When third baseman Manny Machado learned that his home run Saturday night made him the first 23-year-old Orioles player to have a 20-homer season since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1983, he broke into a wide smile.
Machado is the sixth-youngest Oriole to reach the milestone in a season, joining such franchise standouts as Ripken, , Boog Powell and rookies of the year Curt Blefary and Ron Hansen.
"Any time you bring up those names it is something that is an honor," Machado said. "There's much respect to them. And I'm just blessed to be healthy, honestly, and be able to go out there and perform every day and just be able to play the game I love."
Machado, who has had his past two seasons cut short due to knee injuries, had never hit more than 14 homers in a big-league season. He passed that mark in the first half and is still going.
"Believe me, I acknowledge it every day, wow," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I look up there [to the scoreboard] every once and a while, 'How many does he got now?' That's pretty good.' … This is about as long and consistent of a spell as he has had. So, you kind of stay out of the way."
Murray, the Hall of Famer, was the youngest Oriole to reach 20 homers when he hit 27 as a 21-year-old American League Rookie of the Year in 1977. Murray, Powell and Ripken all hit 20 homers in a season twice by or during their 23-year-old seasons.
Powell holds the franchise record for most homers by a player 23 or younger; the big lefty hit 39 in 1964, the year he turned 23. Machado said he's not shooting to knock Powell off that perch.
"No chance," he said. "I'm good with whatever comes extra now."
Schoop starts in third straight
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop was in the starting lineup Sunday, the first time since he came off the disabled list July 5 that he started three consecutive games.
"He feels good. I think the break, talking with him just a little bit, he wanted to keep going," said Showalter, who added there are no restrictions on Schoop's playing time now. "We kind have got the governors off of him."
Schoop, 23, partially tore a ligament in his right knee in April and missed more than two months while rehabilitating the injury. He hit a three-run homer Sunday and is 11-for-32 (.344) with three homers and seven RBIs since returning from the disabled list. He has four multihit games in his return after taking his time and making sure he was ready during a minor league rehab assignment.
"The rehab games helped me a lot because I got a lot of playing time to test myself out," Schoop said. "And I felt really good about it. I feel stronger than before."
On Saturday, Schoop made a leaping catch of a liner, and had no concerns afterward.
"I thought about that," Showalter said. "I was looking at [that play] and I think his knee is OK."
The Orioles need to make a 25-man roster move by Wednesday to promote that night's starter, Kevin Gausman, from Triple-A Norfolk. It's possible the move could come before then, Showalter said.
Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette spoke Sunday and the manager said there are several possible scenarios and the team has to decide which one fits best.
"We've got three or four options that [Duquette] is considering and we'll see what Wednesday brings," Showalter said. "But it could happen before then. I don't know. I know that Gaus is coming."
Someone will have to come off the 25-man roster, but the Orioles have few players who can be optioned to the minors without having to pass through waivers. So a reserve, almost certainly a position player, likely will be traded or designated for assignment — unless there is an injury.
Those whose roster spot could be affected include Chris Parmelee, Nolan Reimold, David Lough, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty.
Around the horn
Catcher Matt Wieters, who is coming back from elbow surgery, has yet to start three games in a row behind the plate, but Showalter said he is progressing toward that goal. On Friday, Showalter said Wieters threw a ball to second base that took 1.85 seconds, a mark "maybe four or five guys in the league get to." So Showalter said he believes Wieters' arm strength is back. … Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected in the third inning after twice slamming his bat as he left the batter's box on a fly out. Nick Castellanos took his place in the lineup and Austin Romine moved from third base to second. … Castellanos left in the fifth after taking a one-hop grounder off his left cheek. X-Rays were negative and Castellanos was listed as day-to-day with a cheekbone contusion. … Adam Jones' first-inning home run gave him 181 in his Orioles career. He's now one behind Ken Singleton for seventh all-time in franchise history. … The Orioles' seven hits in the fourth inning tied the season high for hits in an inning. It's the fourth time it has happened; the last was at Boston on June 25.