Orioles' June surge powered by offense
BALTIMORE -- After a sluggish May when it averaged just 3.3 runs per game, the Orioles' offense has come alive over the past month, sparking a run to the top of the American League East.
By completing a sweep of the weekend series against the Indians with an 8-0 win in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader, Baltimore has moved into a virtual tie for first place in the AL East, two percentage points ahead of the Rays.
The Orioles have scored 141 runs in 26 games in June, averaging 5.4 runs per game. This has created matchup problems for opposing pitching. Baltimore slugged five home runs en route to sweeping Sunday's doubleheader.
"You're not going to have nine guys clicking," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's just too hard to do. And when a pitcher's on top of his game, it doesn't really matter. We were fortunate to catch them with a spot start there and were able to take advantage of that. But it shows a lot of intensity not being satisfied with that one game."
Manny Machado and Jimmy Paredes homered in the Orioles' 4-0 victory in the first game. Chris Davis, Travis Snider and Chris Parmelee went deep in a six-run fourth inning in the second game.
"You're going to see ebbs and flows throughout the season where guys are swinging hot one through nine," Snider said. "We're gonna struggle through some games, but guys keep a positive mind frame here. We'll just continue to work hard and try to win the game each night."
The Orioles had not recorded shutouts in both games of a doubleheader since Sept. 6, 1974, in Cleveland, according to STATS LLC. Ubaldo Jimenez threw eight scoreless innings in the first game, and then Chris Tillman pitched seven scoreless in the nightcap. It was a perfect balance for the defending AL East champions.
"It's huge," Tillman said about the sweep. "Ubaldo went out and did a great job. Offense had a great day. Got some key hits early in the game today. Defense was there, too. Snider made an outstanding play. Defense was solid all the way around, and I think as pitchers we know that and it gives us the capability to go out there and throw strikes, let them put it in play."