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Duquette, Showalter build foundation for Orioles success

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USA Today Sports

Duquette, Showalter build foundation for Orioles success

NEW YORK—The postseason never gets old. Not for players, and not for Buck Showalter or Dan Duquette. 

Showalter had postseason teams in New York and Arizona, and the three-time Manager of the Year has a third postseason team with the Orioles. 

In 2012, his team was a happy surprise when it won a wild-card game in Texas and made it to the Division Series. Two years ago, the Orioles went to the American League Championship Series. 

On Tuesday, the Orioles try to win the wild-card game in Toronto’s Rogers Centre.

“They’ve grinded, not since February, but since the season ended last year,” Showalter said. 

“The game’s not always fair. This year it was because they got a return for what they put into it…You look up ‘grind’ in the dictionary, you should have the 2016 Orioles there because these guys never gave in,” Showalter said. 

The Orioles began the season with seven straight victories, and though they played under .500 from July 25 through the end of the season, Showalter is pleased with how they finished, winning seven of their final nine. 

“There are so many opportunities that say, ‘this may not work out this year.’ It went by quick for me because this team was involved in the competition right from Day 1 and never really got away from it,” Showalter said. 

“You go through periods where you’ve got a chance to win the division, you got a chance to be a wild-card, then you got a chance even not to be in it. You don’t overcome that without having a real strong mentality. So many times we started to say something to these guys, and I just backed off. They got it. Sometimes the best managing you do is the managing you don’t do.” 

This Orioles team was big on home runs. They ended the season with 253, four shy of the 1996 team record. They were short on speed with just 19 stolen bases, and they were thought to be short on starting pitching. 

Kevin Gausman matured late in his fourth major league season and had a 1.10 ERA in six starts against the team he beat on Sunday, the New York Yankees. 

Gausman said he wanted the ball. He wanted to start in the crucial game. 

“He’s had that body language of ‘that guy.’ I say all the time to the minor league guys and scouts, does he have it? Does he have it? And they all know what we’re talking about. He’s graduated to the right part of the process, and he’s been fun to watch. We needed him today, and he delivered,” Showalter said. 

There were veterans who have been with Showalter for years, Zach Britton, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and Matt Wieters as well as younger players such as Gausman and Manny Machado, who have shown leadership quality, and it’s an accomplished team.

“Skill and talent plays. There’s just so much you can do with emotion. Pitchers on top of their game. There’s just so much you can do with emotion. You have to have some skills and sometimes that gets overlooked with our guys. These are some talented guys, and they’re talented in their ability to be consistent,” Showalter said. 

Together, it’s Duquette and Showalter’s third postseason team, one that seemed unlikely. 

Duquette added important players for this team, outfielders Michael Bourn, Hyun Soo Kim and Mark Trumbo. Each came a different way. 

Trumbo was acquired when Seattle was eager to shed his salary last winter, Kim came as a free agent from South Korea, and Bourn was picked up on Aug. 31. They added to the core that was already on hand. 

“We’ve been able to establish a winning presence and to go back to the playoffs again and have another shot at it, that’s really what we’ve been working for all year. So now we’ve got a shot to go for the dance,” Duquette said. “We want to advance in the tournament…Our team is strong and we’ve got a chance to play in the postseason. That’s all you can ask for. You just roll the dice and see if you can knock on the door and break through this time.”

The Orioles will face a difficult task in trying to beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. 

“Generally, people don’t pick us in the offseason, which is OK by us, but I don’t know what criteria they use. Nobody has picked us to do much and this club always finds a way to compete. We have good internal leadership, Duquette said. 

Many people think that this was Showalter’s best job as Orioles manager. 

“Buck does a great job year-in and year-out. I believe he gives his best every time he’s out there on the field,” Duquette said. 
 

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Orioles' eight run lead not enough to hold off Yankees

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Orioles' eight run lead not enough to hold off Yankees

NEW YORK -- Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning and the New York Yankees completed a stunning rally from an eight-run deficit, outslugging the Baltimore Orioles 14-11 on Friday night.

In a game of home run derby, Starlin Castro tied it with a two-run drive that capped a three-run burst in the ninth off Brad Brach. Then in the 10th, Holliday hit the eighth home run of the evening -- five by the Yankees -- with one out off Jayson Aquino (1-1).

"I was all nervous with Adam Jones out there," Holliday said of the Orioles' Gold Glove center fielder. "Just enough to get it over the fence."

Down 9-1 in the sixth, the Yankees pulled off their biggest comeback since overcoming a 9-0 gap to beat Boston 15-9 in 2012.

On the first true spring-like day in New York, the ball was flying. Featured were all kinds of monster shots -- cleanup men Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Trumbo connected for grand slams, and Yankees fan favorite Aaron Judge homered twice, including a drive tracked at 119.4 mph off the bat, the hardest-hit ball since Statcast began counting in 2015.

Manny Machado launched a 470-foot homer, the longest in the majors this year, and Welington Castro also homered for Baltimore.

Aroldis Chapman (1-0) pitched the 10th as the Yankees won their third straight and tied Baltimore at 14-7 for the AL East lead.

Ellsbury hit his 100th career home run and first slam, tagging Vidal Nuno and drawing New York to 11-8 in the seventh.

Brach had started the season with 12 scoreless innings before the Yankees got him. A leadoff walk and a double by Holliday set up Ellsbury's grounder for his fifth RBI, and Castro followed with a shot far into the left-field seats.

Machado, who began the day batting just .205 with three home runs, also hit a two-run double and singled against CC Sabathia.

Trumbo was stuck in a worse rut, an 0-for-25 slide dropping him to .185. After grounding a soft single, he hit his fourth career slam, measured at 459 feet by Statcast and putting the Orioles up by eight runs in the sixth.

Trumbo led the majors with 47 home runs last year. This season, his only previous homer had been a game-ending shot on opening day.

Judge lined a shot into the Baltimore bullpen in the fifth. In the sixth, he hit his ninth homer, a two-run homer that made it 9-4.

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Orioles beat Rays in very weird baseball game

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Orioles beat Rays in very weird baseball game

BALTIMORE  -- First, Seth Smith circled the bases on a single.

Then, much later in a very strange game, he drove in the winning run without lifting the bat off his shoulder.

Smith drew a bases-loaded, four-pitch walk from Danny Farquhar to force in the deciding run with two outs in the 11th inning, and the Baltimore Orioles rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 on Wednesday night.

The 4-hour, 8-minute contest featured a play more appropriate for the Little League -- or the Big Top.

The wacky sequence began when Smith singled with Ryan Flaherty on first. After Kevin Kiermaier threw wildly to third base from center field, starting pitcher Alex Cobb retrieved the ball near the Tampa Bay dugout. Cobb's errant throw to third hit Flaherty in the helmet and went into left field, allowing both runners to race home.

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"I was trying to steal second and he put the ball in play and it turned into a circus," Flaherty said.

Smith stopped at every base until a Tampa Bay miscue enabled him to move up an additional 90 feet.

"It was just a bad play," Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said. "We had the one mistake play with Cobb that cost us the two runs."

Manager Kevin Cash said: "That was a deflating inning. No doubt about it."

Tim Beckham hit two solo homers for the Tampa Bay, but he also made one of the Rays' three errors.

After Tampa Bay scored a run in the top of the 11th, the Orioles answered against closer Alex Colome (0-1). Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Jonathan Schoop, who hit a sacrifice fly. Flaherty walked to reload the bases, and Farquhar entered and threw four pitches -- all outside the strike zone.

Colome hadn't given up a run this season, but proved vulnerable in his second inning of work.

"I asked a lot of Alex. There's no doubt about that," Cash said. "I knew I was stretching him. But you want your best guy out there when the game's on the line."

Alec Asher (1-0) got the win for the Orioles despite giving up an RBI single to Jesus Sucre in the 11th.

Baltimore took two of three from Tampa Bay and has not lost a series this season.

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"Being down in extra innings and coming back to win is always good for the morale and moving forward," Smith said.

Dylan Bundy gave up two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings for Baltimore. He left with a 3-2 lead, but the bullpen gave it up.

Down 3-2 in the eighth, Tampa Bay used a double, a hit batter and a walk to load the bases with no outs. Darren O'Day entered and got a force out at the plate before an infield out by Brad Miller tied it.

Cobb allowed three runs, two earned, and eight hits in five innings. Though he pitched decently, his one poor throw in the field proved costly.

Beckham's drive leading off the third ended Bundy's run of consecutive scoreless innings at 15. It was the first home run allowed by Bundy in five starts.

Beckham connected again in the fifth to bring Tampa Bay within 3-2.