Machado's homer boosts Orioles past Red Sox

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles honored Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson before Saturday's game with Boston, unveiling a statue of him behind the bullpen in left-center field. Robinson spoke to the press a few minutes later and mentioned the way rookie third baseman Manny Machado's caught his eye.
And with the way this season's gone for the Orioles, who else could come up with the winning hit a few hours later?
Machado started the bottom of the seventh inning with a homer that gave the Orioles a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox and moved Baltimore into a first-place tie with the New York Yankees in the American League East.
Toronto beat the Yankees 3-2 earlier Saturday to give Baltimore a boost. Both the Orioles and Yankees now have a 91-67 record with four games remaining.
The Orioles and the Yankees also remained one game ahead of Oakland in the wild-card battle. The A's (90-68) rallied for a 7-4 victory over Seattle in 10 innings on Saturday afternoon. The Orioles' magic number to make the postseason dropped to two. Baltimore can clinch Sunday with a win plus a loss from the Los Angeles Angels or at some other point, if it wins two more by itself.
Machado is a rookie who has played in 47 games this season and shown the ability to make big plays on offense and defense -- and staying very calm in the process.
"I'm just trying to be me," Machado said. "I'm just trying to play the game. Obviously, it's bigger than any other games I've played before. I'm just going to try to go out there and give everything I can to try and help this team win."
Machado finished the night 2 for 3 with two RBI. He has gotten more than one hit in three straight games, and his average improved to .276 with seven homers and 26 RBI.
"He's continued to impress everybody since he's been up here," Orioles right fielder Chris Davis said. "I don't think you can say enough about how he's handled himself. Not only (to) be able to take the emotion out of an at-bat, (but) to stay even-keeled the whole game."
Robinson complimented Machado's defense when talking before the game, saying he has great instincts and can play anywhere. Machado flashed some leather again when made a slick play on a Cody Ross grounder near the bag in the fourth and quickly started a 5-4-3 double play.
The Orioles then needed Machado's help at the plate after Boston (69-89) rallied from an early three-run deficit to tie the score in the sixth. Machado started the seventh with a low line drive off Felix Doubront (11-10) that made it into the second row of the left-field seats to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead.
"To do it on this night, (it) feels great," Machado said. "But even better, we came out with the win."
Mark Reynolds is another player who talked about staying calm. The first baseman made two great defensive plays in the fifth, one of which included him falling over and disappearing behind the tarp to catch a popup.
Reynolds said this situation reminds him of the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks team he played on that made the playoffs when not many gave them a chance.
"We're playing with house money," Reynolds said. "We're not supposed to be here. We're just a bunch of kids having fun. We go out every night believing we're going to win the game, no matter what the situation and no matter who we're facing. It's just fun to be a part of."
Steve Johnson threw five innings of solid baseball for the Orioles, giving up just two runs before Tommy Hunter (7-8) got the win with two innings of scoreless relief, taking care of the Red Sox in the sixth and seventh.
Brian Matusz and Darren O'Day combined to shut down the Red Sox in the eighth, and Jim Johnson retired Boston in order in the ninth for his 49th save.
"They just keep doing what they have to do," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "(Orioles manager) Buck (Showalter) knows what he's doing. They've done a great job with that young third baseman. He beat us tonight. He played excellent defense all year."
The Orioles took the lead when they manufactured a run in the bottom of the second. Boston starter Doubront hit Davis with one out. Davis then stole second as Doubront and the Red Sox appeared to forget about him for a moment.
Doubront then couldn't make the play on a slow roller off the bat of Reynolds. The infield single put runners on first and third, and Machado singled to center to give Baltimore a 1-0 lead.
The Orioles stretched it to 3-0 in the fourth when Davis crushed a two-run homer to right after Adam Jones reached on an error.
Boston answered in the top of the fifth when Mauro Gomez led off with a walk and scored on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-run homer.
The Red Sox tied it in the sixth thanks to a Ross sacrifice fly, but Hunter started a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning. That helped set up the Machado homer in the seventh.
Showalter said there was some pressure to win on the day Robinson was honored-and they were glad to do so.
"It was pretty apropos that the third baseman made a couple of really nice plays," Showalter said. "And there was a little buzz here. You noticed how many people were in the dugout watching (his pregame ceremony). They didn't have to be. They wanted to be."
NOTES: Davis is not known for being a runner, but he got a huge jump on Doubront on his steal. It was just the second steal of the season for Davis...In addition, the Davis homer gave him 30 for the season and marked just the sixth time in club history that the Orioles have had two players hitting at least 30 homers in one season. However, it's the second straight season it has taken place as J.J. Hardy and Reynolds did it in 2011. Before that, the Orioles hadn't pulled it off since Brady Anderson and Rafael Palmiero did it 16 years ago...Saltalamacchia's 25 homers are the most that a Boston catcher has hit since Jason Varitek's 25 in 2003. The team record for a catcher comes next, as Carlton Fisk hit 26 twice...The only hit for Boston in Friday's loss was Scott Podsednik's bunt single to lead off the game. According to Elias, the last time that happened was when Cesar Tovar of the Minnesota Twins did it against the Washington Senators on Aug. 13, 1970.

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