Orioles wrap up June with strong outings, milestone watches

BALTIMORE - A Chris Davis homer, a Manny Machado double and a Jim Johnson save.
The Baltimore Orioles' sweep-clinching win Sunday night over the New York Yankees in the national spotlight had all three. But so have a lot of games for the Orioles this season.
The Baltimore trio is on pace through three months of the season to set franchise records. Davis and Machado may even have their sights on league records.
Davis has been the surprise of the majors to this point. He became the first player in baseball history to have 31 homers and 25 doubles by the end of June.
His 31 homers by the end of June are four more than any Oriole has ever had at that point. He is on pace to set both the franchise marks for home runs and extra-base hits, and he is a top candidate for American League MVP.
And that is enough to get himself and Baltimore some national notoriety. Davis didn't shy away from the national stage either, homering three times in two days (twice Saturday on Fox, once Sunday on ESPN).
"More and more people are getting to see us play and kind of understand what we've got going on here," Davis said. "People got to see us a little at the end of [last] season on the national stage. But the more they see us and the more we win, the better for us."
That national audience is also being treated to the progression of the 20-year-old Machado. The Orioles third baseman's double Sunday night was his 38th of the season.
Only Edgar Martinez (39 in 1996) has had more doubles before the end of June since 1921. Machado is on pace for 74 doubles, which would break the MLB record of 67 held by Earl Webb in 1931.
Johnson has had his share of scares as the closer this year, but most of the time he's been able to finish the job. The Baltimore closer's save Sunday was the 100th of his career.
He also leads the majors with 28 saves, and has 79 saves since the beginning of 2012, 14 more than the second-best (Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel, 65).
"I usually don't get caught up in stuff like that but that was pretty cool," Johnson said. "I'm more worried about how many wins we get and where we end up at the end of the year."
Right now, it's starting to look like the team might end up in the playoffs. Coming off a sweep of the Yankees, the Orioles (47-36) are 2.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East, and would be the second wild-card team if the season ended Monday.
The one element of the team that has had fans and critics concerned is starting pitching. But with the trade deadline looming and Wei-Yin Chen nearing a return, the Baltimore staff might be able to carry its weight.
One starter who has been doing so is Chris Tillman. The Orioles right-hander won his 10th game of the season Sunday, a career-high, and owns a 19-5 record over the past two seasons.
Tillman finished June with a 6-0 record and a 2.68 ERA.
"They're all good team wins," Tillman said. "Our offense is special. You get them back in the dugout, it's pretty evident what they're capable of doing."
The offense has hit a majors-best 115 homers this year, and hit a trio of solo shots to down New York Sunday. That outing finished off Baltimore's first home sweep of the Yankees in eight years.
While it's not the same New York lineup the Orioles have battled with in the past, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter and his players felt it was important, especially with the energy at Camden Yards over the weekend.
"I turned to [bench coach John Russell] right before the game started and said, 'Boy, this place is hoppin,'" Showalter said. "We've got to continue to do the things that keep our fans energized. And that's up to us, like I've been telling you since the day we started trying to get this done. We've got a long way to go."
NOTE: The Orioles made a minor-league trade Sunday, acquiring outfielder Eric Thames from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor-league infielder Ty Kelly. Thames, 26, was hitting .295 with seven homers and 33 RBIs in 57 games for Class-AAA Tacoma.

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