OAKLAND, CALIF. — After rookie right-handers Tyler Wilson and Mychal Givens combined to allow just two runs in a win against the Oakland A's on Monday night, Orioles manager Buck Showalter made a point to reporters that he has stressed several times over the last year or so.
Both Wilson, an Orioles' 10th-round draft pick in 2011, and Givens, a second-rounder in 2009 as a prep shortstop, are homegrown talents. In fact, Showalter pointed out that six players in Monday's game — a group rounded out by third baseman Manny Machado, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, catcher Caleb Joseph and designated hitter Matt Wieters — were all originally signed as amateurs by the Orioles.
"That's how we have to do it. We're always gonna look in our own backyard before we start coveting somebody else's players," Showalter said. "I think it builds a real morale in the organization."
The relationship of Wilson and Givens goes even further back, to before they were Orioles.
Wilson, a Virginia native, and Givens, who grew up in the Tampa, Fla., area, played together as members of the 18-and-under Junior National Team.
"I've been growing up with him, since we were kids, playing on Team USA," Givens said. "And to see him up here, and we are both here together, is a dream come true. So it's a great accomplishment to have two guys, homegrown, to be up here [and combine for a win]."
They were teenage teammates at the Team USA facilities in Missouri and then played together in the Junior Pan Am Games in Mexico, with Wilson pitching and Givens playing shortstop. Eight years later, they combined for nine innings in the majors.
"It's great. It shows that the baseball world, ultimately, can be a small one at times," Wilson said. "It's great to see life kind of come full circle."
Told about the connection before Tuesday's game, Showalter, who prides himself in knowing his players' backstories, was surprised, though he did see them talking to each other during Monday's game.
"They had to have a moment there where they said to each other, going home from the ballpark, 'It's pretty cool you and I are both here,'" Showalter said. "That's good to know. I should have known that."
Their rise is also a testament to the Orioles' willingness to promote a player if he succeeds in the minors.
"You hear Buck say all the time, we try and out-opportunity people. When you get your chance, guys, they want to stay up here," said Joseph, who caught Wilson and Givens on Monday. "It was Givens and Tyler Wilson. A guy from Triple-A and a guy from Double-A. Those guys in the minor leagues, you never know when your chance could be."
Wilson sent down
In an expected move, Wilson was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday afternoon despite his strong performance Monday (two earned runs in 7 2/3 innings). Showalter, however, acknowledged that Wilson would have stayed if the team had an indication that Chris Tillman's ankle injury wasn't improving. They won't know whether Tillman will make Friday's start until after he throws from a mound Wednesday, but there's enough improvement to send out Wilson.
"If he had had a setback or it wasn't good at all, we probably would have held Tyler," Showalter said.
Wilson assumed the demotion was inevitable, but wanted to again show that he belongs in the majors when needed.
"Any opportunity to be up here with these guys and be a part of what they are trying to do here in August and ultimately in September and October, I'm thankful for," said Wilson, who is 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA in six games (two starts) with the Orioles. "It's not easy going down at any point because it's not where you want to be. But, at the same time, I totally understand my role and I'll be ready to fulfill it the next time the phone rings."
McFarland back again
To get back to a seven-man bullpen Tuesday, the Orioles added lefty reliever T.J. McFarland, who last pitched for the big league club June 28. He'll resume his "whenever needed" role, whether it's as a long reliever to preserve the bullpen or in brief, one-inning stints against a lefty-heavy team.
"He's a good addition for us. We've been trying to find a way to make it fit all year. It's been a challenge," Showalter said. "He did a job for us the last couple of years — last year — that we needed done."
McFarland has posted a 2.91 ERA at Norfolk and has allowed just one run in his past four games spanning eight innings for the Tides.
"I feel great right now. I'm really happy about the call-up and the timing of it, too," said McFarland, 26, who is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 12 previous appearances for the Orioles this season. "I feel like I'm on top of my game. That month down there, it was a little rough being down [in Triple-A] instead of here. But I think I benefited from it greatly."
McFarland had been asleep for just a few hours Sunday night in Norfolk after an eight-hour bus ride from Allentown, Pa., when he learned that he'd be flying across the country Monday.
"It was all worth it to be here, for sure," he said.
Around the horn
Outfielder Gerardo Parra received his first start in right field for the Orioles on Tuesday after starting three straight in left field since being acquired Friday. Parra started 14 games in right for the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this season. … Heading into Tuesday, Orioles slugger Chris Davis had six homers and 19 RBIs in his previous 10 games. The last Oriole to put up those elevated numbers in a 10-game span was Davis at the beginning of the 2013 season, according to Elias Sports Bureau. In the past 30 seasons, only two Orioles have had a similar 10-game run: Albert Belle in 2000 and Cal Ripken Jr. in 1996 … A decision on right-hander Jason Garcia, whose minor league rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Bowie is about to expire, will be made within the next few days. The Orioles would need to bring the Rule 5 pick back to the big leagues or risk losing him on waivers to another club or offer him back to his original team, the Boston Red Sox. Garcia, 22, went on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis May 13. He is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in eight games for Bowie. … Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick was scratched from Tuesday's lineup with lower back stiffness.