O's end West Coast trip with extra-innings victory
Gonzalez solid in start and Machado delivers game-winner in 10th
SEATTLE -- One of the toughest -- and perhaps most pivotal -- road trips this season is in the books for the first-place Orioles, who appear to be clicking at just the right time.
Baltimore ended a successful three-city trip on the West Coast with Sunday's 3-2, 10-inning win over the Mariners, the latest example of a thriving starting staff backed by solid defense and just enough from the bats.
"That was a grind-it-out win," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his club's sixth consecutive extra-innings victory. "Is there such a thing as a man crush on your team? I was pretty proud of them today. There were a lot of chances to give in there."
The O's, who got their sixth quality start in seven games from righty Miguel Gonzalez, kept their their divisional lead at three games over second-place Toronto. Baltimore (58-46) tied a season-high 12 games over .500 and ends the 10-game trip -- seven of which were decided by two or fewer runs -- 6-4 with series wins in Anaheim and Seattle.
"It's a different second half," said Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who went 2-for-4 and drove in the winning run on a sacrifice fly, "and we are trying to put ourselves in a good position to run away with this American League East."
The O's got dominant pitching performances the final two innings from T.J. McFarland and closer Zach Britton -- who struck out the side -- and picked up righty Darren O'Day, who allowed a run for the first time in 15 outings with Mike Zunino's game-tying shot in the eighth.
After Adam Jones doubled for the second consecutive at-bat to start the 10th Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis walked to load the bases and bring on Machado against reliever Yoervis Medina.
"He was challenging me," said Machado, who fell behind 0-2 before lacing a ball deep into center field. "Going up there you knew his best pitch was his fastball. He started off with a strike and and came up and in and I was down in the count quick. I was just trying to get it up and put it in play. And that's what happened and we came out with the win."
"It wasn't a good pitch," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said of the fateful pitch to Machado. "He threw him a strike. Right there you want to expand, and try to get a chase pitch. He was in the heat of the battle. He was battling, trying to get a ground-ball out. He went at him with his best stuff. It just didn't work."
Machado gave the Orioles the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, but it was erased in an uncharacteristic outing from O'Day, who entered the day with a league-leading 1.00 ERA.
"Darren proved he's human today," Showalter asid. "I thought it was pretty apropos that the team picked up a guy who's been so solid for us all year."
Gonzalez, who lowered the starting rotation's ERA to 2.94 on the road trip, turned in a solid six-inning outing as he continues to have a stellar month of July. The right-hander wasn't particularly dominant, allowing 10 baserunners over the 90-pitch start, but kept the Mariners offense stagnant for most of the afternoon.
"I felt like every inning there was some runners on," said Gonzalez, who allowed one run on Chris Taylor's second-inning double. "Just tried to minimize whenever I wasn't doing well and making pitchers when I needed to. Our defense was great tonight and even our offense battled."
Gonzalez was replaced by lefty Brian Matusz, who pitched around a one-out single and walk in a scoreless seventh to keep the game tied at 1.
Machado had a hand in the O's first run as he opened the third-inning with a single and moved to third on a double by catcher Caleb Joseph. Jonathan Schoop drove a ball into left-field to score Machado and give the Orioles their lone run off Mariners starter Roenis Elias.
"It was a tough road trip, but it was a test to see what we were made of," center fielder Adam Jones said of an Oriole team that is 13-7 over its last 20 road games. "Three great pitching staffs, three great bullpens, three great offenses. We grinded it out. Wasn't pretty, but a 'W' is always pretty no matter how it looks."
The Orioles, who boarded a plane back East on Sunday night, will now face the Angels and Mariners again in a homestand that starts Tuesday.
"It was a test, it was a test to see how good of a team we have and I think we came out in a good positive way," Machado said of the trip. "We have to go back home and play them again. Let's not get ahead of ourselves and keep playing our game; that's going to take us where we need to go."