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Orioles Get To .500 In First Game Of Crucial West Coast Trip

August 8, 2017
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- In the first game of a vital 10-game West Coast road trip that could be crucial to their postseason hopes, the Orioles secured a win that enabled them to reach .500 for the first time since June 29.
With a combination of power pitching and a grand slam, the Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 6-2, before 34,142 at Angel Stadium Aug. 7.
Third baseman Manny Machado, who had five RBIs Aug. 6, broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh with his fifth career grand slam. It was his 21st home run of the season, and his first grand slam of 2017.
Machado continues to lead the Orioles, who are now 56-56 and suddenly 1.5 games out of the second wild-card spot.
"It's just winning games. Not really worried about being at .500 or below it, just as long as we win games, then we'll get to where we need to be," Machado said. "Keep playing as a team. We've got a nice little two months ahead of us where we'll have to stick together as a team and do all the little things."
Since they began the second-half of the season by losing three straight to the Chicago Cubs and falling a season-low seven games below .500, the Orioles have gone 14-7 since July 17.
"Well, we've got to try to get over it," manager Buck Showalter said of the break-even mark. "When was the last time a .500 team was in the playoffs? Or below average? You just know that you're going to have to be over it, and you're going to have to play better on the road, so those are two good things that happened tonight."
Machado is batting .343 with six homers and 27 RBIs since July 1.  
"Just staying consistent will always give you a good outcome," Machado said. "Things [are] starting turning out how I want, hits start falling. I'm getting a little couple cheap hits that are going to make up for all those hard line-outs that I've been [getting] in the past. Just trying to continue staying in my routine and hopefully things turn around."
Besides his hot hitting, it seems Machado's defense has ticked up a notch or two. He started a 5-4-3 double play to end the seventh.
"That's our biggest key here, playing defense," Machado said. "For me, I'm just trying to go out there and get outs and get our hitters back in there [in the dugout] to score some runs." 
Right-hander Dylan Bundy, who didn't allow an earned run in eight innings against Kansas City Aug. 1, held all Los Angeles hitters who weren't named Mike Trout in check.
Bundy struck out a career-high 10 batters without walking one. He gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings.
"That is satisfying. Strikeouts are good," Bundy said. "It got the pitch count up there at the end of the game, but the defense played good, and they were catching everything hit out there today."
Trout, who celebrated his 26th birthday, doubled in the fourth for his 1,000th career hit and later scored. He also hit a home run that hit the left-field foul pole in the sixth. 

A day after the Orioles equaled their season-high with five home runs, they used small ball to score two runs in the fifth.
Shortstop Tim Beckham led off with a single, and after he moved to second on an errant pickoff throw by Los Angeles starter JC Ramirez, left fielder Seth Smith walked.
After catcher Welington Castillo flied to right, both runners moved up. With second and third, right fielder Joey Rickard blooped a ball to short left to score Beckham and center fielder Adam Jones hit a long fall ball to center that brought home Smith.

NOTES: Right-handers Jeremy Hellickson (7-5, 4.45) and Parker Bridwell (5-1, 3.20) are the scheduled pitchers for Aug. 8 at 10:07 p.m. ET. … OF/DH Mark Trumbo took batting practice before the game and is expected to be activated from the disabled list Aug. 9. … Delmarva LHP Alex Wells was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Month for July.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox