The Orioles finished the 2011 season with their 14th consecutive losing season, the second-longest active streak in the Majors. Top pitching prospect Zach Britton made his Major League debut, and promising young catcher Matt Wieters was selected to his first All-Star team. The Orioles acquired pitcher Tommy Hunter and infielder Chris Davis in a midseason trade with Texas that cost them Japanese reliever Koji Uehara. For the second consecutive season, Brian Roberts was noticeably absent on the field as the second baseman suffered a concussion in May and never returned. The team lost a valuable member of Orioles history with the sudden passing of color commentator Mike Flanagan, a death that rocked the collective baseball world. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail chose not to seek a contract extension at the end of the season, making way for November's hiring of Dan Duquette as executive vice president of baseball operations.
The Baltimore Orioles reached the postseason for the first time in 15 years, winning their first playoff game in the first year of the extra Wild Card team in each division. The O's defeated the Texas Rangers, with left-handed starter Joe Saunders playing the part of unlikely hero in a season full of underdogs. Saunders picked up his first career win at Rangers Ballpark, where he was 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA in 6 career starts, and closer Jim Johnson nailed down the 5-1 victory to advance the Orioles to the American League Division Series. Facing the New York Yankees, who had the best record in the AL, the O's lost the series in five games, ending the success of a wild ride no one saw coming. The organization, which celebrated its 59th season in Baltimore, also paid tribute to the famed Oriole Ballpark at Camden Yards' 20th season. There was plenty of celebrate in the present, with the Major League debut of top prospects infielder Manny Machado and pitcher Dylan Bundy, along with surprising heroics from rookie pitchers Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez. The turnaround was led by manager Buck Showalter, who helped engineer the 93-69 year in his second full season, with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette taking over for president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail the previous winter. Duquette made lots of smaller moves that paid off big time, most notably trading for pitcher Jason Hammel and signing outfielder Nate McLouth.
The 2013 season was full of standout seasons, although the club fell short its ultimate goal to repeat a trip to the postseason. Led by Chris Davis' record-setting 53 home runs and 137 RBIs, the O's hit the most homers in the Majors. They also set a new record in errorless games and fewest errors in a season, resulting in six Gold Glove finalists and three winners: third baseman Manny Machado, center fielder Adam Jones and shortstop JJ. Hardy.
The Orioles 2014 season was topped with the club bringing home its first American League East pennant since 1997. Baltimore then went on to sweep the Tigers in the AL Division Series. The club got contributions up and down the lineup, with players like Delmon Young and Steve Pearce having career years. Shortstop J.J. Hardy, center fielder Adam Jones and right fielder Nick Markakis all received Gold Glove Awards.
With Chris Davis leading the Majors in homers for the second time in three seasons and a career-year from Manny Machado, the Orioles finished at .500 or better for the fourth straight season for the first time since 1985. All-Star relievers Darren O'Day and Zach Britton helped overcome a struggling starting rotation, but an August stretch in which the Orioles lost 16 of 20 games took them out of playoff contention.
The Orioles overcame low expectations to finish tied for second in the American League East and earn a wild card berth in the post-season. Outfielder Mark Trumbo, acquired in a winter trade with Seattle, hit 47 homers, the fourth straight season an Orioles hitter led the majors in that category. The Orioles had three players with at least 30 homers for the first time in club history, as Chris Davis -signed to a 6-year contract before the season - hit 38 and third baseman Manny Machado, who turned in another impressive season (.294/.343/.533 slash line) hit a career-high 37 homers. Three others hit at least 22 homers: center fielder Adam Jones (29), second baseman Jonathan Schoop (25) and DH Pedro Alvarez (22). The Orioles got off to a strong start, finishing the first half on top of the AL East and 15 games above .500 on the strength of their offense and bullpen. With young pitchers Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy coming into their own in the second half, and a re-energized performance from Ubaldo Jimenez to back Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.77), the starting pitching gave the team a lift in the second half. The bullpen, led by lock-down closer Zach Britton (47-for-47 in saves with a 0.54 ERA) and fellow All-Star Brad Brach (10-4, 2.05), continued its excellence. The Orioles tied the Blue Jays for second place, but had to go to Toronto for the wild card game based on the Jays' 10-9 edge in the season series. The Orioles took the game into extra innings before falling 5-2 in the 11th. It marked the Orioles 3rd postseason appearance in five seasons, and their 89-73 season record gave them the best record in the AL over that time.
The Orioles could not maintain their strong start to the season and finished 5th in the American League East with their first losing record in six seasons. After being in first place on May 20 and second place as late as June 2, the Orioles still were within one game of a wild card spot on September 5, but went 4-19 down the stretch to finish 75-87. Starting pitching was the main culprit all season, as the Orioles finished last in the league in starter's ERA (5.70), worst in club history. It didn't help that closer Zach Britton spent 11 weeks on the disabled list with a left forearm strain, stretching the bullpen even further. Offensively, seven Orioles hit 20 or more home runs, the 6th time that's been done in MLB history and matching the 1996 Birds. All-Star second baseman Jonathan Schoop batted .293 and with 32 homers and led the club with 105 RBI. After a slow start, third baseman Manny Machado rebounded to hit 33 homers and drive in 95 runs, while rookie Trey Mancini transitioned to the outfield and batted .293 with 24 homers and 78 RBI, finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting. Among the pitchers, Kevin Gausman (11-12) tied for the league lead with 34 starts, but Dylan Bundy (13-9) was the only starting pitcher with a winning record. Mychal Givens led the bullpen with 69 appearances, going 8-1 with a 2.75 ERA.
It was a season to forget for the Orioles as they finished with the worst record in club history and worst in the majors at 47-115. After winning on Opening Day, the Orioles lost five straight games - the first of 11 times in which they lost at least five in a row. Conversely, the Orioles could muster only three winning streaks of more than two games, a 4-game stretch in May and 3-game streaks in July and August. The team set club records for most players (56), most pitchers (29), and most players making their MLB debuts (15) during the season. Both starting pitchers and relievers pitched to a 5.51 ERA, worst in the majors by both groups. Dylan Bundy tied for the league lead with 16 losses and his 8 wins tied for the lowest team-leading total in club history. The offense had league-lows in batting (.239), on-base percentage (.298), and scoring average (3.84 runs per game). Defensively, they finished 13th in the AL with 104 errors. Shortstop Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers the day after the All-Star Game, but still tied for the team lead in homers (24, with Trey Mancini) and led the team in walks (45). Bullpen mainstays Zach Britton, Darren O'Day, and Brad Brach also were traded, along with second baseman Jonathan Schoop and starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, as the club went into rebuild mode shortly after mid-season. At season's end, the Orioles were 61.0 games behind division-winning Boston, the most games back by any team in the expansion era. Buck Showalter, the second winningest manager in club history (669-684), was not re-signed after his contract expired in the offseason.