Saturday, June 18, 2016

O's cool Blue Jays, stay alone atop AL East

 Jonathan Schoop homered and Manny Machado had three hits as the Orioles hung onto sole possession of first place in the American League East with a 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at Camden Yards.
Baltimore regained its two-game lead over Toronto while the Red Sox remained one game back after their 6-2 win over Seattle on Saturday. Orioles right-hander Yovani Gallardoallowed two runs over five innings to pick up the win in his first game since returning from the disabled list. He surrendered five hits and four walks but was able to limit the damage to pick up his second victory in a Baltimore uniform.
"I've been feeling pretty good ever since I started throwing the baseball," Gallardo said. "I made some pitches whenever I had to. It's just good to be back out there once again. We got the win. I think that's the most important thing, is [it's] a big win for us."
Schoop went 3-for-4, a triple shy of the cycle, with three runs scored, and Machado also went 3-for-4 with a run.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey took the loss for Toronto after he allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks over six innings. It was the second consecutive outing that Dickey pitched well but came away with the loss because of a lack of run support.
"I just want to do my job, that's what everybody wants to do," said Dickey, who entered the game with the seventh lowest run support in baseball at 2.80 runs per game. "You want to be dependable and trustworthy. That's all I've ever wanted to be with the Toronto Blue Jays is that.
"When you have a good run, you feel good about giving your team a consistent chance to win a ballgame. … But it never feels good to lose a ballgame, but it is somewhat satisfying to give your team a chance to win."
Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was one of the lone bright spots on offense for Toronto as he hit a solo home run and made a highlight-reel play in right field to take extra bases away fromAdam Jones.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Moving up pays off: Schoop batted second in the lineup for just the second time this season, and he delivered for the Orioles by scoring three of their four runs. After roping a double down the left-field line in the first inning, he came around to score on Machado's double a batter later. Then in the third, two pitches after Carrera's nice grab, he sent a fly ball over Carrera's head into the right-field seats for his 11th homer of the year. Schoop added a nice defensive play to end the top of the eighth when he grabbed a slow roller with his bare hand and fired to first to get Troy Tulowitzki.
Zeke-ing out: Carrera is not known for his power, but he got into one during the top of the third inning. Toronto's new everyday right fielder while Jose Bautista is on the disabled list sent a deep shot over the wall in center field. According to Statcast™, Carrera's third of the season was projected to travel 406 feet and left his bat at 104 mph. Carrera also made his presence felt in the bottom half of the third when he made a leaping grab at the wall to take extra bases away from Jones and then fired the ball into the infield to record a double play.
"Zee was really good for us last year, and now he's going to get a chance to play more with Jose down," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's taking advantage of it. He's playing great."
Shutdown bullpen: O's manager Buck Showalter said before the game he didn't expect Gallardo to go deep in his first game back from the DL. He figured he'd need length from his relievers, and when Showalter turned the game over to the 'pen, it delivered with four scoreless frames. Baltimore entered Saturday with the third best bullpen ERA (3.10) in the Majors, and Mychal GivensBrad Brach and Zach Britton showed why. Britton managed to notch his American League leading 21st save despite struggling with his command. After loading the bases with one out, he got reigning MVP Josh Donaldson to ground into a game-ending double play.
"We are extremely spoiled by Zach," Showalter said. "That might be as good a [save] as you'll see all year, because he was searching for it some. It reminds you that he's human and what he does every day against these lineups every day in the ninth inning with the game on the line is special and remarkable."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Donaldson doubled in the top of the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, tying a career high. He also has reached base in 23 consecutive games.
Josh Thole snapped an 0-for-25 skid at the plate with a leadoff single in the top of the seventh.
WHAT'S NEXT
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman (6-2, 4.76 ERA) will take the mound when the Blue Jays close out their three-game series against the Orioles on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET. Stroman had bounceback outing in his last start against the Phillies by allowing just two earned runs over seven strong innings.
Orioles: O's ace Chris Tillman (9-1, 2.87 ERA) will get the ball in the rubber match as he looks to extend his eight-decision winning streak to keep Baltimore at the top of the AL East. He's allowed one run total in his past two outings.

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