After dropping the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park, the Baltimore Orioles got a jolt to their line up.
Third baseman Manny Machado just finished serving his five-game suspension and helped the Orioles explode for a 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Baltimore lost Game 1, 3-2.
Machado collected two hits in the Saturday night victory — a fourth inning single and a seventh inning single. He also struck out twice and left four runners on base. The Orioles did collect 15 hits in the win.
"We did what we had to do," Machado told reporters a week ago when trying to fight the suspension. "Hopefully, it doesn't hurt the team and we're down a roster spot. We're hoping we made a good case."
The rest of the Orioles made a good case without Machado, though.
They went 4-1 over Machado's five-game hold out. Baltimore outscored opponents, 26-13, over that span which included a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers.
Ryan Flaherty manned third base for the Orioles this past week and held his own while making a case for more playing time. He went 5 for 11, appearing in four of the five games without Machado. Chris Davis, the team's normal designated hitter or first baseman, also filled in at third.
Flaherty has appeared in 45 games for Baltimore this season. He's hitting just .222 with four home runs and he's struck out 45 times, while walking only 10 times.
Machado hasn't fared much better in his time before the suspension. The 23-year old sports a .239 batting average with seven home runs and 17 RBIs. Saturday night's win, which improved the Orioles to 47-40, puts them a half game above the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Eastern Division standings. The still-slumping Red Sox fell to 39-48 and are eight games back in the division.
To close out the series on Sunday, Kevin Gausman — with a 3-2 record and 3.86 earned run average — will start for the Orioles and season veteran Jake Peavy, who is having an uncharacteristic season with a 1-7 record and 4.82 ERA.
“It’s frustrating losing. You don’t want to lose,” Peavy said in an interview with the Boston Herald. “When you made the mistake to cost the team the chance to win, it hurts. Little things, you get that third called strike and you are in the dugout and the game could of played out differently.
"The way it’s been going, on my day, obviously you don’t get the call and the next pitch you give up a two-run home run that decides the game. Just got to clean that up.”
The Red Sox will have to clean up their all-around play before it gets too late to catch up in the division standings. It won't be easy with Machado back to heat up the surging Orioles offense.
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