BALTIMORE -- Cameron Maybin's clutch two-out, pinch-hit single erased a frustrating day at the plate for the Angels, lifting Los Angeles to a 5-4 victory at Camden Yards and keeping the red-hot Halos right in the thick of the American League Wild Card race.The Angels, who have now won nine
BALTIMORE -- Cameron Maybin's clutch two-out, pinch-hit single erased a frustrating day at the plate for the Angels, lifting Los Angeles to a 5-4 victory at Camden Yards and keeping the red-hot Halos right in the thick of the American League Wild Card race.
The Angels, who have now won nine of their last 11 games, are 19-13 since the All-Star Break and remain tied with the Minnesota Twins for the second Wild Card spot behind the Yankees. The O's, coming off a 4-6 West Coast trip, dropped to four games back after losing on back-to-back nights.
"To close out the series, winning the series is special against a team that's fighting for the same thing we are," said shortstop Andrelton Simmons, one of Sunday's heroes. "Once you're playing that good and seeing the light, you want to keep doing it, winning all the games. You want to close them out."
After the Angels -- who drew eight walks -- squandered first and third in the seventh inning, Orioles reliever Brad Brach issued a pair of free passes to Kole Calhoun and Luis Valbuena to bring on Mychal Givens with one out in the eighth. Givens retired C.J. Cron on a pop-up before Maybin pinch-hit in for Juan Graterol. Maybin punched a ball into right field to give the Angels the lead and the decisive run.
Calhoun, who reached base five times, scored three runs and also homered in the first inning off Orioles starter Chris Tillman. Simmons delivered a two-run blast off Tillman in the sixth. Tillman went 5 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on four hits and six walks in his return to the rotation.
"I felt like it got better the second and third time, through [the order]," Tillman said. "Other than the one ball Simmons hit. I felt like I beat myself with the walks. They didn't put balls in play. They didn't earn it. I gave it to them."
Angels rookie starter Parker Bridwell, who beat his old team earlier this month, lasted five-plus innings and was charged with four runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk, striking out three. The Angels are now 12-1 in games he has started this season.
Bridwell was the victim of some bad luck in the sixth, exiting after Jonathan Schoop's two-run single. A costly error by second baseman Cliff Pennington allowed Timothy Beckham on earlier in the inning, resulted in two unearned runs and erasing the Halos lead. Mark Trumbo's two-out, ground-rule double off of Keynan Middleton after that tied the game at 4.
Baltimore threatened again on Angels closer Bud Norris, putting runners on first and second with one out. But Norris struck out Caleb Joseph and fielded a dribbler from Beckham to pick up his 19th save of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Simmons flashes the leather: Clinging to a 5-4 lead with a man on first, Simmons made a terrific backhanded leaping grab to rob Trey Mancini of a line-drive single in the eighth. The grab ended the eighth inning for reliever Yusmeiro Petit.
"We'd like to win. If they had a different shortstop there, we would have," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Simmons. "That's why there's nobody better than him. He's special."
Schoop spoils Bridwell bid: Looking to turn in the second quality start this month against his former team, Bridwell was instead lifted with no outs in the sixth inning. After a leadoff single and Pennington's error, the O's took first and second down 4-1. Manny Machado singled to load it up before Schoop punched a ball into center field to score two runs and end Bridwell's afternoon.
"[Bridwell] really pitched well," Angels manager Mike Scoiscia said. "As the game went on he started to lose some of the feel for his changeup. Parker did a good job, got us to a certain point in the game. Maybe if we make that play he bends a little bit, but doesn't break and holds the lead through six." More >
"The competition is us. It's us playing better regardless of who you're playing. Our competition is Oakland now and it's us. There's opportunity there for us." -Showalter on his team's playoff hopes
"You've got to locate your fastball in different counts. You can't pitch them the same way you pitched them the first game. ... I've got to execute my pitches. In certain counts I was able to do that and keep my team in it. Huge win for us." -- Bridwell, on facing the Orioles for the second time in two weeks
Maybin entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning after being kept out of the starting lineup for a third consecutive day with knee stiffness. His run-scoring single was his first RBI since July 8. From July 19, the outfielder missed 16 games in a row during with a sprained knee.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis homered in the third inning in his return to the lineup. Davis missed two games with illness.
"Any time you're in a playoff race with one or two teams you're playing down the stretch, you want to win those games," he said. "Unfortunately we weren't able to get that one today and get the series win. But you know, we've got to find ways to score that extra run, make up that ground late in the game and really kind of close out some of these games if we really want a shot at the postseason, and if we want to do well in the postseason."
Angels: Another series with a Wild Card contender, and this time it's an AL West rival. Tyler Skaggs (1-3, 3.63 ERA) will open the four-game home series Monday against the Texas Rangers at 7:07 p.m. PT. Skaggs, who will be removed from the bereavement list, is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts against Texas this season. He dropped his previous start Tuesday at Washington after allowing two earned runs on seven hits over five innings.
Orioles: The O's six-man rotation slots Wade Miley back against Oakland in Monday's series opener. After a strong start to the season, the lefty has struggled to go deep into games. He's 6-10 with a 5.21 ERA on the season. The A's will counter with righty Chris Smith in the 7:05 p.m. ET matchup.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.
Ben Standig is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Angels on Sunday.