ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Go ahead and try to typecast the Orioles. Say all they do is hit home runs. You will be wrong for a time, and then they'll prove you right.
The Orioles were lifeless and down to their final out Saturday at Angel Stadium when first baseman Chris Davis singled, right fielder Mark Trumbo walked and freshly minted 30-year-old Matt Wieters homered to left-center field to give the visitors an improbable 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
"I think I'll remember this one," Wieters said. "CD had a big hit, and Mark had a great at-bat against a sidearm guy to be able to work that walk. Really, it's just trying to keep the line moving. I was able to get a ball up and it was able to carry out."
Manager Buck Showalter noted that the line did not move often Saturday. When asked about the pass-the-baton mentality, he said the baton was not passed often.
Before his third home run in six games, Wieters was already the Orioles' offensive star by virtue of breaking up Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker's perfect game with a double in the fifth inning. Shoemaker otherwise baffled the Orioles, carrying a shutout into the eighth inning and striking out a career-high 12 batters.
When Wieters hit the home run, the Orioles (26-15) had mustered just four hits — the same number of home runs they hit a night earlier in a 14-hit barrage. Because of that lack of offense, it appeared that yet again starter Kevin Gausman wouldn't be rewarded for a strong effort.
"It was more that our pitching did real well and gave us a shot at the end," Showalter said.
In this one, Gausman's sixth start of the season, the Orioles failed to score while he was on the mound for a third time. He matched zeroes with Shoemaker for six innings, striking out six and scattering eight hits on the day. The only blemish on his night came in the seventh inning, when with two outs already recorded, Angels shortstop Gregorio Petit doubled and scored on a single by third baseman Yunel Escobar.
That took Gausman out of contention for his first win of the season, but he didn't mind much given how he pitched and how the game ended.
"That is fine with me," Gausman said. "I'll get at least one win this year, I'll guarantee you that. With this lineup, you try to keep the game as close as you can. Wanted to finish that seventh, but I had thrown a lot of pitches. It is all about the team win. These guys come up big when they need to and they like to make it dramatic."
"Gaus threw the ball great and at least we took him off the hook for a loss," Wieters said. "He threw the ball too well to get a loss. It's a tough win, but a good win."
Orioles closer Zach Britton worked around a leadoff walk to get the save in a ninth inning that saw plenty of controversy, as the Angels disputed a pair of called strikes that helped him get out of the inning.
Flash back: Do-it-all utility man Ryan Flaherty went from being the everyday third baseman to ceding time at the position to Paul Janish and Pedro Alvarez this past week, but showed what he can bring there in the first inning. With two men on and no one out, he almost single-handedly got the Orioles and Gausman out of the jam.
He threw out speedy center fielder Mike Trout, made a heads-up play to throw out Escobar at home on a chopper his way, then helped record the final out of the inning on another grounder to keep the game scoreless.
"We had some good defensive plays, too," Showalter said. "Ryan had a big out at the plate that shouldn't be forgotten."
Worley walks: Right-hander Vance Worley is normally the Orioles long reliever, but came in for the seventh inning to relieve Gausman in an unusual spot for him. With the game still 1-0 and a man on first base, he issued walks to the only batters he faced — outfielder Kole Calhoun and Trout — before Brach got out of the jam for him.
Worley hadn't pitched since Tuesday, and likely had to get into a game. But the situation — and his control — did him no favors.
Brach added a scoreless eighth to notch his fourth win of the season, lowering his ERA to 1.16 in the process.
"I think it's the consistency, that's what you're looking for — a guy you know is going to go out there and get outs for you, tough outs," Britton said of Brach. "He's been doing that. It's a common occurrence with him going out and getting big outs. He allows everyone to fall in line, and that's huge."
Birthday boys: Wieters homered and broke up Shoemaker's no-hitter in the fifth inning to give him a little something to remember on his 30th birthday. But he wasn't the only one celebrating Saturday. Three Orioles share a May 21 birthday: Wieters, outfielder Joey Rickard (25) and assistant hitting coach Mark Quinn (42).