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Gonzalez great, Davis grand for O's vs. Twins

Righty allows one run in seven innings; slumping slugger delivers blast

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BALTIMORE -- When the Rays intentionally walked Chris Davis on Thursday night, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he understood the move and that -- despite Davis' sub-.200 batting average -- he was always a threat to go deep.

Davis didn't take long to issue a reminder. The slugger hit his second grand slam and 24th homer of the year on Friday night, highlighting an offensive onslaught -- including a two-run homer from Delmon Young -- that kept the first-place Orioles rolling with a 9-1 win over the Twins.

"Chris has stayed selective," Showalter said after Davis' blast saw his team maintain a seven-game lead in the American League East. "You can see the walk total, you see the defense and the effort he's playing with. Obviously, that was the big blow of the night … But Chris has kept working through thick and thin.

"He's got a chance to end up with 25-30 home runs and 80 RBIs. Who knows? We know what he can do in bunches. I'm real proud of the way he's continued to fight through it. A lot of people could have or would have given in, but he hasn't."

Baltimore, which tied a season-high in going 21 games over .500, got a stellar seven innings from Miguel Gonzalez and saw its impressive bullpen run its scoreless streak to 16 1/3 innings in the win.

"It's definitely better to pitch with that type of lead," said Gonzalez, who allowed only Trevor Plouffe's solo homer in the seventh. "I thought our offense did a good job later in the game. Early in the game, May was doing really good, changing speeds. I thought, in general, we did good. Our offense and defense was great, and that's what [we need]."

The O's -- who have scored four or more runs in four of their last five games -- scored eight of their runs off Twins prospect Trevor May, exploding for a five-run fourth inning highlighted by Davis' blast, which sailed into the right-center-field seats. The O's loaded the bases after Jimmy Paredes -- an in-game replacement due to Steve Pearce's abdominal strain -- collected his first Orioles hit, and May hit both Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz.

Following J.J. Hardy's bases-loaded walk, Davis drilled the 24-year-old's 3-1 fastball over the wall.

"I've felt pretty good the last two or three weeks," Davis said. "Made a few adjustments the last few days and it's translated into the game. It's something I've got to continue to grind out."

The Orioles added a trio of runs to extend to an eight-run lead in the following frame, including Young's two-run homer, which stood after replay review and chased May from the game.

After Jones singled in a run, Young drove a pitch off May that had just enough carry to sail into the left-field stands. Twins outfielder Jordan Schafer, who made a fantastic effort in crashing into the wall in hopes of corralling it, watched a fan reach over and grab the ball before it had a chance to clear the park. While the fan didn't interfere with Schafer, it was enough to draw a crew chief review.

"The question, if they had ruled fan interference, they could have given Jonesy home plate," Showalter said of the play. "I'm not quite sure how they saw it, but I liked the end-game on that."

Gonzalez, who needed just 72 pitches to get through five innings, cruised for most of the evening. The right-hander allowed four runs and one walk, striking out six in the 103-pitch outing.

"He pounded the strike zone," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Gonzalez, who was followed by lefty Brian Matusz's two scoreless innings. "He had a good fastball and a great breaking ball it seemed he could throw at any time. He has great stuff. He was up in the zone and our young hitters sometimes chase out of the zone, and he took advantage of that."

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Pearce day to day with right abdominal strain

First baseman to undergo MRI on Saturday

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BALTIMORE -- Steve Pearce left the Orioles' 9-1 win against the Twins on Friday before the start of the fourth inning with a right abdominal strain. He will have an MRI at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and is currently considered day to day.

Pearce first felt pain in his lower right abdomen on Friday and hoped it was just a cramp, something that would vanish in a day. A day later, he started at first base -- his usual spot now that third baseman Manny Machado is out for the season -- played the field for three innings and took one at-bat before leaving for Jimmy Paredes.

"I'm not feeling any pain or anything," Pearce said. "It's just discomfort."

Pearce said he only feels the injury when he swings a bat, so a pair of athletic plays he made in the field didn't affect the injury. During the second inning, Pearce snatched a foul ball out of the air before it landed in the seats along the first-base line and and banged up against the wall. In the third, Pearce ranged far to his right on a ground ball to end the inning.

When his spot was the next one in the order during the bottom of the frame, Paredes stepped into the on-deck circle instead. Nick Markakis struck out to end the third, and when the Orioles went out to play defense in the fourth, Pearce was out of the lineup.

"I'm not that concerned," Pearce said. "I'm not in pain even when I swing, I just feel something there. I just wanted to get ahead of it."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter considered holding Pearce out of the lineup altogether on Friday and let the surprising slugger go through batting practice before making the call to start him. It wasn't until Pearce, who has built up a reputation for his toughness, mentioned something to batting coach Jim Presley that Showalter realized he should play it safe and end Pearce's day early.

"Anytime you hear something like that from Steve, you can usually multiply it times two," Showalter said.

Right now, an abdominal strain is the ideal case for the Orioles. Pearce is optimistic that it can be something that keeps him out for a handful of days rather than land him on the disabled list.

And Showalter is careful to not call it anything potentially more serious -- like an oblique injury -- until Baltimore gets the MRI results on Saturday.

"That's what they reported, right?" Showalter said. "We're trying to stay away from that 'O' word, so we'll see."

Pearce, who is batting .289 with a career-high 16 home runs this season, grounded out to third in his only at-bat of the game to bring an end to his career-long 11-game hitting streak. Since Machado's season ended on Aug. 11, Pearce is 16-for-50 with five home runs.

Chris Davis, who has been starting at third with Machado out, slid back to his usual spot at first base when Pearce left. Paredes moved to third base and went 1-for-2 with a walk in his O's debut.

If Pearce misses any significant time, Davis would likely move back to first base and either Paredes or utility infielder Ryan Flaherty would get the bulk of the playing time at third.

"You never want to see a guy go down because of injury, but you understand it's part of it. It's part of the game," Davis said. "I think it was big getting Jimmy into the game tonight, having a couple at-bats. I've played against him a little bit. I like him as a player. Hopefully we don't have to use him too much, but it's nice to have him in your back pocket."

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Young's home run stands after crew chief review

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BALTIMORE -- The Orioles had a home run call stand in the fifth inning, helping increase their lead over the Twins on Friday night.

After Adam Jones singled in a run, Delmon Young drove a pitch off Twins rookie Trevor May that had just enough carry to sail into the left-field stands.

Twins left fielder Jordan Schafer, who made a fantastic effort in crashing into the wall in hopes of corralling it, watched a fan reach over and grab the ball before it had a chance to clear the park. While the fan didn't interfere with Schafer, it was enough to draw a crew chief review.

After a quick review, the call stood, with Young credited with his seventh homer of the season.

"That's a joke," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's embarrassing, because the system didn't work tonight. The guy reached over the fence and caught the ball."

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Tillman looks to stay hot as series continues vs. Twins

Gibson hopes to right ship against Orioles

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When Orioles manager Buck Showalter walked into Oriole Park at Camden Yards before Baltimore's series opener against the Twins on Friday, pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti were already breaking down the unfamiliar Minnesota hitters.

There were about six of them, the O's manager estimated, that his team had never faced before despite playing in the American League. Because of a scheduling oddity and the expansion of Interleague Play, the Orioles went nearly four months without seeing the Twins before they welcomed them to Baltimore on Monday.

The four-game series continues on Saturday when the O's send Chris Tillman to the mound against Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson.

"It's been a challenge," Showalter said before Friday's game. "What will be a challenge in the last game of the series is if they have eight or 10 guys show up. This time of year, advanced scouting is really a challenge when Sept. 1 rolls around."

Tillman has been fantastic recently for the O's, turning in 13 quality starts in his last 15 outings. His 1.86 ERA since the All-Star break is among the best in the Majors.

The Twins, meanwhile, are testing their youth, and that means that second-year starter Gibson will take the hill. In three of his last five outings, he's given up five earned runs. Still, a second consecutive series against a first-place team -- the Twins just finished a three-game set against the Royals -- is a good experience for a team that's hoping to build for the future.

"It's intense baseball in a pennant race," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They're leading their division just like Kansas City was, so it hinges on every pitch, which is fun. The three games in Kansas City could've gone either way, so it was fun baseball. Our guys are getting some big hits. So it's a good experience for them playing pennant-race teams, and hopefully they learn from it and get better."

Twins: Schafer sticks in lineup
Since Minnesota claimed outfielder Jordan Schafer off waivers on Aug. 3, he's been a revelation for a struggling club. He added another hit on Friday, and his continued excellence is making it tough for Gardenhire to take him out of the lineup.

Schafer, who was batting .163 with the Braves, has lifted his average to .238 and has hit five doubles, one triple, stolen 10 bases and driven in nine runs in 22 games since joining the Twins.

"He's been big at the bottom because you want the lineup to roll over," Gardenhire said. "We're just letting him play. We just want to see what he can do. I think he's comfortable here. He's getting a great opportunity because he's not playing for a day and sitting for two. He's playing every day and getting consistent at-bats."

Orioles: Pearce nursing injured abdominal
Steve Pearce left in the fourth inning of the Orioles' 9-1 win against the Twins on Friday with a right abdominal injury. An MRI scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Saturday should tell the O's more.

Pearce, who is batting .289 with a career-high 16 home runs this season, said the injury only bothers him when he swings, and he is optimistic that it won't keep him out long.

"I'm not feeling any pain or anything," Pearce said. "It's just discomfort."

Worth noting
• Trevor Plouffe's solo home run during the Twins' loss on Friday was the 10,000th homer in franchise history.

• Pearce's injury didn't just lay a potentially serious blow on Baltimore, but it also ended a career-long 11-game hitting streak.


Cruz, O's have had casual extension talks

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BALTIMORE -- Nelson Cruz and the Orioles have had preliminary discussions about a potential extension, although the talks aren't considered serious in nature right now.

"I've been through this before," said Cruz, who declined the Rangers' qualifying offer this winter to become a free agent. "It's the owner's decision, the GM. But no doubt I'd like to stay."

Cruz said the two sides have had talks during the second half, although there's no indications that anything is close. Cruz is one of several big-name free agents for the O's this season, including shortstop J.J. Hardy and right fielder Nick Markakis, who are both younger and could be seen as less of a long-term risk.

Cruz, who has hit a career-high 34 homers, initially wanted a multi-year deal this winter, but his market dried up and -- after declining the $14.1 million qualifying offer -- he signed a one-year, $8 million deal with Baltimore in February.

"I think for me and the team, the best interest is to stay focused on what we got," Cruz said. "I don't want to be a distraction with stuff like that, with contracts. Even though, like you said, I would like it to be done before [the season ends]. But right now, my main goal is to go to the playoffs."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter echoed that sentiment.

"Obviously, Nelson's had a good year. I've known him for quite a while," Showalter said. "He's been a good teammate. Right now, we're focused on these next 30-odd games, and we'll see what the people who are responsible for that and do that for a living, I'll let them handle that. I'll concentrate on managing.

"I'm trying to stay out of the way, keep things going in a good direction. Nelson's one of the reasons we have this opportunity. We certainly would like to have that continue. If there comes a time they may ask me how I think things fit baseball-wise, but I'm going to keep out of the financial part of it because the further we play and the more we do, better chance, I guess."

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Machado looks to cheer on team in his return

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BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado may get to be around for a celebration at Oriole Park at Camden Yards after all.

Originally, the injured third baseman thought he'd head straight from Los Angeles to Sarasota, Fla., to continue his rehab in a handful of weeks, but he texted manager Buck Showalter telling him that he could be back in Baltimore for the O's home series against the Red Sox -- and a potential playoff-clinching celebration.

"We're text buddies," Showalter said. "He said everything is going good. He said he felt really good after the surgery and said he'd see us potentially on the 17th."

If Machado, who had surgery to repair a partially torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his right knee on Wednesday, is around for the home stretch, Baltimore will have both of its injured All-Stars around the team for the final push. Matt Wieters has been around the O's for about a month after having Tommy John surgery in June.

To Showalter, it speaks to the camaraderie that has helped the Orioles find their way to first place in the American League East this season.

"They would do that whether we were competitive or not competitive," Showalter said. "I think they would. It's one of the essences of what makes this group kind of special to me. They like each other. They respect each other, and more importantly, they like competing together."

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O's pad lead in AL East, capture series from Rays

Hardy drives in the game-winner after a back-and-forth battle

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BALTIMORE -- The last time Kirby Yates faced Chris Davis, in the fifth inning of Monday's game, the Orioles' struggling slugger took him deep as part of a back-to-back-to-back home run spree. So it was plausible, although still slightly head-scratching, when Rays manager Joe Maddon made the call to intentionally walk Davis in the seventh inning with the infielder 0-for-3 on the night and batting .188 on the season.

With the scored tied at 4 and first base open, Yates issued the two-out free pass -- Davis' first since June 25 -- and shortstop J.J. Hardy made him pay.

"A little bit [surprised]," Hardy said of watching the walk unfold from the on-deck circle. "But I was just thinking about hitting the ball hard. Didn't happen, but it worked. I try not to let emotions get a hold of me and just hit the ball hard."

Backed by yet another outstanding job from the Orioles bullpen -- which didn't allow a run in the four-game series -- Baltimore made Hardy's two-out RBI blooper stand up as the decisive score in a 5-4 series win Thursday night at Oriole Park.

The victory, which saw the Orioles (76-56) take three of four and improve to 11-5 against the Rays this year, increases first-place Baltimore's lead to seven games over the Yankees in the American League East. With right-handed starter Bud Norris battling through six innings, the O's used a combination of Brad Brach, Andrew Miller and Zach Britton -- who picked up his 29th save in 32 chances -- to keep the relief corps' scoreless streak intact.

"Really? Wow," manager Buck Showalter said when alerted about the bullpen's 14 1/3 scoreless innings over the four-game set. "That speaks for itself. Four-game series are so hard to win, especially with some of the pace of the games we've played the last four games. Our bullpen was just solid. Didn't let anything get in the way, just kept making good pitches."

The Orioles, who improved to 26-19 in one run games, twice came back from a deficit and Hardy's glove was just as big as his bat, executing a key double play to end the top of the seventh. They used that momentum to take the lead in the bottom of the frame, with Nelson Cruz starting things off with a two-out double before Yates walked Davis.

"I see the reasoning behind it," Davis said of the intentional walk. "Right-handed pitcher on the mound, right-handed hitter behind me. Had some good swings on a couple of balls earlier in the game. It's happened before. It doesn't matter what your batting average is, if they feel like you can hurt them at any point in the game and they have a chance to walk you, they can do it."

Hardy muscled a ball into right field after that, scoring Cruz to give the Orioles a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"To take three out of four was big," Hardy said. "I think we are playing pretty good ball. I think after that Cubs series [sweep] we all just kind of forgot about that and moved forward."

Down two runs in the fifth inning, the Orioles used Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar's second miscue to tie the game. With the bases loaded, Davis bounced into a potential double play and Escobar -- after taking the throw at second for the first out -- airmailed a throw into the first-base stands. Both runs were charged to Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, who loaded the bases and exited in favor of Jeff Beliveau after Cruz's lineout.

"I kind of had a late break, but I beat him to the bag," Beliveau said of the play at first. "I beat him there and as soon as I got to the bag, I looked up and it was about 20 feet over my head. Then I realized I had to get the ball."

Hellickson, who was charged with four runs, three earned, watched the O's tie the game in the first inning on an impressive double-steal. After Steve Pearce's homer put the Orioles on the board, Adam Jones and Cruz both singled and Cruz got caught in a rundown between first and second with Jones breaking for home plate from third. Escobar paused for a moment, then fired home, but Rays catcher Jose Molina dropped the ball, allowing the Orioles to tie it up.

Norris outlasted Hellickson but wasn't particularly crisp, allowing a leadoff double and run on Matt Joyce's sacrifice fly, with Tampa Bay pushing the lead to two on Evan Longoria's homer. The righty, who had 34 pitches in the first, settled in and went on to retire nine of the next 10 before allowing the Rays to score a pair of runs in the fifth.

"Short last couple starts the last couple days, but to get through six was big for us and I just really tried to grind it out," Norris said. "It was just a good baseball game and we got the big hit late, and to pass off the ball to the bullpen late like that with a lead, our chances are pretty good."


Jones swipes home in O's double steal vs. Rays

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BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are known for their power hitting and low stolen-base totals, but to tie the game with the Rays in the bottom of the first inning on Thursday night -- before going on to win, 5-4 -- the O's turned to some small ball.

With Adam Jones at third, Nelson Cruz at first and Chris Davis at the plate, Cruz started jogging to second base. Tampa Bay catcher Jose Molina fired a throw to shortstop Yunel Escobar, who was covering second. Cruz froze and turned back to first with Escobar giving chase.

That was Jones' cue, and the outfielder raced toward home. Escobar took a split second to realize what was happening, and his throw to the plate was dropped by Molina.

"It was something we had talked about with the defense that they play against Chris and the things that they can do and not do," manager Buck Showalter said. "It's a challenge for us, too. That's a difficult play to defend. There's a way to do it and really it's a little bit of a roll of the dice. We were fortunate."

Jones was credited with a steal of home. Cruz ended up on second with a stolen base of his own. The Orioles' double steal worked to perfection and tied an important division game.


Chen, Gausman optioned, but won't miss a start

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BALTIMORE -- Wei-Yin Chen and Kevin Gausman, who were both optioned to the team's Gulf Coast League team, are still on turn to make their next respective starts early next week for the Orioles.

Both Chen and Gausman, who have Minor League options remaining, were sent down after their last start -- on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively -- to give the O's another position player. September callups start Monday and neither Chen nor Gausman would have thrown prior to that for the O's. The loophole allows the Orioles to make some early expansions to the roster while Chen and Gausman will take their work day with the Gulf Coast League before returning to the team.

"Think there's a chance we won't be able to do this next year," manager Buck Showalter said of the Orioles' bending of the rules, which gives the team a five-man bench for the next few days. "They had a rule they changed last year on us, because we took advantage of it and I think they will change this one, too."

Chen will start Sunday, so the club will have to make at least one more move, which could be briefly sending out another starter who has options. Could the Orioles, who have added Steve Clevenger and Jimmy Paredes, make any more early September callups?

"If we have a problem and we need a pitcher we can get a pitcher here overnight," Showalter said. "That's the only thing I could see happening between now and then."

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O's add bench depth by promoting Paredes

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BALTIMORE -- Until a handful of hours before the Orioles' 3-1 loss to the Rays on Wednesday, the O's had been operating with a three-man bench for the start of an 11-game homestand at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Less than 24 hours later that number is up to five.

Baltimore recalled outfielder Jimmy Paredes from Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday as the corresponding move for Kevin Gausman being optioned to the Gulf Coast League Orioles after Wednesday's game.

Paredes was batting .258 with three home runs and four stolen bases in 32 games with Norfolk since being acquired in July. He went 2-for-10 with a pair of steals in nine games with the Royals earlier this year.

"I was a little bit surprised," Paredes said. "I feel so excited."

The O's landed Paredes from Kansas City on July 24 in exchange for cash considerations. He had performed well with Triple-A Omaha, batting .305 with five home runs and 17 stolen bases in 65 games before being dealt to Baltimore.

Paredes was briefly an Oriole in February, when the O's claimed him off waivers from the Marlins on Feb. 15. Two days later, Baltimore replaced Paredes on the 40-man roster with starting pitcher Suk-min Yoon and Kansas City claimed the outfielder.

Paredes joins David Lough as a reserve outfielder for the O's and adds a switch hitter to a bench unit that features three lefties and one righty. Paredes is a career .233 hitter who can serve as a pinch-hitter and also regularly play second and third. If the Orioles need him to, Paredes can also fill in at first base and shortstop.

"It allows us to do some things and know that we're covered if there's an issue physically," manager Buck Showalter said.

The Orioles will have to make one more move Sunday to activate Wei-Yin Chen for his scheduled start, but whomever is optioned then can return when rosters expand to 40 players a day later.

Paredes was always likely to be called up on Sept. 1, Showalter said, and this let him get a few extra days to become acclimated to Baltimore while also providing the O's with a valuable piece. This may be the last chance the Orioles have to do something like this, too, so they took advantage.

"I think there's a chance we won't be able to do this next year," Showalter said. "They had a rule they changed last year on us because we took advantage of it and I think they'll change this one, too."

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O's bats can't figure out Smyly

Davis' solo homer one of two hits Baltimore musters vs. left-hander

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BALTIMORE -- Every once in a while, Orioles manager Buck Showalter will pick out a pitcher his team is set to face in the next few days and talk him up for a couple days. On Wednesday, the manager joked that he does it for as many people as he can so he looks smart when they perform.

His trick worked again. With the Rays coming to town, Showalter mentioned Drew Smyly, the 25-year-old left-hander Tampa Bay acquired in the trade that sent David Price to the Tigers, and on Wednesday he shut down the Orioles in a 3-1 Rays win in front of 20,762.

"I talked to y'all about him before," Showalter said. "That's why you give up guys like David Price."

The only blemish preventing Smyly from a second straight scoreless start was a solo homer by Chris Davis in the second inning. The pitcher retired the next 12 batters he faced after that homer and allowed just one more hit during his six-strikeout night.

Smyly is now 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in six games since joining the Rays at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"This is probably one of the better stretches I've had as a starter," Smyly said. "Really, since the All-Star break, I felt like I've kind of turned the page."

The loss brings an end to Baltimore's four-game winning streak at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and, coupled with the Yankees' 8-4 win against the Tigers, cuts the O's lead in the American League East to six games.

By the end of the first inning, Kevin Gausman and the defense behind him already put Baltimore in a hole too deep to recover from against Smyly. A one-out double by Ben Zobrist and a wild pitch by Gausman put the rookie pitcher in trouble early, and Jonathan Schoop's ill-fated decision to throw home on a grounder to second played a role in both runs in the inning.

Zobrist slid by Caleb Joseph's tag for the first run and Matt Joyce, who reached on the fielder's choice, scored on Wil Myers' single three batters later. The Rays tacked on an unearned run in the second inning. Smyly had more than enough support.

"Obviously, I know who he is and I know his numbers," said Gausman, whose four innings matched the shortest start of his career. "I knew it was going to be a pitchers' duel and I wish it would have been, but I just kind of struggled early on. They had some hits fall in some good spots and they also hit the ball pretty hard right at some guys."

The O's mustered only two hits and one walk against Smyly and had a runner in scoring position for a grand total of one batter. After Steve Pearce singled in the sixth inning to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, he stole second. One pitch later, Adam Jones whiffed at a slider for his second strikeout of the game.

As Smyly was hurling a gem in Baltimore, the man he was traded for pitched a dud in Detroit. Price gave up eight runs in the third inning of the loss to New York, allowing nine straight hits to start the frame before being pulled. In six games with Tampa Bay, Smyly has allowed six runs in total.

"David Price is one of the best in the game," shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "It's nice we don't have to see him all the time. Smyly's a great pitcher. It doesn't get much easier."

Showalter had seen enough of Smyly in the lefty's young career to know what he was capable of -- he entered the day 5-0 with a 1.33 ERA against the AL East -- and he delivered.

Brad Boxberger made it through the eighth unscathed, and Jake McGee notched his 15th save to deny the thought of an Orioles rally.

This game, though, was all about Smyly. A flat offensive effort by the O's like the ones that plagued their weekend against the Cubs certainly contributed, but it came down to Smyly's four strong pitches, his unique delivery and a continued run of success against the O's and the AL East.

"That's it," Showalter said. "They were going to be tough tonight. Runs were going to be at a premium."

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Gausman optioned, but will return for next start

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BALTIMORE -- After an outing that tied the shortest start of his career in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Rays, Kevin Gausman is heading for another brief stint in the Minors -- but it's not because of his performance.

Like the Orioles' decision to option Wei-Yin Chen earlier in the day, this move is made with the intention of maximizing every roster spot until September callups.

Like Chen, Gausman will technically join the Gulf Coast League Orioles, whose season ends on Thursday, and return in time for his next start on Monday when rosters expand. Because the GCL season is coming to an end, the O's won't need to wait the usual 10 days to bring Gausman back to the Majors, and he will still be able to make his next start on turn.

The Orioles didn't announce a corresponding move on Wednesday, but after having their starter go fewer than five innings on consecutive nights, an extra relief pitcher could be of use in Baltimore.

Unlike Chen's situation, the O's won't have to send anyone down to bring Gausman back to the Majors because teams will be allowed to carry up to 40 players on the active roster starting on Monday.

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Machado undergoes successful surgery

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BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado underwent successful surgery to repair the torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his right knee on Wednesday in Los Angeles, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Machado had the surgery at 6 a.m. PT (9 a.m. ET), and the third baseman will remain in L.A. for the next three weeks to begin his rehab. Showalter isnt sure yet whether Machado will go straight to Sarasota, Fla., or return to Baltimore for the Orioles' three-game series against the Red Sox from Sept. 19-21.

The recovery time for Machado is still expected to be 4-6 weeks -- the same length his left knee injury kept him out after having surgery in October last year. The difference this time is that his surgery comes almost two months earlier, meaning the former All-Star could return in time to have a normal Spring Training, assuming there are no setbacks.

"I wanted to have Spring Training next year," Machado said on Monday before departing for the West Coast. "If we waited for the surgery a little longer, it was going to be tough."

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O's temporarily option Chen, add Clevenger

O's temporarily option Chen, add Clevenger play video for O's temporarily option Chen, add Clevenger

BALTIMORE -- With just days until rosters expand from 25 to 40, the Orioles took an opportunity on Wednesday to juggle their pitching staff one more time.

The O's optioned lefty Wei-Yin Chen to the Gulf Coast League Orioles a day after his most recent start and recalled catcher Steve Clevenger from Triple-A Norfolk. The GCL O's season ends on Thursday, so Baltimore will be able to bring Chen back to the Majors in time for his next scheduled start, Sunday, without waiting the typically necessary 10 days.

The O's will have to make one more roster move on Sunday to reactivate Chen, but they can expand their roster to as many as 40 players on Monday.

The move on Wednesday was made with the intention of getting the Orioles' bench back to a normal size. The addition of Clevenger gives Baltimore four players, including three left-handed hitters.

"We've been playing short a position player for a while, and we thought this was an opportunity to take care of that problem," manager Buck Showalter said. "Give us a better chance to win tonight is what it's about. Better chance to win tomorrow night."

Clevenger batted .240 with eight doubles in 26 games with Baltimore this season and has hit .305 in 64 games for Norfolk. He was viewed as a likely candidate to join the team as a third catcher when rosters expanded. His addition a few days early caught Clevenger a bit off guard.

"They caught me a little surprised last night," Clevenger said. "I was just down there playing, hoping to play good enough to get a callup."

Showalter didn't rule out the possibility of making a similar move with another of his starters with Minor League options remaining.

Kevin Gausman, Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez -- all of whom have spent time in the Minors this season -- will pitch for the O's the next three days. If the Orioles need more bench help or an extra arm, they won't hesitate to make another move.

"We'll consider anything that gives us a better chance to win the game that night and doesn't jeopardize anything we're doing in the future," Showalter said.

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Clutch hitting helps O's extend AL East lead

Joseph hits two-run single, Schoop drives in decisive run in sixth

Clutch hitting helps O's extend AL East lead play video for Clutch hitting helps O's extend AL East lead

BALTIMORE -- As manager Buck Showalter reminds reporters often, the final 30-40 games of a season are an eternity. And while Tuesday's contest -- which lasted 3 hours, 37 minutes -- won't go down as one of Baltimore's most exciting games, the Orioles inch a little closer to the electricity of October baseball with every win.

Led by catcher Caleb Joseph's two-out, two-run fourth-inning single, Jonathan Schoop's go-ahead single in the sixth and some impressive defense, the Orioles topped the Tampa Bay Rays for the second consecutive night, this time a 4-2 victory in front of 16,406. The win, coupled with the second-place Yankees' loss, extends Baltimore's American League East lead to seven games.

"That's the word I was looking for -- eternity," Showalter said after a handful of words were thrown out to describe the slow-paced state of Tuesday's game.

"You try to play at a consistent level mentally and emotionally because there are so many things in the games you just can't control. So you try to control your mental state of mind, your approach to it, and you live with the consequences. That's the challenge that comes from within the clubhouse. You talk to people out of the game, and what they miss is that. On nights like this, it takes everybody pushing and pulling to get it done."

Despite an uncharacteristically shaky start from lefty Wei-Yin Chen -- who had pitched to a 2.72 ERA in six second-half starts coming in -- the O's relievers held Tampa Bay scoreless over the final 13 outs, with Nelson Cruz and Schoop each driving in a run in the winning effort.

"You've got to win when you're up by 10, you've got to keep the pedal to the metal, but these are the kind of ones that slip away, it seems like, towards the end," Joseph said of a contest that featured multiple crew chief reviews, nine total pitchers and more than 300 pitches thrown.

"If you don't make it, you kind of knock your head against the wall, but we did a good job tonight. We won, and these are the type of games we have to have late in the season. You don't really know at the beginning of the game, but kind of towards the middle of the game, you feel like you've got to step on it, so trying to get the guys going as fast as you can. You've got to push through it."

Joseph helped lead the way, coming through with a two-out fading liner that got just under the glove of sliding center fielder Desmond Jennings to score Cruz and Delmon Young. It was the only two runs allowed by Rays starter Alex Cobb, who has gone a club record nine consecutive starts allowing two runs or fewer.

"Maybe we aren't on top of our game right now, but they're definitely the aggressors right now," Cobb said of an Orioles team he likened to last year's World Series champion Red Sox.

Cobb -- who worked up a high pitch count early along with Chen -- only lasted four innings and was replaced by Kirby Yates, who tossed a scoreless fifth before the O's plated another pair of runs off struggling right-hander Grant Balfour.

After J.J. Hardy's one-out sixth-inning single, Joseph delivered a two-out hit to bring on Schoop. The second baseman sent a ball into left-field to break the 2-2 tie, with Cruz doubling in Adam Jones for a tack-on run in the following frame.

"It's really important, every time the bottom of the lineup can contribute and help the big guys in the front," Schoop said. "Me and Caleb came up big today. That's the thing about it. Everybody [can] step up each day."

The offense and relief corps covered for Chen, who turned in his second-shortest outing of the year, going 4 2/3 innings and walking three batters -- for just the second time this season -- while allowing two runs on seven hits over the 91-pitch outing.

"There are quite a few times that I face this type of situation at the beginning of the game, but somehow I can make the adjustment and work my way back," Chen said through his interpreter. "But today I tried a lot of things, tried to work my way back, but I couldn't.

Chen, who benefitted from three plays at the plate, exited after issuing a two-out walk to Ryan Hanigan. Right-hander Brad Brach recorded the next four outs, with Tommy Hunter and Andrew Miller each tossing a scoreless inning after that. Closer Zach Britton picked up his 28th save to put the finishing touches on the win.

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Out call at home stands after crew chief review

Second replay takes place in third inning to check the count

Out call at home stands after crew chief review play video for Out call at home stands after crew chief review

BALTIMORE -- Instant replay came into play in the first inning of Tuesday night's Rays-Orioles game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards when a crew chief review did not go in the Rays' favor.

With no outs and Rays runners on second and third, Logan Forsythe grounded to third baseman Chris Davis, who threw to first baseman Steve Pearce for the first out. Pearce then threw home when Desmond Jennings tried to score from third.

Home-plate umpire Pat Hoberg called Jennings out, but Rays manager Joe Maddon asked for a crew chief review because he felt catcher Caleb Joseph was blocking home plate.

The review lasted three minutes and 16 seconds before the decision was made that the call on the field stands and that there had been no violation.

A second crew chief review took place in the third inning to determine whether Nick Markakis had drawn a walk or simply a third ball.

After one minute and 47 seconds, the umpires determined that the call stood and Markakis just had a full count. The outfielder struck out looking on the next pitch.

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{"content":["replay" ] }

Jimenez still an option as a starter

Jimenez still an option as a starter play video for Jimenez still an option as a starter

BALTIMORE -- Manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez is still considered a starter, and the team hopes to keep him stretched out for the final month of the regular season.

Jimenez, who appeared in the bullpen for the first time since 2008 on Saturday, could get a few starts down the stretch if the O's secure a playoff spot early and want to rest guys -- and there's always the chance of an injury.

Right now, however, there are no starts scheduled for Jimenez.

"We will see what presents itself with work days and physical status," Showalter said. "Chris [Tillman] pitched the last two outings on extra rest. There's a reason for that. We will see how he feels in between."

Jimenez went four innings against the Cubs, allowing one run on three hits and a walk, and Showalter was encouraged that the righty came in on Tuesday as a potentially available relief option. Jimenez has gone 4-9 with a 4.83 ERA in 20 starts.

"If we see that we are covered [in the bullpen] we are going to continue to make him available to us as a starter, too," Showalter said. "The need could be there shortly."

{"event":["prospect" ] }

O's top 10 prospects Davies, Ohlman to play in AFL

O's top 10 prospects Davies, Ohlman to play in AFL play video for O's top 10 prospects Davies, Ohlman to play in AFL

BALTIMORE -- Seven players, one coach and a trainer from the Orioles' organization will take part in the Arizona Fall League this offseason.

Pitchers Parker Bridwell, Zach Davies, Mychal Givens and Ashur Tolliver, catcher Mike Ohlman, infielder Jason Esposito and outfielder Dariel Alvarez are the seven players who will play for the Glendale Desert Dogs, where Triple-A Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin and Class A Short Season Aberdeen trainer Chris Poole will also serve in those same roles.

Davies, Givens, Tolliver and Ohlman are all currently with Double-A Bowie, Bridwell and Esposito are with Class A Advanced Frederick and Alvarez is also with Norfolk. Both Alvarez and Ohlman played in the AFL last year with the Surprise Saguaros.

Davies, the No. 8 prospect in the organization, is the top Orioles prospect headed to Arizona, followed by the No. 10 prospect Ohlman and the No. 12 prospect Bridwell.

The AFL season begins on Oct. 7.

{"event":["prospect" ] }

Orioles' prolific power snaps skid against Rays

Baltimore crushes five homers to give Tillman plenty of backing

Orioles' prolific power snaps skid against Rays play video for Orioles' prolific power snaps skid against Rays

BALTIMORE -- When Delmon Young belted a three-run home run to help the Orioles pull away from the Rays in the fifth inning of an eventual 9-1 win on Monday, he couldn't know that he was about to be part of O's history.

By the time the outfielder came to the plate in that frame, the Orioles had already gone back-to-back once. A batter later, J.J. Hardy launched a home run to center field. And then Chris Davis, who entered the day batting .149 in August, drilled a third consecutive home run.

The slumping corner infielder calmly trotted around the bases and pounded Nick Hundley's fist as he crossed home. For the first time since moving to Baltimore, the O's went back-to-back and back-to-back-to-back in the same game.

"It's fun," Young said, "but, you know, when Davis went deep on the third one, if I was Hundley, I wouldn't have liked that because I would've been trying to hit four."

Hundley added a single and by then, the 15,516 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards could already begin to celebrate the end of a three-game losing streak. A six-run fifth quelled any concerns that a weekend sweep at the hands of the Cubs would carry over into an 11-game homestand.

In that inning alone, Baltimore scored more runs than it did during the entire three-game set at Wrigley Field that saw the O's American League East lead on the Yankees shrink from a commanding nine games to the current six-game cushion.

"It seemed like y'all went in panic mode when we got swept in Chicago," Young said. "We weren't scoring many runs, but it happens and then we're back in our division at home facing a guy we've seen before.

"And we've got better facilities here than Wrigley."

Although a rookie, Jake Odorizzi is a familiar face for the Orioles. Odorizzi hadn't allowed more than three runs in any of his three starts against Baltimore and has quietly been one of the top rookies in the AL.

Before Odorizzi recorded an out in the third inning, the O's already hit that mark. Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce followed Jonathan Schoop's leadoff single with the first back-to-back home runs of the game.

Two innings later, Young and Hardy went back-to-back and Odorizzi's day was done after allowing a career-high eight runs.

"It always helps when you see a pitcher," Hardy said. "You kind of have an idea. When you're seeing a guy for the first time, and you don't really know what to expect, it's a lot different."

In three games against the last-place Cubs this weekend, the Orioles mustered just 13 hits and four runs. So, of course, in their return to Camden Yards, every Baltimore starter managed a hit and the O's racked up 14 total in their highest scoring effort since Aug. 11.

"That's baseball, man," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "And we've got a guy there that's been really good at missing bats. So it just didn't want to work tonight."

Chris Tillman hurled a gem in his own right with seven innings and no earned runs, and Adam Jones turned two after robbing a home run. Those efforts became mere footnotes, though, as the Orioles bats woke up following a series-long slumber.

Markakis snapped an 0-for-21 slump with his homer. Pearce collected a pair of hits to match a career-best eight-game hitting streak. Jones complemented his spectacular defensive play with a pair of hits. Delmon Young went 3-for-3 and even laced a double down the right-field line.

"Somebody was telling me to ask him about driving the ball the other way and he said, 'No, I was trying to pull it,'" manager Buck Showalter said. "He's a very honest guy."

He finished his day a triple short of the cycle when he was lifted for a pinch-runner following that sixth-inning double. His turn never came up again, but the outfielder knows what he would've thought if he had a final chance at that elusive triple.

"I wouldn't try to hit a cycle," Young said. "I'd try to hit another home run."


Orioles club back-to-back-to-back homers

Orioles club back-to-back-to-back homers play video for Orioles club back-to-back-to-back homers

BALTIMORE -- In the third inning of the start of an 11-game homestand at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Monday, Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce cranked back-to-back home runs to pull ahead of the Rays and awaken the bats after a lifeless three-game sweep at the hands of the Cubs.

Two innings later, Delmon Young, J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis one-upped them. The trio belted their fifth, eighth and 21st home runs of the year in succession for the O's first back-to-back-to-back home runs since May 10, 2012, and give them back-to-back homers and three-straight in the same game for the first time since they moved to Baltimore.

The Orioles last hit multiple sets of back-to-back home runs in one game on May 27, 2008.

"That's pretty rare," Hardy said. "It's just one of those things. You can't explain it."

Young kicked off the run with a three-run homer to drive in Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz and give Baltimore a 7-1 lead. Hardy followed with a homer to right-center to stretch lead by a run and Davis, who had been batting .149 in August, slammed his fifth homer of the month to center to put the finishing touches on a six-run fifth inning and a 9-1 win against Tampa Bay.

In that inning alone, the O's blew away their scoring total from the weekend they spent in Chicago. The Orioles scored four runs in three games at Wrigley Field and with three swings in the fifth they managed to top that.

Hardy was also involved last time Baltimore went back-to-back-to-back. That came in the first game of a doubleheader against the Rangers. Ryan Flaherty started that stretch with Hardy and Markakis delivering the second and third blasts, respectively.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Returning for Spring Training important to Machado

Returning for Spring Training important to Machado play video for Returning for Spring Training important to Machado

BALTIMORE -- Later this week, Manny Machado will depart for Los Angeles. As of now, surgery on the medial patellofemoral ligament in his right knee is scheduled for Wednesday and his rehab will begin shortly after that. And Machado may not be back in Baltimore until the postseason.

The third baseman has a rough outline for his rehab and it doesn't involve much time around Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He will spend the first 2-3 weeks of his rehabilitation in Los Angeles. When that's over, the O's will be just about ready to ship off on a road trip that spans the final week of the regular season. Machado won't be ready to travel yet, so he'll head down to Sarasota, Fla., only to return to Baltimore if the Orioles reach the playoffs.

"I want to come back up here," Machado said on Monday. "I want to be part of the celebration. I want to be part of this special thing that we've got going on here, so I'm going to try to make the effort to be here if I can."

Machado's accelerated rehab plan and decision to have surgery after sitting out less than two weeks is made with an eye to Spring Training. The All-Star didn't have one this season as he rehabbed a left knee injury and he started slow before picking up his play during the final months before this season- ending injury.

Though this injury is less severe than the total rupture Machado suffered in 2013, the 4-6 month rehab timetable is the same as for the surgery he had in September that kept him out until May.

"I wanted to have Spring Training next year," Machado said. "If we waited for the surgery a little longer, it was going to be tough."

Machado is even opting to recover in Sarasota rather than his native Miami to give him a true Spring Training experience.

"I really feel good that he's going to be around our guys with it," manager Buck Showalter said.

Surgery was always an inevitability for Machado to return to full strength. After nearly two weeks, his knee wasn't getting any better and didn't feel any more stable. Waiting any longer would've put the start to another season in jeopardy again.

If Machado can be ready for next year and the O's can still make a run without him, the decision will have paid off.

"That's the game plan," Machado said. "And to be celebrating at the end of this."

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{"content":["injury" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

O's prospect Bridwell loses perfect game in seventh

O's prospect Bridwell loses perfect game in seventh play video for O's prospect Bridwell loses perfect game in seventh

For the second time this season Monday, Class A Advanced Frederick right-hander Parker Bridwell carried a no-hitter deep into the game against Potomac. And, for the second time this season, his bid was spoiled by Tony Renda.

Bridwell took a perfect game into the seventh inning. He had retired all 18 batters he had faced, striking out 11 of them. As remarkable as his start to the game was, it was remarkably similar to his start on May 13, the last time he had faced Potomac. On that night, Bridwell retired the first 16 batters he faced and took a no-hitter into the ninth inning, only to see Renda break it up with a one-out single up the middle.

Monday, Bridwell retired the first batter of the seventh inning, bringing Renda, the Nationals' No. 18 prospect, to the plate with the perfect game on the line. And, again, Renda ended Bridwell's bid for history with a single, this time to right field.

Undeterred, Bridwell retired the next five batters to complete eight scoreless innings. Right-hander Brady Wager pitched a scoreless ninth to complete the shutout and Frederick defeated Potomac, 6-0.

Bridwell, the Orioles' No. 12 prospect, finished the night with a season-high 13 strikeouts and no walks. He faced just one batter over the minimum.

With the victory, Bridwell improved to 6-10 with a 4.51 ERA this season. He leads the Carolina League with 136 strikeouts and has walked 67 batters in 135 2/3 innings.

{"event":["prospect" ] }

Gonzalez strong in return but bats quiet vs. Cubs

Pearce provides O's only hit with seventh-inning home run

Gonzalez strong in return but bats quiet vs. Cubs play video for Gonzalez strong in return but bats quiet vs. Cubs

CHICAGO -- Visiting Wrigley Field this weekend for the first time since 2008, the Orioles were also a part of the Cubs' 100th anniversary season, which features a year-long homage to the organization's storied past. Baltimore also got a good look at its own recent history with ex-Orioles Jake Arrieta and Tsuyoshi Wada each getting a start, but there was nothing memorable about it.

Clad in throwback uniforms from 1994, the first-place Orioles looked like a shell of the team that swept the White Sox in a three-game set on the South Side as Wada became the latest Cubs starter to handcuff a struggling Baltimore lineup. The Orioles mustered up one hit in a 2-1 defeat on Sunday -- squandering a quality outing from Miguel Gonzalez -- resulting in their first losing road trip of the season (4-5) and first series sweep since May.

"It's been a long 10 days," manager Buck Showalter said of his club, which scored four runs total in the third and final leg of its last three-city road trip this season. "But every team this time of year has some challenges physically and mentally and emotionally. You get on the plane, you head toward some friendly faces and hopefully we can get back to feeling good about postgame."

Crowds full of Orioles' orange and black aside, there wasn't much to feel good about in leaving Wrigley with their latest loss, shrinking their American League East lead to six games over the Yankees. Still, the O's lost just 1 1/2 games on their lead on the entire road trip and have 21 of their next 27 games at home .

"We've got a good team," first baseman Steve Pearce said of a Baltimore club that's tied for the American League-lead with 39 road wins. "This is only a hiccup in our season. We're going to go home and take care of business, and we're going to flush this road trip out of our system."

Pearce was the only Orioles batter without a zero in the hit column, breaking up Wada's no-hit bid with a leadoff homer in the seventh. Wada, making his eighth career Major League start, watched Pearce drill an 88-mph fastball to Waveland Avenue to snap a 13-inning scoreless stretch for the O's.

The rest of the afternoon belonged to Wada, who was just as good as Arrieta on Friday in going 6 1/3 innings and picking up a career-high eight strikeouts. The pair of former O's posted a 1.35 ERA, allowing two earned runs on five hits and two walks with 13 strikeouts.

"I knew a lot of the players on their team, and I feel I let people down by not being able to be a factor on the team," said Wada, who was signed to a two-year, $8.15 million deal prior to the 2012 season but had Tommy John surgery and never threw a pitch for the big league club. "I tried to be the player who they thought they acquired. I tried to prove that the player they felt they got was what I did today."

The 33-year-old Wada had his option declined by Baltimore this winter and signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs, who promoted him on July 8. He recorded one more out after Pearce's homer and exited to an ovation from the crowd of 32,774.

What made the lefty so tough?

"Same reason we had interest in him when he was healthy," Showalter said. "Good fastball command [to] all four quadrants. Late life like a lot of pitchers who come out of there have. You kind of throw away the radar gun. He's got a little late hop."

Gonzalez,who turned in his sixth quality start in his last seven games in his return to the Orioles' rotation, matched Wada early but took the loss. The right-hander watched Arismendy Alcantara break the scoreless tie with a one-out solo homer in the fifth inning and allowed his second run on Anthony Rizzo's one-out double in the sixth.

"I wouldn't change anything," Gonzalez said of his 85-pitch outing, which marked his first start for the O's since Aug. 7. "I thought [catcher] Caleb Joseph did a great job back there changing speeds. We made some good plays when we needed to. Just that one mistake that I made. I think that was it. Wada did a great job of keeping his team in the game. He threw the ball really well." 

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Phelps DFA'd to make room for Gonzalez

Phelps DFA'd to make room for Gonzalez play video for Phelps DFA'd to make room for Gonzalez

CHICAGO -- The Orioles officially recalled Miguel Gonzalez from the Minor Leagues prior to Sunday's start against the Cubs, designating infielder Cord Phelps for assignment to clear a spot on the active roster.

Phelps was hitless in three at-bats for the Orioles this season, and the move leaves the O's with a short bench for the next week until September's roster expansion.

Leading up to Sunday's start, Gonzalez pitched to a 3.80 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) for the Orioles and was re-added to the rotation with struggling righty Ubaldo Jimenez moved to the bullpen last week.

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Machado's surgery scheduled; headed to LA

Machado's surgery scheduled; headed to LA play video for Machado's surgery scheduled; headed to LA

CHICAGO -- Manny Machado will undergo season-ending right knee surgery on Wednesday in Los Angeles, the same corrective procedure he had a year ago on his left knee.

The surgery will once again be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache -- also the Dodgers' team physician -- who will repair Machado's partially torn medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL). Machado is expected to stay out there for 2-3 weeks before going to the team's spring facility in Sarasota, Fla., to continue his rehab.

The team is hopeful that Machado, who missed the first month of the season last year after undergoing surgery in October, will have more of a regular winter and be ready for Spring Training.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Orioles stay positive after rain-soaked defeat

Ubaldo solid in four innings following three-hour, nine-minute delay

Orioles stay positive after rain-soaked defeat play video for Orioles stay positive after rain-soaked defeat

CHICAGO -- Down by two runs, the Orioles waited out a three-hour, nine-minute rain delay on Saturday afternoon. But after a nasty storm swept through Chicago, the end result remained the same.

The first-place O's, riding high from a three-game sweep of the White Sox, haven't had such smooth sailing on the North Side. On Saturday, Baltimore didn't score a run in the seven innings after the delay, watching its American League East lead whittle down to seven games with a 7-2 loss to the Cubs and the Yankees' win.

"We are playing really good baseball. We are going to try to continue to do that. In a long season, you lose a couple in a row sometimes like this," catcher Nick Hundley said of an Orioles club that had won eight consecutive series prior to dropping two of its last three. "We've been playing great. We are not going to let this hiccup affect us more than it should."

The Orioles, who officially announced Saturday that Manny Machado is out for the season -- joining catcher Matt Wieters -- have lost two games in their lead over the second-place Yankees since Wednesday. But Baltimore still has a nice edge and is far from panic mode after the back-to-back losses at Wrigley Field.

"We're looking at the games we can control and those are the games that we play," O's starter Bud Norris, who went a rain-shortened two innings, said of his club's spot in the standings. "We're just trying to put more 'W's in the win column, and I think that's the No. 1 priority. We've got a lot of baseball left against our own division, and we're definitely not looking back, we're looking forward."

There wasn't much positive to reflect back on in Saturday's afternoon contest, which ended well into the evening and spanned more than six hours when the final out was recorded.

Norris, who drove in a run in the second inning, allowed four runs over a quick six outs and never got a chance to go deep. He got into trouble with a leadoff walk in the second, and a trio of singles tied the game at 1. He struck out No. 9 batter Kyle Hendricks and ran a full count to Chris Coghlan before the left fielder delivered a bases-clearing triple into right field. Coghlan, who was 0-for-15 with six strikeouts in his career against Norris heading into the at-bat, put the Cubs up, 4-2, before play was halted due to weather.

"There's no place to throw here to keep a guy warm, unlike other ballparks, so once a guy's out of there at the 20- or 30-minute mark, he's done for me," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the decision to go with Ubaldo Jimenez when play resumed.

Jimenez, making his first relief outing since 2006, helped keep Showalter from overextending the 'pen and held the Cubs to one run over four innings with five strikeouts. Moved to relief earlier this week, the struggling Jimenez did a commendable job of giving the Orioles length and allowed just three hits and a walk over that span.

"When [Jimenez is] called on to go out there and try to do something he hasn't done a whole lot in the past, it's not going to be the easiest thing for him," Hundley said. "But he went out there and battled, competed and threw strikes. He's a professional. He's still working like crazy. He's not going to give up, he's very tough-minded, tough mentally. And for him to go out there and give us a chance to win was impressive."

The O's offense was not. Despite some good at-bats and a pair of early runs off starter Kyle Hendricks, the Orioles had no answer when the tarp was removed and mustered up just two hits the rest of the way.

Cubs right-hander Justin Grimm went 3 1/3 innings and allowed one baserunner -- Nelson Cruz's sixth-inning walk -- with Wesley Wright recorded the next five outs.

"It was huge," Hendricks said of the job done by the Cubs' relievers. "Words can't really describe how big it was. They won the game."

Orioles right-hander Tommy Hunter allowed one run in the seventh on a solo homer to Cubs phenom Javier Baez and another run in the eighth, as Chicago extended its lead to five and picked up its first series win in five tries.

"We've been in those shoes, too," Showalter said of the Cubs playing spoiler late in the year. "They're a good, solid, aggressive bunch and they're trying to establish themselves in their organization. ... They've got a lot of things to establish and prove, as we do."

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Knee surgery once again ends Machado's season

Third baseman will undergo procedure next week; recovery time is 4-6 months

Knee surgery once again ends Machado's season play video for Knee surgery once again ends Machado's season

CHICAGO -- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will undergo season-ending surgery on his medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) in his right knee in the next week, a procedure that will repair the torn ligament and that is the same surgery performed on his left knee last year.

"Manny came to us yesterday and said his knee wasn't responding to the rest," said Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, "and that he had conferred with his doctors, and after that conference, he decided that the best course of action would be to take a look at the option of surgery."

The loss is a huge hit to a first-place club already without catcher Matt Wieters (Tommy John surgery), making Machado the club's second All-Star to hit the DL for good this season.

Machado, who suffered the newest injury in an at-bat on August 11 at Camden Yards, hit the first-base bag awkwardly last September against the Rays at Tropicana Field and had season-ending surgery on his left knee.

"From the get-go, we knew it was partially torn, so [surgery] was in the back of my mind," said Machado, who had an MRI the next day. "Obviously, with the position we're in now, you don't want to hear about surgery. You want to try to get back out there on the field and be back with the team and help the team get to the playoffs and continue with my season, but it's been a couple weeks now, and the pain hasn't gotten any better, so I think it was just the best decision to get it done now rather than later and wait like we did last year. I think it got to the point where I just had to make a decision."

Machado, who is still waiting to hear on an exact surgery date, will undergo the procedure in Los Angeles, and it will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed his left knee surgery in 2013. The recovery timetable is expected to be about the same -- 4-6 months. The only difference between this year's injury and what he did in September is that the ligament was ruptured in that case.

"The hope was because it was [a] partial [tear on the right side], that it wasn't as severe. The hope was that it would scar down, and we'd be able to get [Machado] back and see how it we went," head athletic trainer Richie Bancells said. "That, in combination with Dr. ElAttrache had always mentioned there was a risk, just given the way that Manny is structured physically, predisposes him to that kind of injury. There was always that risk.

"Dr. ElAttrache told me that we don't know if that risk is next week, next month, next year, two years, you don't know. It was inevitable. The combination of the risk factor, along with Manny didn't feel like it was coming along like he hoped right now, and he had a conversation with Dr. ElAttrache that he decided to go ahead and have the surgery."

Machado said one of the reasons he has sustained these injuries is that he has abnormal knees. With the surgeries, he wants to take care of the issue for good, so it won't be an issue later in his career.

"Obviously, it's August already and if we keep waiting, its just going to make it worse and we're not going to be ready for Spring Training next year," said Machado, who missed the first month of the season this year rehabbing. "I think that's a big part."

Machado, who has traveled with the team while he tried to recover from the latest injury, said his knee hasn't felt any better in the 11 days since the incident occurred. Could he have waited a little bit longer and given the rehab route more time?

"I could have waited," Machado said. "It's been 11 days, 12 days now, and not one little sign of it getting better. So, why keep waiting and lose time for next year? Obviously, we're thinking about this year and not next year, but at the same time, it wasn't getting any better. There wasn't anything we could do. The only thing was going in there and fixing it. It's just something that it wasn't getting any better at all."

A Platinum Gold Glove Award winner in his first full season in 2013, Machado was a huge part of the Orioles' playoff run in '12, and his presence on both sides of the field will be missed. In his absence, the O's have played Ryan Flaherty and Chris Davis at third base, with Davis getting the bulk of the time lately, given Steve Pearce's hot stretch. Pearce has played first base, and Showalter has shifted Davis to third to keep everyone involved.

Will the Orioles look outside of the organization to add an infielder?

"There's a very limited pool of players that are available this time of the year, because a lot of players' contracts don't get through the trade waiver process," Duquette said. "So it's a very limited pool, but I think we have some pretty good depth in-house, and we've had some players step up like Steve Pearce and do a good job, and we're going to continue to need players to step up in this situation."

Asked if Wieters' season-ending surgery gave the Orioles confidence that they could withstand the loss of Machado, manager Buck Showalter said: "It's just reality. I don't know if it's confidence. It's just reality. What are you going to do? Say 'Stop? I want to get off?' There's another game today, another game tomorrow. This game has a strange way of finding unexpected heroes, so to speak. It's another opportunity that opens up for somebody, is the way I'd look at it."

{"content":["injury" ] }

Gonzalez ready to 'rock and roll' in return to rotation

Gonzalez ready to 'rock and roll' in return to rotation play video for Gonzalez ready to 'rock and roll' in return to rotation

CHICAGO -- Miguel Gonzalez was back with the Orioles on Saturday as part of the taxi squad, with the right-hander set to be officially recalled from the Minor Leagues prior to Sunday's start.

"Everyone's receiving me like it was my first time being called up," said Gonzalez, who was optioned to clear a roster spot for Ubaldo Jimenez earlier this month. "It was fun. They're all excited to have me back, so I'm excited as well."

Gonzalez, who has a 6-6 record with a 3.80 ERA in 20 games this season, hasn't started for the O's since August 7 and threw a three-inning outing for Triple-A and a sim game on Monday. With the struggling Jimenez moved to the bullpen, the Orioles were able to slot Gonzalez back into the rotation.

"Yeah, it was a tough decision for them," Gonzalez said of the demotion, which wasn't based on performance. "I'm one of the few guys who have options, so it was a decision for them to make. I went down, got my work in and I'm ready to rock and roll."


Jones honored with selection, but O's are priority

Jones honored with selection, but O's are priority play video for Jones honored with selection, but O's are priority

CHICAGO -- Orioles center fielder Adam Jones isn't sure if he will play on the team of MLB players heading to Japan for a five-game exhibition series in November, but he said Friday that he's honored to have been selected.

"It'll be a good event," said Jones of the five-game series, which will feature a group of Major Leaguers vs. the Japanese national team. "First and foremost, I have to honor my commitments here. It depends on how everything goes here. Obviously, we want to play deep into October. The more and more we play, the happier I'll be here. It'll be a good experience if everything goes well and I'm able to go out there. My focus is on the Orioles, first and foremost."

Jones, an avid offseason traveler, hasn't been to Asia yet and said that won't necessarily factor into his decision.

"It's more representing MLB over there," he said. "If they went anywhere else, I would want to go. The fact that they're going there, it's just a formality."

Along with Jones, Robinson Cano, Yaisel Puig and Albert Pujols have also been selected, with Rangers skipper Ron Washington set to manage.

{"content":["replay" ] }

Pair of reviews favors O's in rainy tilt vs. Cubs

Pair of reviews favors O's in rainy tilt vs. Cubs play video for Pair of reviews favors O's in rainy tilt vs. Cubs

CHICAGO -- A pair of reviewed calls went in the Orioles' favor on Saturday at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs prevailed with a 7-2 victory in a game that saw a three-hour, nine-minute rain delay.

A seventh-inning crew-chief review regarding MLB rule 7.13 that prohibits catchers from blocking the plate without possession of the ball confirmed umpire Chris Segal's call that Anthony Rizzo was out at home.

With one out in the seventh and a 6-2 Chicago lead, Rizzo tried to score on Ryan Sweeney's grounder to first, but first baseman Steve Pearce threw to catcher Nick Hundley, who tagged Rizzo.

Rizzo had doubled with no outs and reached third when pinch-hitter Matt Szczur grounded out to short. The review lasted one minute, 20 seconds.

Cubs manager Rick Renteria challenged a call in the eighth when Logan Watkins was ruled out at third on a 5-3-5 double play. The call stood after a two minute, eight second review.

{"content":["replay" ] }
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