Orioles hope road trip builds momentum for final homestand

BOSTON -- The Orioles are returning home for their final homestand of the regular season coming off a tough 2-1 loss Sunday at Fenway Park, but the O's still saw their three-city, nine-game road trip to Oakland, Seattle and Boston a success after compiling a 6-3 mark.

"Yeah, it was a tough long one, especially going to the West Coast at the end of the year," said first baseman Mark Reynolds, who drove in a team-high eight runs on the road trip. "The A's play good at home. We got to Seattle and swept them, which was huge for us, but coming to Boston taking two of three, I don't care what kind of team we're playing or how we're playing. It's always big.

"And if we keep winning series, we'll see where we're at here in about a week or two."

With 10 games to play, the Orioles (87-65) essentially own a 3½ lead over the Angels for one of the two AL Wild Card spots. The A's, currently in the second wild card spot, are one game back of the O's.

The Orioles still have their eyes on winning the AL East and enter Monday just one game back of the division-leading Yankees. Of the Yankees' 10 remaining games, all 10 of them are against teams with losing records – the Twins, Blue Jays and Red Sox.

The O's also play the Blue Jays and Red Sox, but finish the season with three games in Tampa Bay, which is now just 3 1/3 game out of the second wild card spot after winning five straight.

The Orioles will have a chance to gain an extra half game Monday if they can sweep a double header – which created a stretch of seven games in six days.

"It's been a long trip for everybody," center fielder Adam Jones said. "The schedule is what they make. I think it would suck a lot more if we weren't in the position we're in. I think the way we're playing, I think a lot of guys are thinking, 'Hey, it is what it is.' But we've got a chance to do something special, so lets get back on a roll.

"It's going to be a long day," he added. "Get back on it [Monday] for at least 18 innings. We like to play extras, so I'm saying at least 18."