If the Orioles' game Sunday was their last at Camden Yards this season, a team that has confounded even while impressing all year long went out in familiar style.
The Orioles capped a three-game sweep of the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks with a 2-1 win before an announced 31,229 at Camden Yards, using a bounce-back start by right-hander Dylan Bundy and four shutout innings of relief to ensure left fielder Hyun Soo Kim's two-run home run was all the offense they needed.
Three straight wins don't make the midweek sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox any more palatable, but they do keep the Orioles in a good playoff spot as the final week of the regular season begins.
"I think it was good that we were able to turn the page," closer Zach Britton said. "The starting pitching did a great job the last three days, and that kind of set the tone for everything. And then the offense, we gave them a chance to get going, and they scored some runs and the bullpen came in and did a great job."
Bundy struck out five batters while allowing a run on three hits in five innings, erasing the sour memory of his most recent start against Boston. He lowered his ERA to 4.02 this season, and 4.52 since joining the starting rotation at the All-Star break.
"It's a team win," Bundy said. "That's all we're asking for right now. I was hoping to go deep, but my pitch count got up there in the fourth and fifth innings, so I was happy to go five and leave the game with the guys being ahead."
Kim's home run was one of just five hits the Orioles had. Otherwise, Diamondbacks rookie Braden Shipley (4-5) mostly confounded them, with just three base runners entering scoring position all day.
With the win, the Orioles improved to 85-71, including 50-31 at Camden Yards. They can no longer win the American League East but are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers, who lost Sunday, for the second wild-card berth with a week to play.
"It's a great feeling, the week before the season is over, that we are still in it," Kim said through interpreter Danny Lee. "But it's important that we are in it after a week. I will make [sure] I am part of it and the team goes to the right place."
Kim flirts with .300: Entering the game batting a season-low .301, Kim was flirting with the possibility of going below .300 for the first time in his major league career.
So what did he do? Kim homered with designated hitter Pedro Alvarez on first base after his inning-opening single. Kim's fifth home run of the year brought his average up to .303. In his second at-bat, Kim grounded out before being pinch-hit for in the seventh inning.
Well-rested bullpen strikes again: After left-hander Wade Miley recorded all but one of the 27 outs required Saturday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter had all of his bullpen weapons at his disposal Sunday, and used them with great success.
Right-hander Mychal Givens continued a knockout September, striking out four and allowing only one base runner, via a hit-by-pitch, in two scoreless innings of relief. In 11 innings this month, he has allowed just one earned run.
Brad Brach made it a little hairier, walking left fielder Chris Owings with one out in the eighth inning and watching him steal second base, but Brach struck out first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and catcher Welington Castillo to end the inning.
Britton recorded his 46th save in 46 chances with a clean ninth inning, striking out two while allowing one hit.
"We had to pass the baton," Showalter said. "One of the keys of the game for me was that Mychal only had 12 or 13 pitches in one inning, and we were able to let him start the next inning. I was hoping to get Darren [O'Day] and Tommy [Hunter] some extra time going into Toronto. Zach Britton, I'm going to tell you, facing all right-handed hitters, I can't tell you … I'm biased about the type of recognition he should get when this season is over. It's historical. Take a good look at it, because it won't pass your way again."
Poor Joseph: Depending on how the schedule plays out, catcher Caleb Joseph might have gotten his last start of the season Sunday. It went about the same as the rest have this year: In his first at-bat, he pulled a long fly ball just foul, into the left-field seats, then had extra bases taken away from him after a diving catch by Owings.
He ended up on third base in his next at-bat when right fielder Yasmany Tomas dropped a fly ball that Joseph was running hard on, but the Orioles left him at third. He finished the day 0-for-3.