OAKLAND, Calif. — There was no foreboding, no sense of dread in the Baltimore Orioles’ clubhouse Sunday morning, just a lot of NFL watching and fantasy football smack talk.
Yet there was underlying sense that these Orioles needed to win at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday to prove they could be successful here — in case they have to come back in October.
After scoring just four runs in their first two games in Oakland, the Orioles’ offense resurfaced — thanks in part to two solo homers by Matt Wieters — with 13 hits in a 9-5 victory.
They avoided a sweep while winning for just the third time in their past 19 contests at the Coliseum. The Orioles (82-64) remained one game behind the New York Yankees for first in the American League East and still hold onto the second AL wild-card spot.
The Orioles captured their 82nd victory this season — officially marking their first winning campaign since 1997.
That wasn’t on the players’ radar Sunday; they were more concerned with not falling too far behind the Yankees and the A’s (84-62), who are in the top wild-card spot and would host a one-game playoff with the Orioles if the standings remain the same.
“We’re trying to win our division and we are trying to get to the playoffs in that order,” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said. “We will think about [returning to Oakland] if we get that opportunity. But games like this give you that opportunity.”
Outfielder Endy Chavez reached base five times and had four hits.
Randy Wolf made his first start after three relief appearances for the Orioles. He allowed two runs in four innings, but it was fellow left-hander Brian Matusz (6-10) who earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief.
— Baltimore Sun