Home > Uncategorized > Reyes, Tatum, Reynolds lift Orioles to sweep

Reyes, Tatum, Reynolds lift Orioles to sweep

August 25, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Less than 24 hours later, it did not get much easier for the Orioles to deal with the news of the death of former Orioles pitcher, executive and broadcaster Mike Flanagan.

But with that still weighing heavily on their minds on Thursday, the series finale at Target Field provided a good escape, as the Orioles completed a sweep of a struggling Twins squad with a 6-1 victory.

“Today was a tough day for everybody,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “I think it was almost a little bit of a haven for everybody to get out there on the field and play a game as quickly as we had to.

“I’m sure there will be some reflective moments from here to Baltimore, especially when we get closer to the ballpark where we’re so used to seeing Mike every day.”

But even with all the club dealt with off the field over the four days in Minnesota, it still put together an impressive series on the field.

For once, the Orioles caught a team that was down and kept it down, while bouncing back from some struggles of their own.

When the O’s arrived at Target Field on Monday, they had lost five in a row, while the Twins had lost three of four heading into the series. As the Orioles left on Thursday, they had their first four-game winning streak since June 6-10, and the Twins had dropped nine of their past 11 home games.

“We didn’t see [Joe] Mauer for a couple days, and [Justin] Morneau’s not quite where he’s going to be,” said Showalter. “We were fortunate, but we took advantage of it. There have been a few times this year we haven’t been able to do that.”

The sweep was the first for the Orioles against the Twins since the club relocated from Washington to Minnesota in 1961.

The Orioles last completed a four-game sweep at Texas on July 8-11, 2010, and the O’s last won at least four straight on the road Aug. 27-Sept. 7, 2010, when they won three at Angel Stadium and two in New York.

“You have to have the mentality of going out there and playing hard,” said Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer. “There is no such thing as ‘Woe is me’ in baseball. The Orioles didn’t care. They came out here and kicked our butts for four games. So nobody is going to feel sorry for you.”

Orioles lefty Jo-Jo Reyes went six innings, allowing one run on five hits and four walks while striking out three batters. It was the first start since July 8 that Reyes did not allow a home run.

After battling back spasms leading up to the start, Reyes said he did not feel as well physically as usual, but he still managed to deliver a solid outing.

“I thought the sixth inning was big,” Showalter said. “I thought he had the stuff to get a little deeper, but it was a good finish to a challenging road trip for us in a lot of ways.”

The Orioles held the Twins to just one run per game over the four-game series, the first time they’ve held an opponent to one or fewer runs over four consecutive games since the first four games of the season.

While the Orioles’ pitching staff has struggled throughout the season, it was impressive at Target Field, posting a 1.00 ERA with 32 strikeouts.

“The whole team wants to finish strong,” Reyes said. “We’re not going to put our heads between our legs and throw in the season. I think that there are some guys that want to finish strong.”

Lefty Francisco Liriano lasted just two innings for the Twins before leaving with a strained left shoulder, but the Orioles offense was kept quiet for the first five innings, scoring just once on five hits.

In the sixth, a two-run double by catcher Craig Tatum off reliever Anthony Swarzak broke things open, scoring Nolan Reimold and Ryan Adams. With his 29th home run of the season in the seventh, a three-run shot, Mark Reynolds then put the game out of reach.

The Orioles finished the series batting .308, with 15 of their 45 hits going for extra bases. Reynolds’ home run was the 150th of his career, as he went 7-for-17 over four games with two homers, a triple and seven RBIs.

“I’m feeling good,” Reynolds said. “I had a rough stretch there the last week or two. Get a couple knocks here and there and kind of get some confidence going up a little bit, and hopefully it’ll keep snowballing for me and I’ll finish strong.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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