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Buck's era of accountability begins with win

Buck's era of accountability begins with win

BALTIMORE -- Buck Showalter's debut as the Orioles' manager was a resounding success both inside and outside the lines Tuesday night against the Angels.

The mood inside the Orioles' clubhouse before the game was optimistic as players talked enthusiastically about playing for a veteran manager. They were also encouraged about having some stability with the position after already playing for two other managers this season.

With the 6-3 victory over the Angels, the players were hoping to build some momentum heading into the final 56 games of the season. As a whole, the franchise could not have asked for a better start to the Showalter era.

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"It was a good night -- a lot of energy," said Luke Scott, whose 19th home run gave the Orioles their first lead in the sixth inning. "[Showalter] was very professional. He said, 'We need to play the game smart, play the game hard.' He gave us some credit and made us look at the season from another standpoint.

"He said, 'There has been a lot of negative comments that have been spoken about this team and not much positive, but there's been some good baseball being played here.' I think that was a good point to make, because when you focus on the negative, negative, negative, it's not going to build you up."

Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie is another player who appeared to be buying into Showalter's message. Guthrie picked up his team-leading fifth win and also delivered his fourth consecutive quality start.

"It was a good crowd tonight," Guthrie said. "They introduced Buck as the manager and I heard cheering as I was warming up. It felt like Opening Day a little bit. It's a long process and he has identified that. It's not going to be an overnight thing. I believe in the guys we have here, and we are going to figure things out and maybe move in the right direction."

Others are being a bit more cautiously optimistic.

"Yeah, it's no different than a player coming in with a track record," second baseman Brian Roberts said. "A track record is good it means that they've been able to do something in our situation. So, yeah I think there's some sort of excitement. But there's a long ways to go."

The buzz word floating around the team since Showalter's arrival is "accountability" and making sure players cut down on the technical and mental mistakes that have plagued them all season. The Orioles made some strides Tuesday, playing flawless defense and hustling around the bases.

"For sure, it definitely started out here in the clubhouse," reliever Mike Gonzalez said. "Buck talked to us for a little bit and just in those 10 to 15 minutes that he talked to us, I individually believe in what he has to say and believe in his philosophies. I'm all for it 100 percent. The guy is a winner. He wants to go out and win. It put a little fire under most of the guys here."

The victory was especially refreshing for the Orioles, who have the worst record in Major League Baseball and are enduring another tumultuous year. Showalter is the third manager for the club this season. Dave Trembley started the season and went 15-39 before being dismissed May 13. Juan Samuel then took over as the interim manager and posted a 17-34 record before clearing the way for Showalter.

"He wants us to play the game smart," center fielder Adam Jones said. "We always play hard, but he wants us to play the game smart. That's what we did. We just have to repeat it."

The Orioles are counting on Showalter to pull them out of the worst era in their history as the club is headed toward its 13th consecutive losing season. In 11 seasons as a Major League manager, Showalter is 883-833, including Tuesday's victory, and is a two-time Manager of the Year.

"It's just holding yourself to a high standard," Showalter said. "There are a lot of people who have worked and sweated and toiled very hard to make it something that it was and needs to be again. Some people have trouble with that, but it's called the big leagues."

Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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