BALTIMORE -- After Jeremy Hellickson gave up four home runs in the first two innings, an Orioles win seemed most unlikely. And when they drew closer with three homers of their own, the right-hander gave up a fifth home run to make the task that much more difficult.
But, Manny Machado had other ideas. After a dismal first three months of the season, the Orioles’ star third baseman has been on a tear the past six weeks, and he capped it with a three-home run night and a game-ending grand slam.
Machado's seven RBIs and his game-winning slam gave the Orioles a thrilling 9-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels before 26,185 at Oriole Park Aug. 18.
It was Machado's third grand slam since Aug. 7 and the seventh of his career. He now has 26 home runs and 81 RBIs on the season.
Machado had his second career three-homer-game, and his game-ending grand slam was the Orioles' first since Matt Wieters had one April 18, 2013.
The win enabled the Orioles to move within two games of the American League’s second wild-card spot, which currently is held by the Angels and Minnesota Twins.
"Obviously, it’s a big win for us," Machado said. "It’s a big win when we can come back from a deficit. A win like this can hopefully give us some momentum."
Machado hit a two-run homer in the third and a bases-empty shot in the fifth. The Orioles were trailing 7-5 when he came up with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth.
Rookie right fielder Anthony Santander, making his major league debut, got his first hit -- a single -- to start the inning. Pinch hitter Seth Smith walked, and after shortstop Tim Beckham singled to load the bases, Machado hit an launched an 0-1 pitch from Keynan Middleton.
"I got it. I was looking for a pitch and I got it," Machado said. "I made a good swing on it. Off the bat, I knew it was going to go far."
There were 10 home runs in the game -- the five surrendered by Hellickson, the three by Machado and bases-empty shots by designated hitter Mark Trumbo and catcher Caleb Joseph. Home runs accounted for all of the runs scored in the game.
"It’s like a game where everybody’s dunking," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Hellickson had a promising debut with the Orioles after being acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies July 28, pitching seven shutout innings Aug. 2. Three starts later, things have gotten progressively worse for the 30-year-old right-hander. He’s the third straight Orioles starter to get knocked out in the fifth inning.
He was somewhat relieved with the dramatic win.
"It's going to make my night a little better," he said. "It would still have been nice to do my part in that win. The guys shouldn't have been in that position. This is obviously going to make the next four days a little better and make tonight a little better, but I still didn't do my part."
Santander, who was chosen last December in the Rule 5 draft, finally made his major league debut after spending most of the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury. It ended up being an unforgettable game for the 22-year-old.
Besides the rally-starting hit, Santander made a sprawling catch to end the second inning.
"No, I could not imagine something like this. But this was amazing," Santander said. "Something I’m never going to forget."
NOTES: First baseman Chris Davis and catcher Welington Castillo were both ill and unable to play. … Showalter expects shortstop J.J. Hardy (wrist) to begin a rehab assignment early next week. … Infielder Ryan Flaherty, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list Aug. 17, pinch-ran for Smith in the ninth. Infielder Ruben Tejada was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Flaherty. … Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman (9-8, 5.08) and Angels right-hander JC Ramirez (10-10, 4.26) are the scheduled starters for Aug. 19. … Showalter said it was possible that right-hander Chris Tillman could be the starter for Aug. 20. … Short-Season Aberdeen outfielder Markel Jones, a 33rd-round pick in 2016, was suspended 50 games for using a drug of abuse. … The start of the game was delayed by 42 minutes. Rain delays at home have totaled 11 hours, 54 minutes this season.