Bud Norris leads way in nightcap, 5-0, as Orioles sweep doubleheader against Yankees

The Orioles' final homestand of the regular season was supposed to be one of celebration. All signs pointed to the club's clinching its first American League East title since 1997 at Camden Yards, and Friday's split doubleheader against the New York Yankees gave the Orioles a chance to take two more sizable steps toward the postseason.

Instead, their clubhouse was rocked Friday morning by the news that infielder Chris Davis, one of the team's most popular and recognizable players, had been handed a 25-game suspension for a second failed drug test for an amphetamine. Davis, who would serve part of the ban in the postseason should the Orioles get there, later disclosed in a statement that the stimulant was Adderall.


This Orioles already have overcome season-ending injuries to catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado with a next-man-up mentality, but even as they opened Friday's twin bill with a 2-1 victory and closed it with a 5-0 win, they conceded Friday that the development was unique.

"It's similar but different," reliever Darren O'Day said between games. "You can't really predict injuries. You failed one test. You can't put anything in jeopardy and mess around. Yeah, it's going to be more to overcome, for sure."

In their first two games without Davis, the Orioles showed their resilience yet again in their first doubleheader sweep of the Yankees since Sept. 24, 1984.

Down to their final out in their first game, the Orioles rallied for a win on Jimmy Paredes' pinch-hit, bases-loaded, two-run double in the bottom of the 11th inning for their ninth walk-off win of the season.

And in the nightcap, the Orioles won with less drama, relying on a dominating pitching performance by right-hander Bud Norris, who recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts — tied for the most by an Orioles starter this season — in their shutout victory. The Orioles now have won six straight, a new season high, and have a five-game winning streak against the Yankees.

In one day, the Orioles (88-59) dropped their magic number from eight to five — the second-place Toronto Blue Jays lost to Tampa Bay, 1-0 — meaning they could clinch the division as early as Monday. With 15 games to play in the regular season, the Orioles lead the Blue Jays by 11 1/2 games and the Yankees by 12 1/2.

Still, manager Buck Showalter acknowledged that the Orioles needed a lift Friday.

"To try to underplay that wouldn't be completely frank about it," Showalter said of Davis' suspension. "But I think everybody's still kind of putting their arms around it. Like I said before, we've had a lot of challenges, some of them self-inflicted, and you've got to fight your way through it, and we did that today with the pitching."

In 18 games without Davis this season — he missed two weeks with an oblique injury in late April and early May — the Orioles are 16-4. In seven games in which key players have served suspensions —Machado served a five-game suspension for tossing a bat earlier this season — they are 6-1.

The Orioles held the Yankees to one run over 20 innings Friday, including seven shutout innings from Norris. Combined with right-hander Kevin Gausman, who threw seven shutout innings in the day's opening game, Orioles starters held the Yankees scoreless for 14 innings Friday.

"The game usually gives you back kind of what you put into it," Showalter said. "Everybody's putting something into it. We pitched well for 20 innings. Real well. Bud was good, and bullpen finished it up. A lot of quality pitching, really, on both sides. There weren't a whole lot of runs scored. Good pitching solves a lot of problems, issues, whatever you might want to call it. That's usually where it starts."

After both clubs went scoreless through 10 innings of their opener, the Yankees (75-71) took the lead on left fielder Chris Young's solo homer off reliever Brad Brach (7-1), who offered a 2-2 pitch that Young blasted deep into the left-field stands.

The Orioles didn't have a runner reach second base until the eighth inning. They loaded the bases in three of their final four innings but couldn't score until their final at-bat.

Designated hitter Nelson Cruz opened the 11th with a leadoff walk. Pinch runner David Lough moved to second on Ryan Flaherty's sacrifice bunt. Shortstop J.J. Hardy then was hit by a pitch to place runners at first and second.


Pinch hitter Steve Clevenger drew a five-pitch, two-out walk, and Paredes lined the first pitch he saw from right-hander Adam Warren (3-6) down the right-field line for the game-winner.

Gausman recorded his first career scoreless outing of seven or more innings, tying his career high with seven strikeouts in seven innings while allowing seven hits and two walks.

Gausman, who was under strict pitch and inning limits for the season's first two months, also made his third consecutive start of seven or more innings for the first time in his career. Although Gausman is winless over his past five starts, he has a 2.53 ERA in his past three outings, striking out 21 batters in 21 1/3 innings over that span.

McCarthy, meanwhile, allowed just four hits, including three singles, before Johnson's double. He finished with six strikeouts and no walks.

In the nightcap, coming off an outing in which he allowed a career-high four homers, Norris (13-8) held the Yankees to just three hits. He allowed just one after the third inning and had one base runner reach second base all night.

"Gausman threw a great game this morning, and that was a big win for us," Norris said. "I just wanted to come in and do my part and pitch. They said to go seven innings and keep zeros on the board. Guys swung the bat and gave me a little cushion, and I got a nice win for us."

Norris has won his past seven decisions against division opponents, and the Orioles are 11-1 in his 12 starts against the AL East this season. He is 7-1 and has a 2.92 ERA in those starts.

With a lineup consisting of just four regulars, the Orioles batting order for Friday's second game was by no means intimidating, but it got contributions from throughout the order against Yankees right-hander Bryan Mitchell (0-1), who was making his first major league start.

Shortstop Ryan Flaherty plated the first run in the fourth, slapping a double into the left-center-field gap and driving in David Lough, who drew a leadoff walk.

With two outs in the same inning, De Aza drove in Flaherty with a RBI triple that rolled to the wall in right-center field. De Aza added another RBI triple in the eighth off right-hander Chaz Roe with a hit off the right-field wall.

De Aza, acquired in a trade from the White Sox last month, recorded the 16th two-triple game in Orioles history and the first since Jay Payton on Sept. 28, 2007.

"I feel young again. I feel 20 again," De Aza, 30, said. When "I came here, it's like I was here forever, since day one. They all treated me well. It's a great clubhouse."


Despite the loss of Davis, the Orioles ended the day fatigued yet victorious. After a long day of baseball that began with unexpected bad news, the Orioles yet again remained focused on the field.

"In the whole scheme of life in the world and the country, it's all" relative, said Showalter, who learned of Davis' impending suspension Thursday night. "I guarantee there's a lot of people having a tougher 24 hours than I just had. … I've had a headache since 8 o'clock last night, I can tell you that."