CINCINNATI — The Orioles didn't necessarily bring their bats to Cincinnati, scoring a total of seven runs in their three games against the Reds at the Great America Ball Park, but they continued their early-season trend of emerging from close games victorious.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy provided the extra-inning heroics in Thursday night's interleague series finale, hitting a two-out RBI single off reliever Blake Wood, scoring Mark Trumbo from second base for the winning run in the 2-1 victory.
After taking two of three in Cincinnati, the Orioles (10-4) have won six of their past eight games and finished their first road trip of the season — a three-city, nine-game trip through Boston, Toronto and Cincinnati (9-7) — with a 6-3 record. They are 4-0-1 in five series this season.
Eight of the Orioles' 10 wins this season have been decided by two runs or fewer.
"Pitching, timely hitting, hit some homers, it's kind of the way we expect to play," Hardy said. "I don't think we're too surprised about the way things are turning out. We've got a lot of confidence in here."
The Orioles managed just five hits in Thursday's series finale but scored the winning run in the 10th. Trumbo drew a one-out, six-pitch walk, then moved to second on Jonathan Schoop's groundout. Hardy then battled back from an 0-2 count, fouling off two pitches before looping a single into shallow center field as rain began to fall for the third time on the night.
"He just stuck his nose out there," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That's a professional, veteran player who's just not going to give in. We were talking before the game, regardless of what J.J.'s hitting, he's always engaged at shortstop. Young players, including ours, could really learn from him. I don't care if he's 0-for-4, you don't mind seeing him up there because he's going to stick his nose in there and try to stick one out over the infield."
Said Hardy: [Trying to] not strike out. I'm just trying to see the ball, put something in play and make something happen. Those guys are tough. They've got some really good arms and fortunately that ball fell."
The only two runs in the first nine came on homers. Schoop went deep against former Oriole Scott Feldman in the second, and Reds first baseman Joey Votto hit a shot off Orioles left-hander Wade Miley in the fourth.
Miley gave the Orioles their deepest start of the season, allowing just one run over eight innings and tying his career high with 11 strikeouts.
Right-hander Brad Brach — filling in for injured closer Zach Britton — recorded the save for the second straight night, retiring the Reds in order in the 10th. Brach needed just 10 pitches to close out the game for his fifth career save.
Schoop provides power: Schoop's solo homer in the second inning was the Orioles' only run against Feldman, who held his former team to four hits over seven innings.
Schoop took a first-pitch curveball from Feldman over the left-field fence.