium against David Robertson. It was the first home run Robertson allowed in his career.
Jones had five RBIs, tying a career-high, one night after he had four hits, tying another career-high.
Trumbo to have surgery
After visiting a specialist in Northern California Wednesday, Mark Trumbo has decided to have surgery on his right knee. He’ll decide where and when the procedure will occur in the next few days.
Trumbo’s decision was expected.
“Nothing major,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Nothing that can’t be fixed. He just want to make sure he takes in all the opinions. If you know Mark, he knows he needs to get something done there and he’s really concerned about the time frame and being ready for spring training next year.”
In an interview on Friday, Trumbo said he was leaning toward surgery and nothing that he learned in his latest consultation changed what he’s thinking.
“Mark’s doing it the right way,” Showalter said. “This is more of a quality-of life-thing down the road. I have a lot of confidence that he’s going to be a good player for us healthy next year.”