Perhaps the best thing about Monday's 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees – other than the Orioles ending a seven-game losing streak – was that it was like old times for the late-inning relief crew.
Darren O'Day entered the game with a one-run lead in the eighth inning and made short work of the top of the Yankees lineup. Brad Brach followed him to the mound and retired the Yankees in order in the ninth in the club's first save opportunity since May 20.
Six batters. Six outs. Three strikeouts.
"It was a good game all the way around,'' O'Day said. "Obviously, with the losing streak going there, it magnifies everything. Everybody's waiting for that win, so to win a tight one against that team, it means a lot."
The Orioles have had trouble holding early-inning leads, and the plot certainly thickened when major league home run leader Aaron Judge sliced a two-run lead in half with his 17th homer of the year in the seventh inning. The suspense continued to mount when he came back up in the ninth inning with a chance to tie the game, but Brach struck him out and did the same to Didi Gregorius to record his 10th save of the season.
"I had good life on the fastball today, so I was just kind of coming right at him,'' Brach said. "I thought about maybe throwing an off-speed pitch there, but I was able to locate the fastball really well right there.
"Obviously, you are [extra careful]. I knew he was coming up and I knew it was a one-run lead, but once I got the two strikes and got ahead on him, I was being ultra-aggressive. He's one of the better hitters and he's been hot, but I just knew my fastball was good today."
Schoop heating up
Jonathan Schoop carried the Orioles offense in Sunday's loss to the Houston Astros, with a two-run home run in the first inning and an RBI single.
He also delivered the big blow when the Orioles retook the lead on Monday, lining a two-out double into the right-field corner to score Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini.