Aug 7, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph (36) celebrates the win with relief pitcher Zach Britton (53) at the end of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Baltimore Orioles won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Joseph Lifts Baltimore Orioles to Critical Win over the Blue Jays

On a night when Charm City sports fans were toggling back and forth between watching the Ravens and the Orioles, the entire Baltimore Orioles scoring offence could be seen again in one swing of the bat—a two-run homer by catcher Caleb Joseph. It was his fourth home run in four consecutive games.

The evening before, the entire Birds offense could also be seen in one swing and one hit—a solo home run by Chris Davis. But on this third and final game of the series with Toronto, it was the Jays’ turn to get their only run on a solo shot, losing to the O’s 2-1.

As with Bud Norris and Wei-Yin Chen earlier in the series, Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez was not perfectly sharp at all. But he was sufficiently able to make enough pitches to cobble together six innings with only one run surrendered. And then the Orioles shutdown bullpen of Andrew Miller, Darren O’Day, and Zach Britton did what they do best—mow down batters—and the game belonged to the Birds.

With the win the Orioles extend their lead to five games over the Jays and likewise five games over the Yankees. Toronto is actually in third place, as they are six games behind in the loss column. It may well prove that it is the stinking Yankees that the Orioles will have to hold off to win the division.

It may also well prove that this stretch of games with critical home runs by Caleb Joseph is remembered as particularly significant in retrospect. What an asset he has been! Buck Showalter often says something to the effect of being pleased to see a player “get a return for their investment of hard work,” and that is so true of the 28-year-old rookie.

The Orioles have won 23 of their last 33 games since June 30th, and they now return to Camden Yards after a successful, short road trip where they were 3-1. They will be facing the Cardinals on Friday night.

The rotation comes back around to Chris Tillman (and then to Ubaldo Jimenez on Saturday – oh boy!). Tillman is 8-5 with a 3.78 ERA.  He has never faced the Cardinals, though Jhonny Peralta is 2-for-12 off him with a home run.

After two games of offensive output from the Orioles’ bats, they appear to have returned to the freezer again in the past two games. Will they thaw out again back at home? If so, it will have to come against the Cardinals’ Justin Masterson (5-6, 5.63), who was traded from the Indians to St. Louis. This will be his second game for the Cards; he won his first outing while giving up five runs in six innings.

Masterson pitched against the Orioles on May 22nd, giving up five runs on eight hits and three walks over 5.2 innings … in a game the Tribe won in the 13th.  This Orioles roster is a combined .245 against him. Nick Markakis is a surprising 5-for-28 against Masterson. Adam Jones is 6-for-26 with three doubles and a triple. Both Davis and Nelson Cruz are 4-for-16 with a home run, while J.J. Hardy is 5-for-18.

It will be a big night of celebration at the Yard – looking back on 60 years of Orioles baseball. I can only remember about 90% of those years.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles

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