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Does Four-Game Sweep Change Orioles' Mindset?

July 21, 2017
BALTIMORE -- At the beginning of the Orioles' just-concluded four-game series against the Texas Rangers, it was rumored Baltimore would be sellers in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
 
Does a four-game sweep of Texas change that thinking?
 
Realistically, the Orioles still have another 10 days to consider their options. Even with the impressive run, their first four-game winning streak since a six-game run May 4-9, they remain three games under .500 at 46-49, and they haven't been at .500 since June 29.
 
While the four games mathematically erased the three losses the Orioles suffered to the Chicago Cubs as the second half began, with nine games remaining before the deadline, they'll have to win six to return to .500.
 
As the reeling Rangers leave town after a 9-7 Orioles win before 14,691 at Oriole Park July 20, the Houston Astros come in. The Astros, who beat the Orioles three straight times in late May, have the American League's best record (63-32).
 
"It's a positive, but we've got one of the best teams in baseball coming in," manager Buck Showalter said.
 
The Orioles spotted Texas a 5-1 lead July 20, as left-hander Wade Miley allowed five runs on seven hits with four walks in five innings. But the offense produced prodigiously for the third game in a row.
 
"Oh man, we're swinging the bats really well right now," Miley said. "It's huge to keep it rolling."
 
For the second time in the last three games, the Orioles hit four home runs. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop hit his 19th in the fourth inning, center fielder Adam Jones smacked a two-run shot and designated hitter Mark Trumbo hit a solo homer, both in the fifth, and first baseman Chris Davis added another in the seventh.
 
"When you win, it's more happy," Schoop said. "But we're a happy team, and we believe in each other. Even the days we were down, you still come out here and try to win. You still play hard, go hard and leave it out there. Of course when you win, it's different. You have fun."
 
Jones continued his opposite-field mania by slamming his home run to right-center and doubling over first base in the sixth to drive in the go-ahead run.
 
Catcher Welington Castillo and shortstop Ruben Tejada each had two hits.
 
Right-handers Miguel Castro, Darren O'Day and Brad Brach pitched three perfect innings, and in a non-save situation, left-hander Zach Britton allowed two runs to score with two outs in the ninth.
 
"The offense did a good job of getting us back in that game and getting us ahead, and the bullpen came in and did the job they normally should do," Britton said. "I kind of let it get away from me a little bit after the two outs, but just be better tomorrow if I get it again."
 
The Orioles are one of a number of teams still in wild-card contention, and while the trade talk may not die down, they insist they're not worried.
 
"We honestly have confidence no matter what," Schoop said. "This team, we believe in each other, and we have confidence in each other. Four straight wins, a sweep, that's good. You've got to just let it go and come back tomorrow and win again." 
 
NOTES: INF Ryan Flaherty (right shoulder) and OF Anthony Santander (right elbow) are scheduled to begin rehab assignments July 27. … RHP Hunter Harvey (right elbow) will pitch once a week in his rehab assignment. … Ryan Mountcastle was moved from Class-A Frederick to Double-A Bowie, and he'll shift from shortstop to third base. … Right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez (4-5, 7.01) and Mike Fiers (6-4, 3.75) are the scheduled starters for the series opener against the Astros July 21.