Orioles manager Buck Showalter might not be a fan of doubleheaders, but he couldn't complain about the result of Saturday's split twin bill against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camden Yards.
The Orioles won both games of the doubleheader, getting a career-high four RBIs from Manny Machado in a 6-1 nightcap win that followed their 7-5 victory in the early game.
In between, the team honored former manager Earl Weaver, the legendary Orioles skipper who preached the importance of pitching, defense and the three-run homer. From the field, Orioles legends — Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken, Jr. among them — shared stories and memories about Weaver, who died in January at age 82.“Quite frankly, the Oriole Way is the Weaver Way,” Showalter told the crowd during the ceremony.
In the sixth inning of Game 2, Machado lined a three-run homer in the left-field seats that certainly would have made Weaver proud.
“Had to hit a three-run homer tonight, of course, on Earl's night, right?” Showalter said. “We needed it. … The place was really alive.”
Machado said the atmosphere was much like last year's statue dedication ceremonies and the playoff games at Camden Yards. A sellout crowd of 45,248 filled Camden Yards for the nightcap, including a walk-up of approximately 10,000.
“Same emotions coming out here,” Machado said. “The crowd was electric. The crowd was into it the whole game. It definitely pumps us up, having the crowd behind us and cheering us on definitely helps us.”
The Orioles won both games of a twin bill for the first time since Oct. 1, 2010. It also clinched a win in their first interleague series of the season — and first series win against the Dodgers since sweeping them in the 1966 World Series.
The Orioles (10-7), who have hovered around the .500 mark for most of this young season, went three games above .500 for the first time this season.
Despite issuing four walks and hitting a batter, Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen held the Dodgers to one run on three hits over six innings, snapping a 10-start winless streak that dated back to his last win on August 19, 2012.
The Orioles scored more runs for Chen on Saturday night (six) than they scored in his three previous starts combined (four), and the left-hander returned the favor with his third quality start of the season.
Slugging first baseman Chris Davis hit his seventh homer of the season in the second to tie the game at 1-1, launching a pitch from Dodgers starter Josh Beckett to the deepest part of Camden Yards, well beyond the 410-foot sign in center field. The homer was estimated at 448 feet, the 11th-longest in Orioles Park history and the third-longest by an Orioles player.
Machado then gave the Orioles the lead in the fifth, lacing a one-out, run-scoring double down the left-field line to score Nate McLouth from third.
Center fielder Adam Jones then doubled to left-center field, scoring Machado on a ball that was just out of the reach of Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came out to visit Beckett in the sixth after he yielded a pair of two-out singles to Ryan Flaherty and McLouth, but kept him in the game to face Machado.
With the crowd chanting, “Man-ny, Man-ny,” Machado turned quickly on a 2-2 pitch from Beckett right over the heart of the plate, hitting a line drive into the first few rows of the left-field stands to give the Orioles a 6-1 lead. Machado ended the game 3-for-4 on the night.
“He left me a hanging cutter and tried to throw it inside,” said Machado, who was brushed off the plater earlier in the at bat. “He made a bad pitch, it was one of the few mistakes he made all game and I just took advantage of it.”
Chen fell behind early, going down 1-0 in the top of the first. He hit the first batter he faced, Crawford, who scored three batters later on Adrian Gonzalez's sacrifice fly.
But after that, Chen didn't allow another base runner to reach second base. He was aided by two double-play balls. After allowing a leadoff single in the fourth, Chen allowed just one more hit and faced just one more batter than the minimum.
“I don't think that it was really good tonight,” Chen said through interpreter Tim Lin. “I was lucky tonight. My stuff was terrible today. Not really good. … You can tell my velocity on my fastball was not there yet. I had too many walks tonight.”
Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter closed out the game with three shutout innings, which helped an Orioles bullpen that needed to use four relievers in the team's 7-5 Game 1 victory and kept the Orioles from needing to make a roster move following the game to replenish the bullpen.
Most importantly, the Orioles got two wins in one day with the chance to sweep the Dodgers out of Baltimore on Sunday.
“It's huge,” Machado said. “We've been here since 9, 10 o'clock in the morning. We know we've got to come back here [Sunday] at 10. We know we just have to keep the same momentum going. It definitely helps that we came out with two games today. It's tough. We've been out there a long time and to come out with two good wins, two close, good games, it's just great.”
Orioles left-fielder Nolan Reimold led the way in Game 1, driving in three runs, including a game-winning two-run double in the eighth inning that proved to be the difference.
The Orioles dealt South Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu his roughest big-league start. Ryu entered the day having allowed just six runs in his first three major league starts.
"He's throwing his changeup anytime in the count — 3-0, 2-0,” Showalter said of Ryu. “There's no fastball count with him. You can see why they're so excited about him. He's got a great feel for pitching."
But Ryu allowed five runs on eight hits on Saturday, including a pair of homers – J.J. Hardy's two-run shot in the second inning and Reimold's solo homer in the fourth — after yielding just one homer in his first three starts.
“To beat two good starters, Ryu and Beckett, and a hell of a lineup, it wasn't easy,” Jones said. “But this team always fights. We fight to that 27th out.”
Earlier in the day, Showalter talked about how badly he wanted to avoid a doubleheader because of the way it can tax a bullpen and disrupt a starting rotation schedule. But after getting two wins in one day, he couldn't argue with the result.
"It's been a while since we have,” Showalter said. “You look at the math of it, it's hard. And it's hard because there's an atmosphere of, once you get that first one, you either kind of relax and it's good for you or you relax and it goes the other way. Our guys came out trying to compete.”