BALTIMORE - Series wins are going to be critical if the Baltimore Orioles want to still be playing in October.
They got one Sunday thanks to a 7-2 victory over Colorado in front of 22,238 at Camden Yards, and perhaps some momentum before two rather important series this week.
The Orioles got a solid six innings from starter Scott Feldman and big-time production from Adam Jones and Chris Davis to take two of three from the Rockies and set up a three-game series with AL East rival Tampa Bay. The Rays are the second wild-card team with Oakland, which visits Baltimore (67-56) this weekend, in the top spot.
Jones and Davis combined to go 7 for 10 with two home runs, five runs, and four RBIs Sunday.
Davis had four hits and clubbed his major league-best 45th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the eighth inning that gave Feldman & Co. some more run support. The slugger said beating Colorado (58-67) was still big despite more pivotal games upcoming.
"As big as the series after that and the series after that," Davis said. "This time of year, you definitely want to win as many series as you can especially when you're at home, but every game's important down the stretch, and everyone in this division always seems to play really well near the end of the season. So the more wins we get, the better off we'll be."
Jones went 3 for 5 with a double and a homer of his own, a two-run blast in the third inning off Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin (11-7) that went into the Orioles' bullpen.
The offense buoyed Feldman, who went 6 1-3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits. The right-hander hadn't been too good at Camden Yards before Sunday - Feldman (3-3) carried a 7.66 ERA into Sunday's matinee but lowered that number and helped his team win the series.
"I don't really look at my numbers until the end of the season," said Feldman, who struck out three and walked two. "You could get a couple games where you go in a slump and that can skew your numbers if you've only made a few starts. I'll look at it at the end of the year and hopefully they're good. But I don't lose my confidence if I have a bad game."
Feldman ran into trouble in the seventh inning when Todd Helton led off with a double. Two batters later, Charlie Blackmon brought him home with another double, and the Rockies cut the deficit to 3-1.
Blackmon then stole third base and scored on Yorvit Torrealba's RBI groundout. Manager Buck Showalter went to the mound after a D.J. LeMahieu single up the middle and pulled Feldman for Tommy Hunter, who got Dexter Fowler on a flyout to end the inning.
Baltimore then made sure its starter didn't have to sweat out a victory.
Brian Roberts singled up the middle in the seventh and scored Davis and Jones to make it 5-2, and Davis tacked on two more in the eighth with his home run.
"I thought Chris' home run was big for us," Showalter said. "You look up there and see that he's hitting .300, and Jones has very quietly snuck back over .300 after a frustrating two or three games for him toward the end of the trip. I'm real proud of both of them, and they've been solid as a rock for us."
The Orioles cashed in on some early scoring opportunities against Chacin, who came into Sunday's game sporting a 1.87 ERA in road games. Alexi Casilla put the Orioles on the board in the second inning with a two-out RBI single, and Jones followed in the third with his 25th home run of the year.
Baltimore's bullpen held Colorado after the seventh, with Hunter, Darren O'Day, and Josh Stinson combining for 2 1-3 scoreless innings.
The Orioles came home Friday after suffering three straight losses in Arizona, and all three were walk-off defeats. Nailing down a series victory against Colorado was needed, but Baltimore is about to begin a more crucial stretch with September approaching and a pennant race in full swing.
"You've got to win every game," Jones said. "Obviously, that's impossible to do, but you've got to go out every single day and say, 'I've got to win today. I've got to win today.' There's no thinking we've got to go out there and win two out of three against the Rays. No, we've got to go out there [Monday] and then take care of Tuesday and take care of Wednesday."