In baseball, it's always a good feeling to come home after finishing a road trip with a win.
And the Orioles have a lot to be happy about returning to Baltimore following their 11-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
Given what the Orioles went through – a pair of day games after night games in Boston that forced the bullpen work overtime, then three games in the launching pad that is the Rogers Centre – coming out of the seven-game road trip with a 4-3 record was a major victory.
Both of their wins in Toronto came after the Jays took command of the game early. The Orioles rebounded from a 6-1 deficit on Wednesday and then rallied from 3-0 down on Thursday. Credit both starters – Chris Tillman and Bud Norris – for bouncing back from rough innings to get deeper into the game.
On Wednesday, the Orioles did it with four homers, then they chipped away at the Blue Jays on Thursday with a string of base hits. The Orioles hit just one homer – Jonathan Schoop’s solo shot in the fifth – but were 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
“It’s not necessarily about the home runs,” center fielder Adam Jones said. “Getting hits with runners in scoring position. … That’s the pass-the-baton mentality we are trying to implement here.”
Jones didn’t hesitate to point out after Thursday’s game that the questions two days earlier were much different.
“Well, a couple nights ago, you guys were asking, can this lineup hit?” Jones said. “Pick your question. We grind. It’s going to be fun. We got some guys that feed off the guys in front of us. We are going to be fine. There are some tough pitchers in baseball that are going to make it tough on us, but we are going to hit. That’s how our lineup is designed. The last couple nights, really this road trip, we’ve swung the bats really well.”
The Orioles completed a stretch of 15 straight games against division opponents with a 9-6 record, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said his team won’t have much time to enjoy that accomplishment.
The Orioles will host the Kansas City Royals for three games this weekend and have a quick two-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates before hitting the road again.
“You want to win all 15 but we got a real tough task ahead of us,” Showalter said Thursday night. “We’ll get in at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, and Kansas City is really impressive. I spent a little time on them [before Thursday’s game], their pitching is going to be a tough task for us.
“There’s no rest for the weary.”