When the Boston Red Sox would visit Camden Yards in the past, a large chunk of Red Sox fans would dominate the stands and turn the ballpark into “Fenway South,” as center fielder Adam Jones called it.
But in Friday night’s 6-0 win over the Red Sox, the majority of the 39,063 in attendance were clad in black or orange instead of red and navy blue, and the Orioles took notice.
It was the team’s first appearance at home in 11 games after the All-Star break and a road trip to Texas and Kansas City. With the win, they improved to 30-20 in home games this year, compared to 28-26 on the road.
“Proud of them,” manager Buck Showalter said of the fans. “They're a big part of what we're trying to do here.”
After losing three straight games at Kansas City, the Orioles returned to their familiar confines — Showalter said the team got back to Baltimore at 5 or 6 a.m. — and put on a complete performance for the home crowd. Jones hit two of the Orioles’ four home runs, while right-hander Chris Tillman improved to 13-3 after allowing only two hits over seven innings of work.
Jones said he talked to Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz before the game about how the dynamic in matchups between the two teams has changed. The Orioles have won 15 of the past 20 and 25 of the past 35 matchups against Boston, and they haven’t lost consecutive games to the Red Sox in that span.
“He remembers, and who doesn't, when this place was all Boston,” Jones said. “Now our fans are back here supporting us.”
The Orioles also changed up their routine slightly upon returning home. Instead of taking batting practice on the field, the team hit inside, the suggestion of hitting coach Jim Presley.
And after scoring six runs combined in their previous three games, the Orioles posted that number in the win.
“I think walking out on the field about 20 or 30 minutes before the game gave everybody a little extra juice,” Showalter said. “And that's what you've got to have at home.”firstname.lastname@example.org